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What Is A Bowel Program? Who's Supposed To Tell Us?




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13 replies to this topic

#1 pmfc44

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 12:17 AM

My mom (74) had aorta surgery July 11th this year that left her paralyze from the waist down. She still has a spinal infection, but has been at home two weeks now and my dad is taking care of her. She had three weeks of rehab but no one has ever told them she is a C or T or what. No one has told my dad anything about a bowel program. She got so constipated the other day that my dad, after trying stool softners that the doctor reccomended at $179/month, finally turned her over and started digging. That opened the flood gates, but there was such a HUGE amount of crap, he's afraid if it happens again it will kill her.

Is this just somthing you are supposed to figure out on your own? Please enlighten me.

#2 sunny_Kate

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 04:36 AM

My mom (74) had aorta surgery July 11th this year that left her paralyze from the waist down. She still has a spinal infection, but has been at home two weeks now and my dad is taking care of her. She had three weeks of rehab but no one has ever told them she is a C or T or what. No one has told my dad anything about a bowel program. She got so constipated the other day that my dad, after trying stool softners that the doctor reccomended at $179/month, finally turned her over and started digging. That opened the flood gates, but there was such a HUGE amount of crap, he's afraid if it happens again it will kill her.

Is this just somthing you are supposed to figure out on your own? Please enlighten me.


I cannot believe that you are in the United States and this is happening to your mother! God bless your dad! When a body becomes paralyzed, its bladder and bowel function ceases to work by will. A bowel program basically trains the body to eliminate its feces on a regular basis through some sort of manual stimulation. My body works best on an every other day schedule in which I use a gloved, lubricated finger to manually stimulate the muscles around the anus in a circular pattern. This signals the colon to move its contents out. It works best if it is done at the same time every day or every other day, that way there is less chance for "accidents" at inappropriate times. Some people use a commode chair or raised toilet seat with enough room to get a hand between the commode and the rear end. Some people use suppositories like Dulcolax (I may have spelled that wrong) in addition to manual stimulation.

I don't know if they can help or not but the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System has a spinal cord injury center, try this number (800) 228-4973 and ask them how you can get some knowledgeable help to teach your parents about her care.

Also, try the National Spinal Cord Injury Association http://www.spinalcor...html/newinjury/ for resources and materials.

#3 Kev-O

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 04:40 AM

Have you tryed talking to other rehab places around your area, they might have a class you can go sit in an learn.

#4 Kev-O

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 04:49 AM

My mom (74) had aorta surgery July 11th this year that left her paralyze from the waist down. She still has a spinal infection, but has been at home two weeks now and my dad is taking care of her. She had three weeks of rehab but no one has ever told them she is a C or T or what. No one has told my dad anything about a bowel program. She got so constipated the other day that my dad, after trying stool softners that the doctor reccomended at $179/month, finally turned her over and started digging. That opened the flood gates, but there was such a HUGE amount of crap, he's afraid if it happens again it will kill her.

Is this just somthing you are supposed to figure out on your own? Please enlighten me.

about the C or T thing look at this pic an it will tell you. I a paralyzed from my nipple line down so im a T-5. If she is paralyzed from the waist down then she could be any thing in the L section. O an you get the C from Cervical, the T from Thoracic, L from Lumbar. C is the highest T is in the middle L is the lowest



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Edited by Kev-O, 28 September 2007 - 04:50 AM.


#5 khalgren77

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 02:50 PM

One main thing to remember too if someone forgets to tell you is when you do digital stim make sure the person lays on their LEFT side when having it done! If not it can cause a heart attack! Also DON'T do it while sitting up- that can cause you to pass out! Been there done that! There are nerves down there that when hit in the wrong position can cause serious damage! I have never been able to find anything to help me get on a regular routine. Have tried it all...was not regular before being hurt either. The nurses kept insisiting they could train me...not happenin...eventually they listened to me.

