Bowel Management

called an upper motor neuron type bowel or reflex bowel

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called an upper motor neuron type bowel or reflex bowel.
Lower Motor Neuron or flaccid hypotonic bowel
If the injury is at or below T, your bowel will not fully empty, even when stimulated. This is because the damage to the cord has damaged the pathways from the bowel wall into the reflex centre in the spine. Therefore, there cannot be any reflex action. That means that the bowel

muscles will not squeeze and anal sphincter muscle remains relaxed. This is called a lower
motor neuron type bowel or flaccid hypotonic bowel. If your injury is incomplete or is around T, you may find that your bowel can take on mixed upper and lower motor neuron type functioning.

Bowel Routine The aim of a bowel routine is to allow your bowel to empty at regular intervals, e.g. daily, alternate day, morning or night. We can time your bowel movement to suit you and take into account your lifestyle, care needs etc. The two most important components of a good bowel routine are diet and timing.
How often you empty your bowels and your stool consistency is linked to the quantity and quality of food and drink you take.

A healthy diet including fibre in the form of bran cereals, fruits and vegetables can help keep the digestive process working. Foods high in fibre can absorb and retain liquid and make the stool softer and easier to pass. Be aware of which foods work for you and which foods don’t e.g. some vegetables are gas forming and could prove embarrassing. Also some foods, alcohol and medicines can alter stool consistency and make bowel movements difficult. Food and drink that affected your stool consistency before your injury, will still affect it. Make sure you take 2-3 litres of fluid each day to keep your stool soft.
Food diary
A good way to understand and learn how different foods affect your bowel is to keep a food record. For about three weeks, write down what you eat and drink each day and describe your bowel movements.

Managing your bowels
The science bit
Upper motor neuron or reflex bowel
Coffee, tea, cocoa or soft drinks
Other factors
Performing bowel care
Manual evacuation
Medication stimulant laxatives
Osmotic laxatives

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