There are a number of treatments that can ease or even cure faecal incontinence, as well as equipment and supplies to make you feel more confident and comfortable.
Pads and pants
Special close-fitting pants (sometimes called fixation pants) and absorbent pads can be used to prevent stains and leaks. These often contain odour-absorbing substances to reduce smells, and help to keep you feeling dry and comfortable. They can be washable or disposable so you can choose what works best for you.
Douches, enemas and irrigation
These are liquid rinses which are used to clean out the lower part of the bowel. This can be useful if you often feel the sensation of there being 'more to come' after you have passed a bowel movement, or if you suffer from passive soiling, which is when a small amount of faeces (poo) come out without you being aware of it.
Mattress covers and chair pads
Mattress covers and chair pads help to prevent staining from faecal incontinence when you are sitting or lying down, and protect your furniture from damage. They are designed to be inobtrusive so only you will know they are there.
If you find you suffer from incontinence due to runny stools (diarrhoea or 'the runs') which are hard to control, your doctor may recommend some changes to your diet - for example reducing the amount of fruit you eat, or avoiding caffeine, alcohol or artificial sweeteners.
Diarrhoea can be treated with anti-diarrhoeal medications, which are available from pharmacies quite inexpensively. There are also anti-spasmodic medications which control the movement of the muscles in the bowel, and laxatives to treat the constipation which can lead to sudden powerful bowel movements after a long period of not being able to 'go'. Talk to your GP to find out if these treatments are right for you.
Depending on the cause of your incontinence, your doctor may suggest surgical options, such as an operation to strengthen the anal sphincter (the ring of muscle that closes the bowel), or a colostomy, where a tube is inserted into the intestines to collect the faeces, rather than it being passed normally through your anus (back passage). Your doctor will be able to discuss these options with you in more detail.