Posted on Spinal Cord Injury Blog / Blog / How Do Paralyzed People Poop (Go Number Two)?

Page Updated 12/06/2021

How Do Paralyzed People Poop (Go Number Two)?


Do your bowels function properly? Many aspects of life change for paralyzed people suffering a spinal cord injury(SCI). Individuals sometimes think about how they can go to the bathroom or release stool, as this condition affects people’s bowel movements and may cause constipation. Patients experience accidents regarding bowel management every day.

The connection between the brain and the colon in the body is often interrupted after a spinal cord injury or disease, disrupting the messages transmitted by the bowel to the brain regarding when and how to move and empty stool.

Bowel programs and medications can help! The friendly and charismatic lawyers at Ehline Law Firm are experts striving to assist severely injured accident victims receiving compensation from parties at fault.

Therefore, if you are struggling with a spinal cord injury due to car accidents or other incidents, call us today!

How Do Paralyzed People Go Number Two?

  • How Did Paralyzed People Deal with Bowel Movements in a Traditional Way?
  • What Factors Do People Need to Consider During a Bowel Program?
  • What Online Tools can People Use to Monitor Bowel Movements?
  • Other Ways for Paralyzed People to Control Bowel Movements
  • Do You Need a Los Angeles Spinal Cord Injury Attorney?

Doctors determine the degree of disruption by the spinal cord injury’s disorder, injury, and comprehensiveness. Hence, people need to make sure they have called their doctor, hospital, or care provider regarding their program.

The upper motor neuron bowel develops after a T-12 or higher injury and paralyzes the nerves that control movements in bowel care. Defecation happens instinctually when the rectum is complete, leading to bowel injuries. Reflex bowel is an alternative term for upper motor neurons.

Damage below T-12 affects the defecation reflex and relaxes the anal sphincter muscle, resulting in lower motor neuron bowel. The sacral nerves attempt to transmit a message to the spine to poop as the intestine fills with stool, but the lower motor neuron disrupts this message. In this case, the reflex to expel does not occur, and the sphincter muscle remains relaxed, resulting in flaccid bowel. A flaccid or large intestine is the body that causes constipation and incontinence related to the flaccid bowel.

How Did Paralyzed People Deal with Bowel Movements in a Traditional Way?

A routine bowel program is essential for victims of a spinal cord injury or restricted movement. Depending on the individual’s case, each person’s bowel program varies, but there are several general methods for assisting with excretion.

A bowel management program is a daily regimen followed by people and care providers to ensure that defecation happens regularly and at socially acceptable times. A bowel program teaches regular bowel movement at appropriate intervals, allowing for the most ease, comfort, and freedom possible.

Additionally, a bowel program gets tailored to a person’s timetable, previous bowel behaviors, and current way of living and takes approximately 60 minutes to complete.

What Factors Do People Need to Consider During a Bowel Program?

Specialists who structure a bowel program for patients need to consider various factors such as:

  • Prior bowel history
  • Stress
  • Time intervals
  • Hydration (Fluid intake) and nutrition
  • Safety, privacy, and comfort
  • Fitness

Let us take a look at each of these factors in further detail.

Prior Bowel History

Everyone has different opinions on what they believe constitutes ordinary colon tract care. It is helpful to pay attention to pre-injury habits as far as possible, as patients need to try their best to mimic this. A bowel program is beneficial and expected; however, specialists advise individuals not to continue for two to three days without going to the toilet, as this reduces risks associated with fecal impaction and constipation.

Stress

Stress and anxiety impact bowel problems; therefore, it is crucial to ensure that the bowel program focuses on this when people go through challenging situations. Caregivers must make appropriate adjustments to the defecation schedule or bowel program when patients experience side effects associated with stress or anxiety, such as an increased or reduced appetite, loss of sleep, or the inability to rest or relax.

Time Intervals

Establishing a set routine or regular schedule is crucial for a bowel program, as victims need to try to perform at the same time daily. Each patient experiences a different bowel program; however, it is common for people to go to the toilet first thing in the morning, 30 minutes after each meal, and before individuals go to bed.

Hydration and Nutrition

An individual’s eating and drinking habits affect their bowels and movement. It is crucial to eat a well-balanced, healthy, and fiber-rich diet at regular time intervals. Fluid and food intake plays a significant role in any health program and diet, as fiber and other foods can cause constipation or diarrhea.

