Why do they happen?
- Your stroke may have damaged part of your brain that controls your bladder and bowels.
- If you’re not fully conscious or are very ill after your stroke, you may wet or soil yourself without realising it.
- If your stroke has affected your ability to walk you may not be able to get to the toilet in time. Communication problems may make it difficult for you to let others know that you need the toilet as well.
- Changes to your diet and not being able to get about very much can cause constipation, which can lead to continence problems.
- If you had mild continence problems before your stroke, spending a lot of time in bed is likely to make them worse.
What kind of problems do people have?
- you need to go to the toilet more often
- your need to go may be sudden and you may not have time to get to the toilet
- you wet yourself when you cough, sneeze or do something physical
- you wet or soil yourself whilst you are sleeping
- you wet or soil yourself at any time without realising it.
Do they get better?
Are there treatments that can help?
- bladder training to gradually retrain your bladder to hold more urine. This can help to you need to go to the toilet less often and give you more warning when you do
- bowel training to learn how to delay bowel movements and improve your control over them
- pelvic floor exercises can help to strengthen the muscles that support your bladder, giving you better control
- bladder stimulation uses vibrating devices to help you empty your bladder
- medication can help to reduce the amount of urine your body produces or control the urge to go to the toilet. It can also help to reduce movement in your bowels and improve your control
- treating constipation, as this can sometimes cause continence problems
- making changes to your diet, as this can help to improve constipation or diarrhoea
- losing weight, as being overweight can affect your ability to control your bladder.
Find out more
Read our leaflet Continence problems after stroke for tips about living with longer term problems and how you can get support.