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    Help - Incomplete bowel movements
    ThomasJ1964 posted:
    Hi everyone,

    I was hoping someone could help me with an IBS-related problem that I've been having for years.

    I've suffered with IBS ever since I was in grade school ( I'm 44 now ). My symptoms included pain, diarrhea and the unexpected immediate urgency to run to the bathroom. Years ago my folks took me to a doctor that diagnosed me as having IBS after a battery of tests. When I was in my early 20s.. I was actually symptom free for years. Then around 1990.. some of the symptoms returned and have not gone away.

    Now, only occasionally do I have the terrible pains I used to have. But I still have the unexpected urges, the cramping and the "feeling" that I have to have a bowel movement almost constantly.

    The worst thing now is the feeling that after a bowel movement, I feel that I'm not finished. So one of the things I've been doing for years is inserting my finger to get what's left out. I know this sounds awful.. and totally gross.. but I can't seem to break this habit. No matter how much fiber I take, or water I drink.. my bowel movements never feel "complete". And they're not because there always DOES seem to be more left.. sometimes MUCH more. And I can only get it removed by using my finger. And I'm _not_ constipated either, my stools are always very soft and even loose sometimes. But it's like the rest won't come out without me trying to remove it.

    Then there are times when I feel there's something there.. I have the cramping and urgency.. but when I insert my finger, there's nothing there.

    I've been wondering that if by using my finger I'm not just irritating things even more.. making the feeling of having to go to the bathroom even worse. As I said.. I'm trying very hard to break this habit or find ways to alter my diet so that the feeling of having incomplete bowel movements goes away. I just want to be able to go to the bathroom _normally_.

    Has anyone here ever had this problem? If so.. were you ever able to overcome it?

    Any replies will be so greatly appreciated!
    LynnRMos responded:
    sometimes if you can train yourself to ignore it the sensation it will ease up after awhile. i know it's difficult to tell when the sensation means an impending movement. not relaxing a little about the feeling makes you more aware of the sensation which can really take up your whole attention. yes, you are probably irritating yourself and making the problem worse. if some stuff sticks around in there for awhile it will come out eventually if you are not seriously medically impacted. it is possible to rip yourself with your fingers and cause a fissure. not everybody goes around feeling cleaned out most of the time. spasms around whats left inside get aggravated by tension. just think about it when you are in a crowd of people. they all have something in transit. do you think they are all feeling empty? somehow they have learned to tolerate that uncomfortable lump that is screaming here i am. yes, i have the problem and manage to overcome it most of the time - only when i accept the idea that there is nothing seriosly wrong with my body and go about life until a really serious urge clearly says here i come.
    ThomasJ1964 responded:
    Thank you so much for your reply Lynn!

    I'm definitely going to try to follow your advice. I've been _trying_ to do just that recently but it's just SO difficult because I've been doing this for years and I guess I'm just used to it now. There are times when I feel a really bad urgency to go to the bathroom, but nothing will happen until I use my finger to get things going. It's almost like the muscles inside of my rectum are all tight and won't allow anything to pass. Again, this just may be due to the fact that I'm so used to going to the bathroom in this manner that my body may need some time to adjust ( so I'm hoping ).

    Then there are times when I feel an urgency.. lower abdominal cramps and the feeling I need to have a bowel movement.. and there's nothing there ( maybe some mucous and a small amount of stool, but not enough to cause such an urgency ). And just within the last month I noticed what I think may be an internal hemorrhoid. In 30 years of having IBS symptoms I _never_ had a hemorrhoid. I'm thinking it might have been caused by trying to make sure I was completely empty all the time.

    Back when I was symptom-free, I never had this 'unfinished' feeling. I'd have a normal bowel movement in the morning, I'd feel 'empty' and would be good for the entire day. I so hope I can get back to feeling that way that someday soon!

    I've upped my fiber intake.. and am eating yogurt and taking probiotics. I'm hoping that may make a difference in time.

    This is such an embarrassing subject, I remember years back when I went to the doctor for my IBS symptoms it was very difficult telling him the details of my problem. And this is definitely not something I'd ever bring up with a friend. So being able to post this message and hearing from someone who know what it's like makes a big difference.

