Before a spinal cord injury, most people don't have to make special plans or schedules for bowel movements. A spinal cord injury changes the way the body works and bowel movements require more time, thought and planning.

Usually spinal cord injury people cannot feel when the stool is ready to come out, and they need help in expelling the stool. Establishing an effective bowel management routine is of vital importance, both physically and socially, in gaining the confidence and freedom to live an active life.

This document is for everyone who wants to understand how spinal cord injuries can affect bowel function and wants to learn about ways to manage the bowel after a spinal cord injury. Its aim is to provide accurate and practical information on the bowel and its management in adults with a spinal cord injury. The authors of this document make the assumption that such a document could improve the quality of life of spinal cord injury people.

This document was prepared by a multidisciplinary team of involving physicians, gastroenterologists, colorectal surgeons, nurses, continence specialists, physiotherapists and dieticians. Spinal cord injury people, personal care attendants and healthcare providers gave helpful comments. Information contained in this document relies on the scientific literature published to date, the experience of the above mentioned partners and relevant information gathered from the Internet.

More information for health professionals can be found at Medical Management Advice

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