#6 dave420atya

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 03:23 PM

I go every morning, same time.with the help of a Bisacodyl suppository. It takes about 30 minutes to start things a moving , I hop on the comode chair which sits over my toilet, and cough if it doesn't start to come out on it's own.This is usually enugh to get it out. sometimes it does take some stimulation with the ol finger.
the coughing thing really works for me. It will take practice to figure out what works best for you.
I usually am on the comode for less than 5 minutes. After waiting 30 min. naked in my chair siting in a folded towel. The bisacodyl Works for me and it's relitively cheep , $10.00 for 50.
Also eating right helps, although I don't always.
fiber fiber fiber
Good luck ,be patient ,

Edited by dave420atya, 31 October 2007 - 03:25 PM.

got a light?

#7 Katherine

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 03:59 PM

I live in the USA and I also was not told anything about bowel programs. I had the same problems being constipated right after my spinal tumor surgery and I was crying out in pain for help. I never got any advice from any of the dr's. I read people's stories on the internet to get help and advice. Sometimes we know our own bodies better than the dr's. lol.

#8 edlee

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 06:53 PM

You aren't going to have a heart attack from lying the wrong side up, nor are you likely to pass out if you do it sitting up.

With very few ( and I mean EXTREMELY FEW) exceptions, our bowels work like they always did but slower. When the process slows down everything in there firms up a bit and that slows things down even more.

Stool softeners may help, as may laxitives, certainly fiber. The " program" part is finding what works for you and fits your time, budget, and lifestyle.

I , personally, use none of the above, and use daily manual evacuation ( digging) . What works for one may not be suitable for others.

Don't be afraid to experiment, and don't expect perfection. Life can be a bumpy road so slow down and enjoy the scenery.
Best of luck.
ed

#9 KimAndSophie

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 07:47 PM

when you do digital stim make sure the person lays on their LEFT side when having it done! If not it can cause a heart attack! Also DON'T do it while sitting up- that can cause you to pass out!





Where did you hear this? The reason I was told for laying on your left side if you choose to do your bowel program laying down is because your bowel ends on the left side of your body, so by laying on your left side everything wont have to fight gravity to come out. If you press hard enough, or are not careful where you put pressure then you can pass out no matter how you are laying or sitting. Also by sitting you have gravity to help you, so it might be easier and faster that way if you can do it.

Edited by KimAndSophie, 31 October 2007 - 07:48 PM.


#10 kewlcatkez

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 07:59 PM

when you do digital stim make sure the person lays on their LEFT side when having it done! If not it can cause a heart attack! Also DON'T do it while sitting up- that can cause you to pass out!





Where did you hear this? The reason I was told for laying on your left side if you choose to do your bowel program laying down is because your bowel ends on the left side of your body, so by laying on your left side everything wont have to go up over a curve to come out. If you press hard enough, or are not careful where you put pressure then you can pass out no matter how you are laying or sitting.



KimAndSophie,

this is quite correct ( what you say here). When I was doing my Nurse Training, I was always told to administer enemas, with the person laying on their left side. The resaoning for doing it this way was because the Latter part of the Colon is bunched up a bit and descends at an angle ( some say 90 degrees, but we are talking about nature and nothing in nature is that precise!) right down to the anus and rectum.

Many times I have had to administer a person's enema etc with them laying on their right side or with them in other diffferent positions because injury or diability/spasticity etc doesn't allow them to lay on their left side. It is allowed, and will not harm the person unless there is some other condition which we aren't privvy to ( excuse the pun!) It will probably take a suppository ( for example) longer to 'work' if these differing positions are taken, but as everyone is different anyway, its all about finding whats right for you.

The 'passing out' could also be due to dysreflexia. Some people are sensitive/triggered by rectal stimulation ( either digital or by enemas/suppositories etc)

huh, I do hate my bowels and bladder these days though, so I do empathise and hope that the OP and others who are having difficulties find a resolution which is right for them soon.

Take care,

K

Edited by kewlcatkez, 31 October 2007 - 08:01 PM.

Ex Nurse (med retired)
Connective tissue disorder & associated paralysis.

