Q. I’m 33 and in my 10th year as a T6 complete para. I’ve been having problems with bowel accidents — almost on a monthly basis. I’m tired of the worry and embarrassment of suddenly having to leave work “sick” because of an accident. It also puts stress on my leisure time. I’ve been seeing a buzz on chat rooms about a bowel management system called Peristeen. Does it help avoid bowel accidents? What is it and how does it work? These accidents are really getting me down.
A. Felix, according to research studies like the one published on NursingTimes.net (see resources) as well as experts, including Teri Martini, RN, BSN, program manager of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Colorectal Center, regular use of Peristeen reduces bowel accidents, prevents constipation, and as a bonus, reduces rates of urinary tract infection.
Manufactured by Coloplast, the Peristeen system introduces tap water into the colon, which loosens stool and acts as a mild irritant, causing peristalsis — wave-like colon contractions that move and evacuate stool. The entire system fits into a travel bag the size of a shaving kit. The system was introduced in Europe in 2006 and received FDA approval for use in the United States in October 2012. It includes a 1,000 ml. clear plastic water bag, which is filled with lukewarm tap water that travels via tubing through a small hand-held control unit and a squeeze-ball hand-pump to another tube with a twist-lock on the end that connects to a