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Have doubt to have irritable bowel syndrome. Have lost bowels few times. Suggest?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2009
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hello. i am 23 and am a male. i doubt i have irritable bowel syndrome. i lost my bowels 4 times for the past 6 years and i have no other symptoms. and 2 of them recently in the past 6 months.i want to know is that really ibs because i hold it for a long time for about 30 minutes and due to unavailability of washroom i lost my bowels. please clarify me because am feeling very embarrassed and am unable to discuss with anyone.
Posted Tue, 27 Aug 2013 in Digestion and Bowels
Answered by Dr. Chobufo Ditah 2 hours later
Hi and thank you so much for this query.

I am so sorry to hear about this loss of bowel over the past years.

My answer is NO. This is not irritable bowel syndrome. This is termed fecal incontinence technically. However you don't clearly fit into this diagnosis.. It is more of a question of poor bowel hygiene. This is because you feel the urge, retain for about 30minutes before this happens. It means if you had acted in time, we would not have ever talked about this. There is a limit as to how long we can retain feces without it forcing its way out. Remember that if the pressure is greater than that of the anal sphincter which prevents feces from unconsciously flowing out, then there is no way to stop it from coming out. When you retain for long, it gradually rises to this point and you no longer can control it. At this moment, getting embarrassed is inevitable.

To address this, you will need to step up your bowel hygiene. The best thing to do is to always empty your bowel before going out. Also, when you arrive any where, please ask and locate the washroom and how you can use it if need arises. This will save you from ever having to wait for so long to get to any washroom before this ever happens. Please, treat every urge to defecate as an urgency and you will not have this any more. It is the same thing that happens if you retain urine for too long!

My advice:
1. Never leave the house without emptying your bowels
2. Never fail to locate and master how to use a washroom in every new milieu you find yourself in.
3. Never try to retain feces. Treat every urge as a matter of urgency.
4. Avoid over eating in places with no guaranteed washrooms.

Assuredly the above will save you from all these embarrassments and stool leakage.

I hope you find this useful, helpful and guiding enough to save your from future embarrassments. Feel free to ask me follow up related questions and i will gladly respond to. Thanks for this opportunity to contribute to your health care today.
Dr Ditah, MD
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