    Thank you again for your reply Lynn! And if anyone else has any advice or comments about this, I'd really like to hear them!
    earthtonegirl responded:
    I also find it helps with that incomplete feeling if I use a moist wipe to clean up when I have those soft BMs like you describe (it seems like they're too insubstantial to pass - theres nothing firm for the muscles to push on) But yeah, something like an unscented baby wipe or, when I'm at work, a moistened paper towel, helps for me. That, and like Lynn says, sometimes you have to ignore that feeling and walk away... it usually fades after a short while.
    CalGal37 responded:
    Thomas, in addition add some soluble fiber to your diet. If you bulk up your stool a bit the 'bulk' will activate the muscles to move more easily. Sometime a person doesn't completely empty because the bulk is missing from the stool. A thinner stool won't stretch the muscles a lot and the 'forward propulsion' is therefore lacking and things just 'sit there.'
    ThomasJ1964 responded:
    I just wanted to thank everyone for sharing their advice!

    earthtonegirl : Funny you should mention pre-moistened wipes, I just bought some unscented baby wipes a few days ago. They _do_ make me feel 'cleaner' but don't really do much for getting rid of that unfinished feeling. And so far I've been doing my best to get my mind off of it and just walking away. It's been difficult.. but it's only been my second day of trying this.

    CalGal37 : For the past couple weeks I've been adding more fiber to my diet. In the morning I have a big bowl of oatmeal with wheat germ and ground flax seed. And I do my best to eat veggies, fruit, drink more water, etc. Though sometimes I wonder if too much fiber will give me that 'unfinished' feeling? Because the stools are soft.. there always seems to be something left behind. And one of my fears is being out in public.. passing gas and something more than just gas is expelled.
    Kim40s responded:
    I have had IBS for 25 years, I can related to what you going thru. Sometime walking around helps move the bowels. Even with cramping and urgency feeling after sometime movement bowels need relieved pain I take Pepto-Bismol taking one first you may feel little relieved pain and drinking alot of water.

    I prefer Prepartion H cream and wipes as they work and helpful. Since using your finger will irritated it more.

    It's not matter of overcoming it, more of food cycle that changes with our bodies. Things we can't have that cause problems. Having to stay away from it. Sometimes have to test your eating food habits or staying away from fats. Beside caffeine that makes is worst.

    Then again everyone diffrent when comes to IBS, some may take fiber, used Pepto-Bismol, or medication by doctors to help releived for IBS.
    peanutaround responded:
    Hi there, I have been trying to figure out how to help myself with this problem. I have had IBS-D for years, I also feel like you do when I get out in public. It is so hard to try to live a normal life. I think I panic when I get out and that is the worst thing to do. Bad nerves and stress just make it all worse. I am tired of this problem and I just want it gone. I have heard this from alot of people, just don't think about it and it will go away. Thats not happening, this has taken over my life now. If you don't have IBS, you don't know how it is. Webmd is the first time I ever got on a message board. I know you understand how it is. I don't know how to help, I can't even help myself right now. It just seems better to know I am not alone with this. I have found that drinking ginger tea helps with the cramping. Thats all for now but I am still trying things. If there was such a thing as intestinal transplant I would probably have it and just start over. How happy I would be just to have normal bowel movements. Thanks for listening guys. Linda
    ghisaw responded:

    I have been having the same problems since I was a kid. I am almost 30. It is very painful at times. I have seen several doctors and have had several surgeries. (Which make it worse) I have learned to not smoke, stay away from dairy and caffeine. Which I know is very hard I am a severe coffee drinker. Keep adding fiber to your diet with every meal. Sometimes that will help. And the finger situation if it helps keep doing it. You are impacted and that is what the hospital does too. I believe what they do hurts worse (anema). Trust me you don't want that they are very painful. And it only relieves you for a short period of time. Also, do some research about your colon and you will be surprised what could be going on. On webmd look up colon, I have found things my doctor has never tested me for until recently and brought it to their attention. Unless you push your health care provider they are just go to keep doing what they are doing. Even if it doesn't work.Well I hope this helps. Good Luck. Having same problems.
    19850 responded:
    To start ? I would like to thank everyone for opening up about this personal discussion. I had stomach surgery in 2001, and had a very hard time afterwards with bowel movements due to my stomach muscle being cut. That?s where my IBS-related problem started. I do agree the feeling of having an unfinished bowel movement sitting in the rectum area is very discomforting. I now stand in the shower and use warm water and my middle finger to cleanse my rectum area, afterwards apply Preparation H. wash, wash,wash, and disinfect my hands. I describe my rectum is like having a cul de sac and not a one-way street. My husband feels I should just sit on the toilet for long periods at a time and continue to push and get hemorrhoids. Wondering is there a surgery to tighten the rectum muscle?
    fluttergirl2fly responded:
    I can totally relate to you-i do this also. The name for it is pelvic floor dysfunction. I haven't found anything to help yet but currently doing physical therapy with someone who specializes in this. If this doesn't work then i can go back to my urogynecologist. He has this monitor like thing that you wear and it is supposed to stimulate your bowels.