#11 Apparelyzed

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 08:36 PM

Here's what I've learned over time.

Eat a balanced diet, plenty of fruit and veg to help keep the bowel moving, thus reducing constipation.

Try to get the bowel trained to being emptied every other day. This is for practical reasons, as there's more to life than doing a bowel program! If you're not careful, doing your bowel program can take over your life and make your life a misery, to the point where you don't go out because you are worried about having an accident.

Regarding the loss of blood pressure. Having a full bowel can have the same effect as wearing an abdominal binder. As soon as the bowel is emptied, there is a loss of volume from the abdomen, which causes the blood pressure to drop. One way of helping reduce the drop in blood pressure is to drink plenty of water/fluids just before commencing your bowel program.

Hope this helps.

Regards

Simon.

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#12 alyssa

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 02:53 AM

Some Things You Should Become Familiar With
Autonomic Dysreflexia
Bowel Managment
High Fibre Foods

#13 carole338

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Posted 04 November 2007 - 04:40 PM

I was taught to do my bowel program from a very sympathetic and knowledgeable nurse while I was an inpatient. He said to always use gloves, lie on your left side and:
1) stimulate the rectum using a water soluble lubricant:
2) wait about 5 minutes for results, if no results try a second time and again a third time. If no results:
3) insert the suppository ‘Magic Bullet’

The ‘Magic Bullet’ is a water soluble suppository and must be purchased on-line. I found the most inexpensive place to buy it was ‘activingliving.com’.

I now do my program daily while sitting on a comfortable commode. I only stimulate once and insert the ‘magic bullet’. It works in about 5 to 10 minutes but the process of complete evacuation usually takes 30 to 45 minutes. This is why I emphasize a comfortable commode.

My doctor recommended a daily high fiber cereal like Fiber One. But be sure to drink lots of liquid (at least 8 oz.) after eating this cereal so it does not bind you up. I usually drink a large glass of milk after eating this cereal. We could all use the calcium, especially since osteoporosis, or at least significant bone loss, is so common in our condition.

I hope this helps.
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#14 Motor

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Posted 15 November 2007 - 07:27 AM

My mom (74) had aorta surgery July 11th this year that left her paralyze from the waist down. She still has a spinal infection, but has been at home two weeks now and my dad is taking care of her. She had three weeks of rehab but no one has ever told them she is a C or T or what. No one has told my dad anything about a bowel program. She got so constipated the other day that my dad, after trying stool softners that the doctor reccomended at $179/month, finally turned her over and started digging. That opened the flood gates, but there was such a HUGE amount of crap, he's afraid if it happens again it will kill her.

Is this just somthing you are supposed to figure out on your own? Please enlighten me.


Hi I'm Richie and I may be able to help. Firstk now for sure not moving your bowels is dangerous. I once went 20 days without going and was rushed to the hospital. I had poop all the way in my stomach and they sucked it out threw my nose. I was wondering why everything I ate really tasted like shit. Any way first of all buy no name brand of stoll softners and supositories from wallmart or try whats called Magic Bullets or Enemizes. Both need a perscription but work well. Drink tons of water and take benifiber. Also warm prune juice helps. As far as the finger goes sometimes it needs to be done to remove what they call a cork. Its literally a lump of hard poop that blocks your bowel movement. You might look into subscribing to Paralysis News or Sports and Spokes all are spinal cord injury magazines with good info. Contact me with any questions or coments. Hope I helped. I move my bowels every other day sometimes the third day. Doctors say daily but It didn't work for me. She'll learn her own signals and soon it will be easy.

Be Well

Sincerely,
Richie aka "MOTOR"
"CHEAP WOMAN AREN'T GOOD AND GOOD WOMAN AREN'T CHEAP"
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"I MUST CRAWL BEFORE I WALK (AGAIN)"
"LIVE EACH DAY LIKE ITS YOUR LAST"
"RIDE IT LIKE U STOLE IT"
Richie aka MOTOR :-)


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