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Why should I keep a diary for accidental bowel leakage (ABL)?

Accidental bowel leakage (ABL) is different for everyone, and for many people diet plays a role in triggering ABL. Tracking your diet, food and beverages with a diary can help you identify things that make your ABL better or worse.  You can use diaries to record the timing, frequency and consistency of bowel symptoms, as well as the timing of what you eat or drink.

After you have completed diaries for one week, look over them to see if you recognize any patterns. For example, you may notice more accidents and looser stools after drinking caffeinated beverages, eating spicy or high fat foods, foods with artifiical sweeteners or after taking certain medications. Often people with ABL can begin to recognize a pattern.  Whether you do or not, keeping a food diary can be very helpful when you talk to a healthcare provider about this problem.

In many cases, learning how to integrate fiber properly into your diet can be helpful. But fiber is not one size fits all. For people with loose stools and diarrhea, fiber helps by bulking up the stools so fiber does not need to be taken with lots of water. The goal with fiber when stools are loose is for the fiber to absorb the excess water in the stools and bulk up the stools (so taking fiber with lots of water can actually make the problem worse). When stools are hard and constipated, fiber is used to soften stools by pulling water into them. To soften stools, fiber needs to be taken with plenty of water. Learning how to use fiber to maintain better stool consistency often can make a big difference for people with ABL. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.