Accidental Bowel Leakage (ABL)

Author: Renew Medical UK

Date: Apr 2019

“I used to dread going away… Now I’ve not got a care in the world!”

When Nicola Taylor, 72, was diagnosed with Accidental Bowel Leakage, she feared she’d never enjoy an active life again. Then she discovered Renew Inserts…

It’s been eighteen years since Nicola, a mother of three, first experienced symptoms of Accidental Bowel Leakage (ABL) – a form of bowel incontinence that affects thousands of men and women of all ages in the UK.

‘It was slight to start,’ she says. ‘I first noticed if I ate anything acidic, or if I was abroad and it was very hot. Then it gradually got worse as the years went on.’

Like many people who suffer from ABL, Nicola was embarrassed about the problem and initially found her own ways to manage – always leaving home with a bag full of panty-liners and spare underwear as a ‘just in case’.

‘At times it was very, very difficult,’ she says. ‘I used to dread going away, eating different foods. You just didn’t know when it was going to happen. I wore dark underwear, dark trousers. I daren’t go out in white trousers or white shorts.’

When she eventually sought medical help, Nicola was diagnosed with a weak anal sphincter. Though she was offered a form of treatment, getting to the hospital proved difficult – especially as she was also coping with the recent loss of her husband. ‘I had so much to contend with,’ she says. ‘It was just a nightmare.’

Everything changed three years ago when Nicola came across a small advert for Renew Inserts in her newspaper. ‘It was by pure chance,’ she laughs, ‘because I never look at adverts.’ After phoning the Freephone number and speaking to a Renew advisor, she decided to order a free sample: ‘I thought, what have I got to lose?’

Renew Inserts are a clinically-tested product that helps keep bowel contents inside the rectum until you’re ready for a voluntary bowel movement. Made from soft, supple silicone that adapts to your body for a comfortable fit, the inserts are safe to wear day and night, and come with a hygienic fingertip applicator.

For Nicola, the transformation was immediate. Without the fear of an ‘embarrassing accident’ she was finally able to return to the things she loves. ‘I do ballroom dancing, I do dance aerobics, I swim, I walk, I can do anything,’ she beams. ‘Even wearing white trousers and white shorts, which is something I haven’t been able to do for donkey’s years!’

Though she doesn’t require one every day, Nicola makes sure she’s always got a Renew Insert in her handbag – she laughs at how it’s a lot more discreet than the panty-liners and spare underwear she used to carry.

‘They set you free,’ she says. ‘You can wear what you like, eat what you like and do what you like, whenever you like. I look forward to things again.’

Do you suffer from Accidental Bowel Leakage (ABL)?

  • You have episodes of soiling yourself, sometimes without even realising you needed the toilet
  • You experience these episodes frequently or from time to time (not just a one-off)
  • The fear of an embarrassing episode prevents you from enjoying a normal, active life

Visit Renew Medical

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Last revised: 2 April 2019

Next review: 2 April 2020