An graphic from Aquaflush to represent transanal irrigation with a photo of a women smiling with a quote next to her reading 'It's changed my life'

Constipation is common, but there are management options that can help. Here we take a look at how transanal irrigation helped one woman manage her condition and start to look forward.

Jane is an outgoing 58-year-old mother from Liverpool, but behind her bubbly exterior is many years of pain due to a complex history of surgery.

Following complications after a total hysterectomy and large bowl resection in 2005 Jane found herself living with the symptoms of a functional bowel disorder, including chronic constipation and faecal loading.

Constipation is a common condition, affecting around 20% of men and woman of all ages in the UK. It can cause stomach pain and make you feel bloated and nauseous.

While many people find that simple changes to their diet or lifestyle can help improve their symptoms, others, like Jane, have underlying problems which means the condition persists.

The limits of lifestyle changes

After an abdominal operation in 2016, Jane was admitted to hospital several times due to recurring faecal loading. It impacted her confidence and her mental health began to decline.

Despite following the guidelines about healthy living and strictly adhering to her oral laxative regime, she grew increasingly frustrated with healthcare professionals who kept suggesting further lifestyle changes.

It was only after her fifth hospital admission in 2018 that she was finally diagnosed with a functional bowel disorder. Though the damage couldn’t be undone, she was referred to a specialist who suggested she try transanal irrigation (TAI).

Help with managing constipation

Transanal irrigation (TAI) is a way to help manage constipation and faecal loading. It’s a simple procedure in which body temperature water is passed through a soft silicone cone or a catheter into the rectum, to assist in the safe evacuation of stool from the lower section of the bowel. 

Jane explains that there was a bit of trial and error before she was comfortable with the procedure but was glad she stuck with it because ‘within a few months my life changed completely.’

After years of feeling like her life was on hold, she was suddenly able to look forward and plan ahead.

‘It’s really changed my life.’

This article is part of the Education Spotlight on Constipation, supported by Renew Medical. You can also read more about constipation in our information library.

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