To my absolute horror I had bowel incontinence twice in the last week. I have suffered from IBS for many years. I am 71 and functional with no aids. Is this the beginning of a new MS symptom? Super scary. Suddenly in the middle of a walk, no control.
Bowel dysfunction due to MS tends to manifest mainly as constipation, but some can also experience fecal incontinence (accidents). When a scar of MS involves the part of the nervous system that helps coordinate signaling to the bowels to evacuate (located primarily in the spinal cord--especially the lowest segment), these bowel symptoms emerge. Other contributors to bowel problems that are related to MS include: immobility or sedentary lifestyle, dehydration (ie, avoiding liquids because of bladder problems), poor dietary intake of fiber, and the acknowledgement that many different medications prescribed to treat other MS symptoms can cause bowel dysfunction as a side effect. All the more reason to review your symptoms with the MS specialist.
Here is a blog I wrote that goes into further detail as well as management strategies. Hope this helps.
A. Scott Nielsen MD MMSc
Virginia Mason Multiple Sclerosis Center