Spinal-Injury.net : Bowel  Management Tips

  Bowel Management Tips
Any one of the factors listed below, or a combination of factors, can affect the success of a bowel program. Changing one factor may produce results almost immediately, or it may take several days to see the results. Changing more than one factor at a time makes it difficult to determine the effects of individual factors, and may increase the time it takes to develop a stable bowel program.

Previous bowel history: What have your bowel habits been in the past?

Timing: Do you do your bowel program in the morning or evening? At the same time every day? After a meal or warm beverage? What is the interval between programs -- half a day, one day or two days? (You should do a bowel program at least every 2-3 days to reduce your risk of constipation, impaction and colon cancer.)

Privacy and comfort: Does someone else share your bathroom? Do you have enough time to complete your program?

Emotional Stress: Has your appetite been affected? Are you able to relax?

Positioning: Where do you do your program -- on a commode chair, raised toilet seat, on the toilet, or in bed? It will probably work better when you are sitting up because of gravity.

Fluids: How much and what type of fluid do you drink? (Prune juice or orange juice can stimulate the bowels, or another type of fruit juice may work best for you.)

Food: How much fibre or bulk (such as fruits and vegetables, bran, whole grain breads and cereals) do you eat? Some foods (such as dairy products, white potatoes, white bread and bananas) can contribute to constipation, while others (such as excess amounts of fruit, caffeine, or spicy foods) may soften the stool or cause diarrhoea.

Medication: Some medicines (such as codeine, Ditropan, probanthine, and aluminium-based antacids like Aludrox) can cause constipation, while others (including some antibiotics, such as ampicillin, and magnesium-based antacids such as Mylanta and Maalox) can cause diarrhoea. Consult your health care provider for information about the medications you are taking.

Illness: A case of the flu, a cold or an intestinal infection may affect your bowel program while you are ill. (Even if your digestive system is not directly affected, your eating habits, fluid intake or mobility may change, which can alter your bowel program.)

Activity level/Mobility: How much exercise do you get? How much time do you spend out of bed?

Weather: Hot weather increases the evaporation of body fluids, which can lead to dehydration and constipation.

External abdominal massage: Massaging the lower abdomen in a circular, clockwise motion from right to left increases bowel activity.

Valsalva (bearing down) This technique is not recommended for patients with cardiac problems.

Assistive/ adaptive devices: Devices such as a suppository inserter, finger extension or digital stimulator may be required to assist you in establishing a successful bowel program.

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 : Bowel  Management Tips



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