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Spinal-Injury.net : What does the Bowel do?

 
  What Does the Bowel Do?
The bowel is the last portion of your digestive tract and is sometimes called the large intestine or colon. The digestive tract as a whole is a hollow tube that extends from the mouth to the anus.

The function of the digestive system is to take food into the body and to get rid of waste. The bowel is where the waste products of eating are stored until they are emptied from the body in the form of a bowel movement (stool, faeces).

A bowel movement happens when the rectum (last portion of the bowel) becomes full of stool and the muscle around the anus (anal sphincter) opens.

With a spinal cord injury, damage can occur to the nerves that allow a person to control bowel movements. If the spinal cord injury is above the T-12 level, the ability to feel when the rectum is full may be lost. The anal sphincter muscle remains tight, however, and bowel movements will occur on a reflex basis. This means that when the rectum is full, the defecation reflex will occur, emptying the bowel. This type of bowel problem is called an upper motor neuron or reflex bowel. It can be managed by causing the defecation reflex to occur at a socially appropriate time and place.

A spinal cord injury below the T-12 level may damage the defecation reflex and relax the anal sphincter muscle. This is known as a lower motor neuron or flaccid bowel. Management of this type of bowel problem may require more frequent attempts to empty the bowel and bearing down or manual removal of stool.

Both types of neurogenic bowel can be managed successfully to prevent unplanned bowel movements and other bowel problems such as constipation, diarrhoea and impaction.

What does the bowel do?
Methods for emptying the bowel
Bowel programs
Bowel Management Tips
What to avoid
Bowel Problems
 


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Spinal-Injury.net : What does the Bowel do?

 
 

 
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