How I found a solution to my Functional Bowel Disorder symptoms

April 6 2020

In this testimonial, Sarah talks about how Transanal Irrigation (TAI) helped with her functional bowel disorders.


”I woke up one morning…”

“It all started in 2015 when I woke up one morning and found my bed soaked. It was horrible and embarrassing because I share my bed with my husband. I was trying to cope with my symptoms by waking up early to change myself before my husband woke up, but it wasn't always successful. I was embarrassed. I couldn't tell anyone. I wouldn't go out much in fear of having an 'accident'. I wore pads, had spares in my bags and I even had spare clothes at one point.  I eventually went to see my GP and was given many tips that didn't seem to work on me.”


Functional bowel disorder is everyday life for many people: something is wrong with how the bowels or stomach work, but all the organs are normal. Typical symptoms include fecal incontinence, pain, bloating, constipation, or incomplete emptying. The pain and fear of accidents often forces people with functional bowel disorders to have a much more restricted life than they would want to have.

People with these problems tend to put up with them for much longer than patients with neurological bowel disorders. Since organs appear normal, FBD patients often have to go through more intense examinations and assessments than patients with neurogenic bowel disorders to rule out any underlying conditions.

Seeking an answer to my functional bowel issues

“I was later referred to St George's hospital to see a specialist who put me on stimulation treatment. This involved me attending a clinic every other week and having impulses sent to the nerves in my anus to try and strengthen the muscle around that area. This seemed to be working as I was having less accidents. But the treatment was only for a number of weeks and I was soon left in the same position I was in before I started the treatment.

On a review with the consultant she offered me TAI. At first it all seemed confusing, but it was really easy to get the hang of. I can honestly say it has changed my life. I have a routine and I use TAI when I know I will be going out for long periods of time.”

Transanal irrigation (TAI) is a tested therapy for bowel management. The therapy uses water introduced through the anus into the rectum and colon to assist evacuation of feces. Using only lukewarm water, TAI is safe and easy to use for clearing the bowel.

There are two basic types of irrigation systems: hand-operated systems, and powered systems. Hand-operated systems work anywhere, but the user has to know how to operate the system, while powered systems can be automated. The particular irrigation system Sarah chose is the world’s first intelligent system combining an automated process with a digital application, which makes TAI accessible for anyone with bowel dysfunction, regardless of diagnosis.

How Transanal Irrigation helps me lead the life I want

“Transanal Irrigation clears me inside and it has even helped my irritable bowel condition. It has also helped to regulate my blood sugar levels (I am diabetic) which has really surprised me. I feel more confident when going out. There is no need to suffer in silence.

Many people have incontinence issues and it shouldn't be something that is hidden and made to feel awful. TAI has kept my independence which above all is most important to me.”

Having FBD affects life at work, at home, and being with family and friends.

TAI helps people to overcome challenges that would otherwise restrict their life.

For FBD patients, TAI is likely to be a successful treatment.

  • 86% of FBD patients continue to use TAI after eight months1, because they feel TAI helps them.
  • TAI could also be considered even at an early stage and may be the one solution that finally brings back their normal life.

When people get the confidence to trust their bodies, they can make plans and allow themselves to be spontaneous. Everyone is entitled to that kind of independence and to lead the life they want.

Download the guide: 'Life with transanal irrigation'

1.  Ref: Sigvardsson et al., ADHERENCE TO TRANSANAL IRRIGATION BY NAVINA SYSTEMS, Neurourology and Urodynamics 2018 


Topics: Transanal irrigation (TAI), Neurogenic bowel, Bowel dysfunction, functional constipation