Factors involved in a bowel care program for a spinal cord injury

A spinal cord injury (SCI) generally affects the process of eliminating waste from the intestines. You may not be able to control when you have a bowel movement, or you may not be able to have one. A bowel management program allows you to deal with any bowel problems you have. When creating this program, you and your rehab team will discuss:

  • What type of bowel problem you have.
  • Your previous history of bowel movements. How often did you have them?
  • Where you will do the program—on a toilet or on a bed?
  • Any emotional concerns you have.
  • Any gastrointestinal problems you had before the SCI, such as irritable bowel syndrome or lactose intolerance.
  • Medications you need for your SCI or other problems. Medication frequently affects the bowel and can cause constipation or diarrhea.
  • Your diet.
  • Your lifestyle. Do you go to school or work? Do you get any exercise?
  • Your time. It generally takes about 45 minutes to complete a bowel program.

Last Updated: February 18, 2009

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