Bowel Management

Low Rectal Cancer Bowel Management


Bowel training refers to a program designed to help people with bowel disorders establish or reestablish control. Individuals with symptoms of inability to control bowel movements, incomplete emptying, or chronic constipation may benefit from these programs. Bowel retraining works by teaching new skills or strategies to develop a routine and predictable schedule for evacuation. This prevents constipation and decreases unpredictable elimination.


Bowel management is a medically recognized practice that is often used for people who have fecal incontinence , one of the many possible consequences of low rectal surgery.  All of the consequences of low rectal surgery and adjuvant therapy relate to your inability to store stool in your altered rectum until it is convenient and efficient to empty the contents into a toilet. Bowel management attempts to resolve this issue by preventing stool from reaching the rectum except at predictable times.


The most common form of bowel management involves changes in diet and medication.  Certain food may irritate the colon, affect the colon's ability to remove water and decrease transit time.  By carefully monitoring your diet, you may be able to influence the timing of bowel movements.  The second common tactic is medication.  Certain drugs such as Imodium or Lomitil slow the rhythm of digestion so that the small intestines have more time to absorb fluid and nutrients from the foods you eat. Imodium is also used to reduce the amount of stool in people who have an ileostomy (re-routing of the bowel through a surgical opening in the stomach). Imodium and Lomitil can cause constipation.  To combat constipation, a laxative is often recommended as needed to balance the constipating effects of the drugs.  However, the changes in diet and the use of drugs is a constant balancing act with unpredictable results.


The third tactic of bowel management involves the use of an enema that also goes under the medial names of "transanal irrigation, rectal washout regime, colonics etc".  This technique involves the use of an enema that empties the colon so that no stool reaches the rectum except during the enema.


Educate Yourself


Bowel Management   A good introduction to bowel management

Cost Effectiveness of Transanal Irrigation   Economics of rectal irrigation

SCI Cost Effectiveness of Transanal Irrigation   A second article of cost vs Conservative

Transanal Irrigation vs Conservative Bowel Management for SCI   

Bowel Management after Colorectal Surgery  MD Anderson article on bowel management

Evacuation Difficulties  A discussion of options

Management of Feacal Incontinence `  Detailed medical article on incontinence


Explore on Goggle with these key words:


Colorectal Cancer, Bowel Function, Bowel Management, Rectal Cancer, Lomitil, Enema





Low Rectal Cancer