Bladder Management and Fluid Intake
- If bowel and bladder dysfunction are both present, bladder problems should be addressed first. Many patients practice fluid restriction in an attempt to control distressing urinary symptoms such as frequency, urgency and incontinence.
- Once urinary dysfunction is no longer a major problem, it will be possible to increase fluid intake in order to prevent desiccated stool, which is difficult to move along the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and evacuate.
- The generally recommended fluid intake is 2 Liters per day.
- In addition to fluids, prune juice and/or dried fruits are the easiest, and often most effective dietary measures.
- Sufficient dietary fiber is essential. If a high fiber diet cannot be achieved, bulk supplements such as Metamucil, FiberCon, Perdiem, or Citrucel can be used. One or two glasses of clear fluid (e.g., water, apple juice, broth, tea) should be taken with these agents for full benefit.
- Liquid sugar concentrates are another natural intervention. They act by drawing water into the intestine, thereby softening the stool. Preparations include Sorbitol, Lactulose, and Golytely. Side effects are rare, and these agents are useful for long-term management.
How to Manage MS-Related Bowel Dysfunction
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