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Spinal cord injuries can lead to bowel issues

Spinal cord injuries can have various impacts on the body. When there is an injury at the T-12 level or below, one of the things that can occur is difficulty with the bowels. This is something that is manageable but it might not be pleasant to deal with.

There are two ways that T-12 injuries can impact the bowels. One way is that the anal sphincter muscle clinches and stays clinched. The other way is that the anal sphincter muscle relaxes and stays relaxed. In both of these cases, the person with the injury wouldn't be able to control bowel movements.

If the person's muscle is clinched, he or she might need help to eliminate feces from the bowel. This can be done through manual removal of the feces. Suppositories and enemas might also help with elimination issues.

If the person's muscle is relaxed, the feces might not be retained in the bowel. This is considered fecal incontinence. This is often difficult to manage, but it can be done using incontinence pads and other measures.

Ultimately, bowel care programs take a lot of time to complete. If you have to manually remove feces, you should do this at the same time each day. You will need to pay attention to how your feces appears. For example, if you have diarrhea, you might need to eat foods that can help to make it a bit more solid. If you are constipated, you might need to take a stool softener.

If the spinal cord injury is one that is the result of an accident, you may want to try and seek compensation for the accident. This is something that can help you to afford the medical care you require.

Source: University of Washington, "Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) & Maintaining Healthy Bowels," accessed July 21, 2017

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