Is fecal incontinence a symptoms of moderate Alzheimer's disease?

2 answers | Last updated: Sep 23, 2016
2 u with love asked...

My hubby of 78 years last night (for the first time ever) lost control of his bowels in bed. Is this Moderate Alzheimer related? he had not tummy ache, or pain, it was watery yellow and oh so smelly.

Expert Answers

Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

I would not worry about this one time episode of bowel incontinence. Since the stool was watery and smelly, this single episode could be a symptom of gastroenteritis (virus) or food poisoning (eating bad food). Usually, bowel incontinence from Alzheimer's will occur in the later stages of dementia, when the person is no longer amubulatory and the patient cannot make the connection for using the toilet to defecate.

I recommend watching him and see if the smelly, watery stools continue. If he has other episodes, then I would let his health care provider know. Recurrent bowel incontinence/diarrhea could be from a new medication, or health problems like GERD, an intestinal infection, or stomach problem.

Hope this helps!

Community Answers

2 u with love answered...

He had another episode last night. I am his (wife) and carer and have let the social worker know, so maybe having a visit from the district nurse to see what aids I can get, maybe under blanket, that will not allow the stuff through to the under lay, it is far to heavy for me to wash and lift on to the clothes line to dry.I am not sure if he wakes after he has done it, or if he has no control over it, as he can not remember. So I fear it is not a tummy upset, he is not on any new medication.