Bowel Management



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The science bit
The bowel is controlled mainly by nerves leaving the spinal cord at level of T6-T12 (lower thoracic vertebrae. These nerves control the movement of abdominal muscles. The lower end of the bowel is controlled by nerves leaving the spinal cord lower down at level SS (sacral vertebrae. Some automatic (autonomic) control occurs within the bowel itself this is the part that brings the urge to use the toilet when stressed or frightened.
How the bowel works after SCI
After a spinal cord injury, the messages sent by the nerves located in your bowel are notable to reach your brain as before. This means you will not get the message that tells you when your bowel is full. You may also lose control of the muscle at the opening from your back passage (sphincter. Your degree of loss will depend upon your level of injury and the extent (completeness) of your spinal damage.


Managing your bowels
Upper motor neuron or reflex bowel
Lower motor neuron or flaccid hypotonic bowel
Coffee, tea, cocoa or soft drinks
Other factors
Performing bowel care
Manual evacuation
Medication stimulant laxatives
Osmotic laxatives
Complications
Flatulence



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