Author(s): Wiesel PH, Norton C, Glickman S, Kamm MA
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Abstract The prevalence of bowel dysfunction in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients is higher than in the general population. Up to 70\% of patients complain of constipation or faecal incontinence, which may also coexist. This overlap can relate to neurological disease affecting both the bowel and the pelvic floor muscles, or to treatments given. Bowel dysfunction is a source of considerable ongoing psychosocial disability in many patients with MS. Symptoms related to the bladder and the bowel are rated by patients as the third most important, limiting their ability to work, after spasticity and incoordination. Bowel management in patients with MS is currently empirical. Although general recommendations include maintaining a high fibre diet, high fluid intake, regular bowel routine, and the use of enemas or laxatives, the evidence to support the efficacy of these recommendations is scant. This review will examine the current state of knowledge regarding the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying bowel dysfunction in MS, outline the importance of proper clinical assessment of constipation and faecal incontinence during the diagnostic work-up, and propose various management possibilities. In the absence of clinical trial data on bowel management in MS, these should be considered as a consensus on clinical practice from a team specialized in bowel dysfunction.
This article was published in Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy