Anal devices are products which can be inserted into the rectum (like a suppository) and help to prevent bowel leakage.
If you have bowel leakage or often have to rush to the toilet quickly to prevent a bowel accident, then they might be useful for you. They sit inside the rectum and prevent bowel leakage.
Anal plugs work well for many people who experience a positive effect on their quality of life from them; however, their effectiveness has been found to vary and some people are unable to use them. 12
They can cause discomfort which some people find unacceptable; they may be better tolerated by people with reduced sensation around the bowel, for example, in spinal injury. If you do have sensation around the bowel, you might find them tolerable for short periods whilst doing certain activities and prefer to use an alternative product such as pads the rest of the time.
Correct fitting is important for comfort and to ensure they have the best chance of working, so you are recommended to ask a health care professional with experience of anal plugs for help.
Anal plugs are foam, cup-shaped devices that sit inside the rectum in order to prevent bowel leakage.
They are made from medical grade foam that is slightly absorbent but can allow air to pass through.
Individual plugs are covered in a dissolvable film which keeps the plug in a size and shape similar to a suppository or small tampon for easy insertion.
Once in the rectum, moisture from the lining of the rectum dissolves the film and the anal plug expands to a cup or mushroom shape.
They can stay in place for a maximum of 12 hours but must be removed in order to pass stool.
They have a string attached for easy removal.
Anal plugs can be hard to retain in the anus. 345
Some people find them uncomfortable 123477 complaining that having the plug in position causes a sensation of the need to pass stool. 2 This may be more of a problem for men than women. 6
Anal plugs can cause local irritation 8 although they should not cause pain.
Others find anal plugs hard to manage 129 and they are difficult to insert and, particularly, remove if your hand control is poor. 1
There is always the possibility of leakage from the product onto clothes or furniture.
Anal plugs are available in different sizes; you are recommended to try the smallest size first.
They are inserted like a suppository using a lubricant gel. Once in place, moisture from the lining of the rectum dissolves the film and the plug opens out into its cup or mushroom shape.
Correct insertion is very important; they must be inserted into the anal canal and not allowed to inflate near the entrance or lower end of the anal canal.
They are removed by pulling on the string. If you have difficulty gripping small items you might find this tricky. Try wrapping the string around a finger and then gently pulling.
Alternatively they can be expelled by raising intra-abdominal pressure and pushing as during normal bowel movements (defecation).
They can be placed in a nappy sack and disposed of in the normal household waste.
They are not biodegradable and so should not be flushed down the toilet.
Click on Worldwide to go to organisations where you live for local information about disposal.
The cost of anal plugs does vary according to which country you live in, so it is not possible to give you an exact price range.
They can be purchased directly from the manufacturer by phone or on the internet.
Look at the suppliers box for information on purchasing anal plugs
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