What You Eat Can Make a Big Difference
“The food you eat and the liquid you drink becomes feces; it’s as simple as that. So if you modify what you eat and drink you might be able to change the consistency of your feces, and sometimes that’s all you need to do to conquer F.I. Here’s some important information about diet and nutrition.”
Dr. Liam Haveran
Fecal incontinence often involves either diarrhea or constipation, and dietary fiber can help with both because it affects stool composition and consistency. Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans. Another source of fiber is in supplements sold in a pharmacy or in a health food store.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that adults consume 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day. Studies have indicated that, on average, American adults consume only 15 grams a day. If you add fiber to your diet, do it slowly to avoid bloating.
It may be wise for you to develop a food diary. This will help you identify foods that cause diarrhea and thereby increase the risk of fecal incontinence. A food diary should list foods eaten, portion size, and when fecal incontinence occurs. After a few days, you may notice a connection between the food you ate and the incidences of F.I.
Here is a list of some foods and drinks that have been linked to fecal incontinence:
- Milk, cheese, and ice cream
- Drinks and foods containing caffeine
- Cured or smoked meat such as sausage, ham, and turkey
- Fruits such as apples, peaches, and pears
- Any spicy foods
- Alcoholic drinks
- Greasy and fatty foods
- Artificial sweeteners
Also, getting plenty to drink is good advice for everyone, and particularly those with fecal incontinence. Drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day may help prevent constipation. It’s suggested that you avoid alcohol, milk, drinks with caffeine, or carbonation if you discover that they trigger diarrhea.