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Bowel course

Spinal cord injury can cause changes to how your digestive system works and how to you go to the bathroom. With what you learn in rehabilitation, plus time and trial and error, you’ll be able to master your bowel program so it doesn’t keep you from enjoying life.

Your bowel program will include a routine for emptying your bowel on a regular schedule using a technique called digital stimulation. You may use suppositories, laxatives or other medications.

Some people work with attendants or caregivers who assist them with their bowel program. There are also specialized assistive devices you can use.

It’s important to know about the problems you may encounter, like bowel accidents, constipation, diarrhea and impaction. The keys to preventing these problems are eating a healthy diet, drinking enough water and keeping an active lifestyle.

When you encounter difficulties, work in partnership with your health care team to problem-solve your way to a solution.

In this course you’ll learn about:

  • Your digestive system and how it may work after a spinal cord injury
  • The importance of emptying your bowel on a regular schedule
  • The use of digital stimulation, suppositories, laxatives or other medications for emptying your bowel
  • Working with attendants and caregivers to assist you with your bowel program
  • Problems you may encounter, like bowel accidents, constipation, diarrhea and impaction, and how to solve them.

 Click here to read the script (text-only version) of this course.

Course contents
Section 1 – Confidence and comfort
1.1 - Confidence and comfort
1.2 - How digestion works
1.3 - Neurogenic Bowel
1.4 - Your bowel program
1.5 - Making the transition

Section 2 – The perfect program
2.1 - The perfect program
2.2 - Diet and eating habits
2.3 - Timing & activity
2.4 - Position, equipment and skin health
2.5 - Bowel care: step by step

Section 3 – Problem-solving
3.1 - Problem-solving
3.2 - Bowel accidents
3.3 - Constipation
3.4 - Diarrhea
3.5 - Other problems
3.6 - Signs to monitor