Bowel dysfunction in MS most commonly presents as constipation but can include diarrhea and incontinence. Constipation is in MS is caused by interruption of neural pathways. Decreased mobility and poor hydration can also aggravate bowel problems.
Changes in bowel habits should be assessed to rule out non-MS causes, and age appropriate bowel screening should be done.
Most people can develop an improved bowel performance within 3-4 weeks of introduction of the suggested interventions. Pharmacologic interventions should be used as a last resort (bulk and fiber agents, stool softeners, lubricants, and stimulants).
Key healthcare professionals
- Family physician
- MS nurse
- If required, a gastroenterologist