The information below is intended to be a useful guide on
potential bowel problems post injury. Always seek medical
advice in conjunction with reading this information
Stool is too hard (Constipation) Do your bowel program on a daily basis until constipation
resolves. Add or increase the dose of a stool softener (such as
DOSS or colace). Add or increase the dose of psyllium hydro-mucilloid
(such as Metamucil or Citrucel). Increase your fluid intake
(this is essential if you are increasing psyllium) Increase your
activity level and your intake of dietary fibre. Avoid foods
that can harden your stool, such as bananas and cheese.
Stool is too liquid or runny (Diarrhoea) Temporarily discontinue the use of any stool softeners. Continue
your bowel program at the regular time and frequency. (If you
are having accidents, increase the frequency of your program.)
Try adding or increasing the dose of psyllium hydro-mucilloid
(Metamucil, Citrucel), which adds bulk to liquid stool. If the
diarrhoea seems to be related to an acute viral or bacterial
illness, change to a liquids only or very bland diet for 24
hours (avoid milk, however). If diarrhoea persists for more than
24 hours or if you have a fever or blood in your stool, consult
your Dr or health care provider.
A frequent cause of diarrhoea is a blockage or impaction of
stool (liquid stool leaks out around the blockage). Evaluate
whether you may have this problem. Have you had small hard
stools recently? Or have you had no results from the past
several programs? If you suspect impaction, consult your Dr or health
Frequent bowel accidents: Be sure your rectum is completely empty at the end of your
program. Increase the frequency of your program (some people
with a flaccid bowel may need to empty their bowels twice
daily). Try using only half of a suppository. Evaluate stool
consistency -- if it's too hard or too soft, see above. Monitor
your diet for any foods that may over stimulate your bowel, such
as spicy foods.
Mucous accidents: If you notice a clear, sticky, sometimes odorous drainage from
the rectum, try switching from a suppository to a mini-enema, or
using only half of a suppository, or try eliminating
suppositories or mini-enemas completely and begin your program
with digital stimulation only. Avoid hard stools.
No results in 3-4 days: Treat constipation as recommended above. If there are no results
in three days, take 30 cc. of Milk of Magnesia or a single dose
of an herbal laxative at bedtime. Do your bowel program in the
morning. If there are still no results, repeat the dose of Milk
of Magnesia or herbal laxative the next evening. If there are no
results in the morning, consult your Dr or health care provider.
Rectal bleeding: Keep your stool soft. Be very careful to do digital stimulation
gently and with sufficient lubrication, and keep your
fingernails short. If you have known haemorrhoids, you may treat
them with an over-the-counter haemorrhoidal preparation such as
Anusol or Anusol HC. If bleeding persists or is more than a few
drops, consult your Dr or health care provider.
Excessive wind/gas: Avoid constipation. Increase the frequency of your bowel
programs. Avoid gas-forming foods, such as beans, corn, onions,
peppers, radishes, cauliflower, sauerkraut, turnips, cucumbers,
apples, melons and others that you may have noticed seem to
increase your own gas. Try simethicone tablets to help relieve
discomfort from gas in your stomach.
Bowel program taking too long: Try switching from a suppository to mini-enemas. Increase your
intake of dietary fibre and add or increase the dose of psyllium
hydromucilloid. Try switching your program to a different time,
and be sure you schedule it after a meal to help increase
Autonomic Dysreflexia during bowel
program: Use xylocaine jelly (available by prescription from your health
care provider) for digital stimulation. You may also need to
insert some of the jelly into your rectum before beginning the
program. Keep your stool as soft as possible. If dysreflexia
persists, consult your Dr or health care provider. You may need
medication to treat or prevent this condition.
What does the bowel do?
Methods for emptying the bowel
Bowel Management Tips
What to avoid