Talk to a Healthcare Provider about ABL
By Dr. Heidi Brown
Assistant Professor
University of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health
Contributing Editor

People with accidental bowel leakage (ABL) are often embarrassed to talk about it or may think that ABL is something they have to deal with as a normal part of aging. Often people don't see ABL as a medical problem that a doctor could help with and so they don't talk about it. 

Heidi Brown, MD, assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health found that less than 30% of people with ABL have actually ever talked with a healthcare provider about their ABL. Other research has shown that the average lead time to talking to a healthcare provider about ABL is 5 years. So people are living with the condition for a long time before ever speaking to their healthcare professional about it. 

Dr. Brown says, "If people don't talk about it, we can't help. It is sort of like if you don't ask for it, you can't get what you need". She goes on to explain, "I am an information conduit. I have the tools and knowledge that people can use to make their lives better and regain control. I evaluate them and provide a list of options of things that can help. I am not really doing anything other than facilitating shared decision making where they can pick the things that best work for them." 

Get the facts. Start a conversation. Your healthcare provider can help provide a list of solutions available and help determine the best approach for you.

Last Updated 1/20/2015

Dr. Heidi Brown is a Urogynecologist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.
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