Fluid intake is essential! Drinking high quantities of water or alternative non-diuretic fluids assists in keeping a bowel system going by moistening the stool. Avoiding high-fat, high-sodium, and high-sugar foods and avoiding or limiting alcohol or caffeine consumption may help.

Victims need to pay close attention to the foods they eat and the liquids they drink. High-fiber food is excellent in assisting the bowels, or rectal tract is functioning correctly.

Safety, Privacy, and Comfort

A paralyzed person wants to be as comfortable as possible when going to the bathroom or moving their bowels.  Modifications that allow for optimal privacy are critical, for example, if two or more people share a bathroom. The type of defecation should be as comfortable and clean as possible.  If the range of motion and safety allows, it is better to be upright on a toilet seat, commode chair, or elevated toilet seat to allow gravity to assist the individual.

Fitness

They engage in physical activity, and movement of the body aids in the direction of a person’s bowels. A daily exercise regimen aids in the maintenance of regularity. Stretching and movement exercises benefit individuals with a reduced range of motion. If the bowel program does not include any fitness aspects, make the necessary adjustments. 

What Online Tools can People Use to Monitor Bowel Movements?

An ineffective bowel program may lead to fecal impaction and the need to go to the hospital. This condition occurs when stool is stuck in the person’s bowels and causes other severe health or medical complications.

The symptoms of this issue are:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach or back pain
  • Stool leakage
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • The absence of bowel movement for four or more days, even with a bowel program.
  • A bloated or tight abdomen
  • Sweating or a fever
  • Dehydration
  • Dizziness
  • Low blood pressure

If you think you could have this problem with your body or colon system, consult with a doctor or visit the nearest hospital right away because the problem can get worse and even be lethal.

Fecal impaction might accompany gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea or constipation. Issues with heart health, breathing, and circulation are more well-known symptoms.

Too much laxatives in your program often cause this health condition. Alternative common factors include changes to a diet (especially involving fiber), lack of fluids, little to no physical activity, opioid medications, and untreated constipation.

Manual removal and using stool softeners can remove a fecal impaction. It is necessary to take a stool softener in your program, as recommended by a doctor, maintain a daily exercise and range of motion schedule, eat high-fiber fruits and vegetables, foods, and remain hydrated with sufficient fluid. Consult with your health care provider about making modifications to your program if need be.

Other Ways for Paralyzed People to Control Bowel Movements

There are various medications and strategies a paralyzed person uses to regulate their bladder or resolve bowel accidents, and which ones function best depends on the circumstances. The following are a few of the more popular methods included in a bowel program:

  • Digital Stimulation
  • Manual Removal
  • A suppository
  • Mini-enema

Digital Stimulation

A health care provider needs to insert the index finger into the rectum and gently rotate it in a circular motion causing the anal sphincter to loosen and allow movement or removal of stool during digital stimulation to ensure the rectum is empty. Digital stimulation is not used as frequently as the other available options in a bowel program.

Manual Removal

This procedure is exactly what it states in a bowel program; it involves physically removing stool from the rectum with a finger inserted into the person’s rectum. Much like digital rectal stimulation, programs that include this are not the most popular.

A Suppository

Bisacodyl is the active primary component in both effective suppository forms options. One concerns vegetables, while the other may revolve around polyethylene glycol. Although the stimulant laxative bisacodyl or a similar suppository may be efficient, it can also have some adverse side effects, which one should address in the bowel program.

Mini-Enema

A mini-enema is a popular and well-known option that a care provider uses during bowel programs. The intake of this is typical because they have almost no or minimal side effects.

Do You Need a Los Angeles Spinal Cord Injury Attorney?

Have you called legal services yet regarding the accident that led to injuries, paralysis, or confinement to your bed? Events like this occur every day; hence, one requires proper preparation! Please consult with one of our compassionate lawyers regarding compensation so you do not have to worry about hospital bills, injuries, and medications.

Michael Ehline and our team at the Ehline Law Firm promise to assist victims with serious injuries resulting from an accident. Call us at (213) 596-9642 or fill in the online consultation form to get your free consultation so we can help you get compensation for your injuries, so you are not stuck in bed all day!

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