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Ask The Doc: Can I Go In The Pool If I Have Bowel Incontinence?

Question: I Love Swimming, But Have Been nervous About Getting In The POol Since I suffer from fecal incontinence. What are my options? 

AnswerSwimming is a fantastic exercise for people of all ages. Water-based movements have low impact to muscles and joints, so they present little risk of injury. Water exercises or aqua-therapy classes work out the entire body to help increase strength and can also boost energy levels and relieve stress to improve mood and mental health.

However, for those who experience bowel incontinence, getting back into the pool may seem impossible. If you fall into this category, you are not alone. According to International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, about 15% of women over 40, and from 6%-10% (or more) of men over 40, experience bowel incontinence. 

If you have bowel incontinence, you should not use standard adult disposable underwear, absorbent pads or other incontinence care products when swimming. These products can swell with water and it’s likely the material will fall apart, causing waste to leak into the pool. Fortunately, there are protective products made specifically for swimming that may help you enjoy being in the pool again.

Research products carefully before you buy, to make sure they meet your needs. Look for waterproof products that can remain submerged under water for long periods of time. Some products are better at holding in urine, while others are better at retaining fecal matter. There are products that can be washed and reused, such as disposable underwear covers, one-piece swimsuits with a no-show liner for women, or washable pull-on swim pants for men.

Tranquility® Swimmates®

Tranquility® Swimmates® image of a swimmates swim product with the packaging behind.are a disposable swimwear option that may be right for you. This unique underwear-style swim diaper is made specifically for the water, providing reliable bowel incontinence protection and security, thanks to its innovative design:

  • Worn subtly under a bathing suit by both men and women.
  • Kufguards® (inner leg cuffs) help contain bowel incontinence, giving you an extra sense of security.
  • Materials produce minimal swelling and will not break apart in water.
  • Unlike reusable swim products, there is no need to wash them – just throw them away and use a fresh product the next time.
  • Tear-away seams allow easy removal and disposal.

Plus – Swimmates may be covered under state waiver programs for those with complex healthcare needs.

If you want to try Swimmates, request a free sample or locate a dealer today.


About Tranquility: 

For more than 30 years, Tranquility® brand products have supported individuals in managing their most challenging incontinence care needs, providing a calm and confident space to live well. We offer a variety of styles, in a wide range of sizes from Youth to 5XL, and in three protection levels. Tranquility offers two-pack samples for most of their products, so you have the chance to experience maximum incontinence protection before committing to one item. Just answer a few quick questions on this form to request your free sample. If you have questions about which products are right for you, contact our dedicated Customer Care Center at 1-866-865-6101, Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET or email CustomerService@pbenet.com, anytime.

The NAFC Ask The Doc series provides answers to some of our reader’s most common questions from a group of experts in the fields of urology, pelvic floor health, bowel health, and absorbent products. Do you have a question you’d like answered? Click here to Ask The Doc!


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