Practicing “Holding On” for Loose Bowel Control

1. Sit on the toilet and try to hold on for 1 minute before having a bowel movement. Don’t forget to take a watch/ dock in with you! Gradually increase this to 5 minutes. Don’t worry if you’re not able to do this for the first few times, but keep practicing.

2. When you have mastered this, repeat the above but hold on for 10 minutes before having a bowel movement. It may be helpful to take something to read with you. This stage is harder but remember you are on the toilet and therefore “safe”.

3. Once you are able to delay having a bowel movement for 10 minutes while sitting on the toilet, now is the time to begin to move away from the toilet. Therefore the next stage is when you want to open your bowels to sit near the toilet, either on the edge of the bath or on a chair inside or just outside the toilet area. Now hold on for 5 minutes. Once you are able to do this, repeat the exercise increasing to 10 minutes.

4. When you are able to delay opening your bowels for 10 minutes whilst off the toilet, you should now gradually move further away. Maybe sitting on the bed in your bedroom. As your muscles are now becoming stronger you should be able to hold on for 10 minutes and as you feel more confident, increase the distance between you and the toilet. Gradually you will find that you can increase the distance and the time away from the toilet. This may take some time to master, but obviously with more practice of both your sphincter exercises and this program, the sooner you are likely to succeed.

Resisting the Urge

If you are having 2 or 3 bowel movements in quick succession in the morning, you may eventually be able to hang on to the first ones, and so just have one larger bowel action ail at once. Also, when you have some successes, you become more confident, panic less, and so things do not feel nearly so urgent. The less you panic, the easier it is to make that urge go away.

Norton C, K. M. Bowel Control: Information and Practical Advice. Beaconsfield, UK, Beaconsfield

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