    Also i've heard of balloon manometry. Also check out Its a gastro motility disorder site.
    amanda2581 responded:
    Hi Thomas from slipper in Texas,I have not visited the board here much lately,But I know what you are going through been sick now going on three years,With some form of IBD and I also have Diabete,s.On my last colonascopy I was told my colon and GI trac like to hold on to so much backed up poo,That sometimes I can poo one as long as the state of Texas seem,s like,I have everything come out at once,I can flush and by time the tank fills up I am still going and flush again,Well I got to where I started vomiting if I did not empty all this at once,Say like 6-7 stools severe cramping and than vomiting,I have now been told my GI trac starts working back wards,pushes up against my stomach hence the vomiting,Than a few good burps and I am fine,I still do not under stand,But I found eating a diet high in beans and potatoes white bread cooked green veggies and cauflower,Aided in me getting a bowel movement that comes out all at once,I also stay on the pot,I wait until I feel the urge.And i know this is it, I sit on the pot with my feet on a small stool and if that does not work I lean forward as far as I can,And boom it all justs goes out,For times when i feel there is more I just sit relax if I am not cramping and put a fan on me and try to relax and usually it will come along,But when I get bad flares I just sit and wait,and hollar into a towel.I think relaxation is one key word but hard to do when in pain and uncomfortable.Good luck slipper
    amanda2581 responded:
    Thomas this is slipper again I forgot to tell you also Stop Sticking your finger in your hiney hole,That can become a addiction just like people that stick finger,s down their throat,Try waiting and go on about your business ,It will come out when you get enough in there for the muscels get the message from the brain ,Hey you need to empty !!! Hope this helps I pretty much told you what every one else did, slipper
    ThomasJ1964 responded:
    Hiya Slipper,

    Thank you for the response! You're totally right about the finger thing.. a few others here have told me to stop doing that as well. It's a hard habit to break, especially since I've been doing it for years.. but I've been following their advice and trying to stop.

    It's been about three weeks since I posted my question here on WebMD.. and I must say I've been doing pretty well! I've kept the straining and making sure I'm 'empty' to a minimum. I've also been drinking a LOT of water which seems to help with my bowel movements.. even though it makes me urinate more often ( if it's not one thing, it's another.. right? lol ). And I've upped my fiber intake. I make a cereal in the morning that seems to be doing a great job in keeping me regular. It's just regular oatmeal but I sprinkle wheat germ, ground flax seeds, ground almonds and ground raw pumpkin seeds in it. Normally nuts and seeds flare up my IBS symptoms.. but it seems when they're ground to a fine powder they don't bother me.

    Hope you're having a great weekend and thanks again for sharing!

    myrddincrow responded:
    Hi Thomas. I have had a problem for several years now. I would always get incomplete bowel movements, which were generally too soft no matter how many times I wiped I would still have visible fecal matter on the toilet paper. It was more than just a feeling of not being done but actually not being clean. I would wipe till I was raw and uncomfortable, even with wet paper towels and still not completely clean. Obviously I caused hemroids to develop. I tried just leaving the feeling be but as I sit all day in front of a computer at work, the fecal matter would slowly sort of leak out and cause irritation whether or not I wiped excessively. I tried hemroid creams and wipes, they helped a little with the symptoms of my issue but never fixed the cause. I ate tons of fiber and have a proper diet and still the problems persists.

    Eventually I found that baby wipes work just as well as prep H wipes and cost so much less. However they still don't fix the issue. There was one solution that worked for me, though it is slightly inconvenient. Disposable enemas, used & reused with water (not the solution they come with) until they puncture or otherwise wear out, fairly inexpensive only need replacing ever couple weeks. Anyways I fill the enema with water and clean myself out after each bowel movement. NO more hemroids and no more unclean feeling, the doc said it was fine to do. So I keep a prep H wipe box filled with a disposable enema and baby wipes with me at all times, keep backups in the cars and buy wipes in bulk at Costco. It kind of sucks having to do this all the time but I have absolutely no more itching or irratation. Unfortunately the obvious side effect of this self treatment is an increase in having to use the restroom. The good part is that tends to go away or fluctuate so instead of having to go 10 times in a day every day it may happen once a week or less for me its monday. But the rest of the week is pretty normal 3-4 times a day for me.

    I don't know if this is helpful to you. I was actually looking for a more permanent solution to my problem when i stumbled across your post. But I cannot find any permanent solutions for my issue (incomplete bowel movements). Every time I look it up i see that it is a symptom of hemroids, but in my case Incomplete Bowel Movements are what causes my hemroids.

    I hope this helps or that someone possibly has any suggestions.

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