Treatment for Neurogenic Bowel

Neurogenic bowel is the loss of normal bowel function. It’s caused by a nerve problem in the lower part of the colon. This is where solid waste is before it leaves the body. A spinal cord injury or a nerve disease may damage the nerves that help control this part of the colon. This causes problems with the colon’s ability to store and move waste. It often causes constipation and bowel accidents. The specific combination of problems will depend on where the spinal cord injury is, or if the nerve problem resides out of the spinal cord. These problems can cause physical, social, and emotional problems. But they may be managed with methods to help reduce problems. 

Types of treatment

People with neurogenic bowel need to have a bowel care plan. This includes a daily schedule to remove the stool from the rectum. This helps prevent accidents, constipation, and blockage. A bowel plan also includes diet changes and medicines. Your healthcare team can help you develop a bowel care plan. Your bowel plan may include:

  • Laxatives, both oral pills and suppositories

  • Fiber, medicines, or enemas

  • Using a gloved finger to trigger the sphincter muscle (digital rectal stimulation)

  • Abdominal muscle training or massage

  • Exercise and activity plans

  • Electrical (neural) stimulation of the abdominal muscles

  • Pulsed water irrigation

  • Surgery to create a hole (stoma) through which you can flush water into the top of your bowel

  • Colostomy surgery to create an opening for stool to empty through instead of the rectum

  • Botulinum toxin to help decrease anal sphincter spasticity

Possible complications

Possible complications of neurogenic bowel include:

  • Enlarged veins around the anus (hemorrhoids)

  • Bowel blockage (impaction)

  • Fecal (stool) accidents

Following a bowel care plan can help you prevent these problems. You can work with your healthcare team to create and maintain the best bowel care plan for you.

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