Constipation is defined as having hard stool or no stool from your bowel program for two days in a row. It can lead to impaction and maybe dysreflexia in persons with spinal cord injury above the T6 level. This lesson will review causes, symptoms, treatments and prevention for constipation.
- Not enough fiber in the diet (fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads, cereals)
- Not doing the bowel program on time or correctly
- Not emptying the bowel completely
- Not exercising
- Changing the time of the bowel program
- Certain foods like dairy, fatty or fried meals
- Not enough water in the diet
- Very hard stool or no stool from your bowel program for 2 days in a row
- Hard, tight or bloated abdomen
- Poor or no appetite
- Small amounts of blood in the stool
This section is for persons having small amounts or hard stool from the bowel program.
- Drink 1 to 2 cups of hot liquid like coffee or tea 30 minutes before the bowel program.
- Continue to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water.
- Eat more foods with fiber and less fatty/fried foods
- Fruits, vegetables & whole grains are great food choices.
If there has not been any stool for more than two days:
Try adding one stool softener to your program. This is may be taken once a day.
You may increase your dose to one capsule twice a day if you are already taking one stool softener.
One the 3rd day:
Try using a rectal suppository such as Dulcolax or a Magic Bullet 30 minutes before the bowel program. If a suppository is already part of the program, go to the next treatment.
Try taking a mild laxative such as one Dulcolax tablet 6 hours before your next bowel program.
If you are still not having results, on day 4:
Try your regular bowel program. If there are no results, use an enema such as a Fleet or a soap suds enema.
Do not go more than four days without having a bowel movement. If you have not had a bowel movement in four days, call the doctor (see Lesson I on Impaction).
- Eat fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals
- Drink 6-8 glasses of water each day
- Do the bowel program on time and do it right
- Use a stool softener as ordered by the doctor.
- Stay on an exercise program!