Daily Archives: January 12, 2004
Neurogenic bowel is a frequent problem for patients with spinal cord injury. With planning and care, however, you can help them regain control over their bowel function. Here’s how.
Damage to the spinal cord leaves patients at risk for a number of complications. A common one is neurogenic bowel–a condition in which the patient has no voluntary control over stool elimination.
If you’re the least bit modest, then a short hospital stay will send you over the edge unless of course you’ve crossed that line already. Draped in not much more than a smile and a few pieces of thin blue cloth that I couldn’t see, I laid exposed with a high-level spinal injury in the ICU for the world to see. While I awaited the standard pinpricks, doses of painkillers endless hours of looking up the nostrils of people passing over me, it occurred to me that the practice of mooning really was good practice.
At the time, core life functions were being maintained and monitored by the medical staff. Comfort, appearance and dignity were a thing of the past.
For successful Regeneration to occur following spinal cord injury, several things must happen. First, damaged nerve cells and supporting cells must survive or be replaced, despite the acute effects of trauma and the conspiracy of processes that cause secondary damage. Replacement of lost cells in the CNS is unlikely without intervention because adult nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord cannot divide. Nerve cells that survive the injury often must regrow axons, despite tissue changes such as cavity formation that obstruct growth. Axons also must navigate among the myriad possibilities to find appropriate targets.