Children and Family Lives

Helping you get ready for irrigation

We realise when you are introduced to irrigation there are many questions, and sometimes it is better to hear from those that have been through it themselves. We’ve worked with Gail Fitzpatrick, Lead Nurse Colorectal Service and Emily Hooker, Senior Colorectal Nurse Specialist at Birmingham Children’s Hospital to help share the stories of four families that have used rectal irrigation, to share their experiences and in doing so, help answer those questions to ease and normalise the treatment.

Meet Andrew and his daughter Yssie and Paula and her daughter Sophie

One of the other things I’ve learned in my journey, is talking about it, and making it normalised. I think sometimes people think there is a big taboo, the reality of the situation is, it changes peoples lives.


Meet Glenn and his son James and Catherine and her son Edward

I feel much more confident than before because I don’t have to worry about my bowels because I used the irrigation bag, so it does make a big difference.


Hear from two colorectal nurse experts

Gail, Lead Nurse Colorectal Service and Emily, Senior Colorectal Nurse Specialist, Birmingham Childrens Hospital 

Faecal incontinence affects all ages and rectal therapies can be just as beneficial for children as it is in adults. Children are truly amazing; you will be surprised how adaptable they are. Parents tend to be more wary because they want to protect their child from harm and embarrassment. Many families feel isolated and don’t feel comfortable to talk to others about their child’s incontinence as they feel they won’t understand, or they might be judged. From experience parents benefit by hearing other people’s stories, and often able to relate it to their own journey after hearing about the good times and the bad. It gives the opportunity for parents to see on a practical level how transanal irrigation can work within busy family life. Parents are constantly worried about their child’s incontinence, embarrassment from soiling, frightened they will be bullied and not be able to do normal childhood activities (sleepovers, school trips, swimming etc). Their confidence has been shattered that new treatments will not work because they have tried so many things previously with no success. Seeing and listening to other families’ positive stories after using transanal irrigation can help to allay their fears and can be the deciding factor in trying a new treatment. Seeing other children cope inspires them to feel that their child will manage too!

Additional Patient Stories – Changing lives

For more inspiring paediatric patient stories, where children and their families share their experiences and the positive impact of rectal irrigation on their lives, please explore Lola and Mason’s stories.