Real world experiences of bladder and bowel problems in MS

29 April 2024

We are delighted to share new research that highlights the real-world experience of MS and bladder and bowel dysfunction. Working with researchers from Coloplast and the Urinary Foundation, we surveyed 1,124 people living with MS and bladder and bowel issues. The research shows the profound impact that bladder and bowel problems can have on quality of life, and calls for health professionals to support people to raise bladder and bowel issues earlier in consultations, so that people can be offered the right treatment and support. 

My bowel symptoms have taken over my life, changed the way I live my life and affected my mental health.

Survey respondent, October 2023

You may have been one of the many people with MS who took part in interviews and completed the survey that was circulated last year. We are very grateful to you and to everyone who shared their experiences.

While most MS health professionals will be well aware of the connection between MS and bladder and bowel issues, this collaborative research highlights the significant personal impact on people living with these symptoms every day. The article calls for health professionals to be ready to bring up toilet issues in consultations, recognising that they can be difficult topics for people with MS to discuss.

MS Awareness week 2024 has been all about starting conversations around embarrassing MS symptoms. We want to continue to empower people living with MS to speak openly about their bladder and bowel issues and seek treatment at an earlier stage. For many people with bladder and bowel symptoms there are treatments and management options that can greatly improve quality of life.

The ALERT study was done in partnership with the Urology Foundation and Coloplast and is published in the British Journal of Neuroscience Nursing. Read the ALERT study article (PDF, 630KB).

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