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When you have Spina Bifida it’s pretty common to have limited bowel control and sometimes because of that limited control you are unable to go to the bathroom. You can religiously do your bathroom routine as planned exactly how your doctor tells you to do it and it usually will work if you do but sometimes for whatever reason no matter what we try nothing is working. Last night for me was one of those nights and it took two to three hours to have a bowel movement which usually would have taken me an hour and didn’t matter what I used nothing was working in the way it should. Eventually, it did work it was just really slow and I blame that for being on my period but during that moment I was going crazy and would have done anything to make the pain stop! Many people with Spina Bifida have experienced a problem like this at one time or another due to limited control so I thought I would talk about what I do when this happens to get relief because during times like this you will do anything to make it stop.
Do some assisted squats or get in the shower- Whenever I have been trying to go to the bathroom for an hour or two and nothing has come out even if I put in more liquid then normal that may be a sign something is blocked. Obviously I can’t do actually squats or I would fall on my butt but sometimes if I am struggling I hold on to a countertop and do some assisted squats instead that has helped get things moving. I know doing assisted squats while trying to have a bowel movement might sound strange to you but sometimes in order to get relief you have to create movement and I do that by standing up and doing squats which almost always works. Some disabled people can’t stand so they may not be able to do this and if that is the case and nothing has happened after an hour or two try cleaning everything up and getting in the shower because sometimes just that little bit of movement is enough to get relief. Last night I was able to get relief by standing and doing squats but sometimes I don’t do that and just start to clean everything up and get into the shower and sometimes even just that little bit of movement will be enough.
Take a hot bath- Hot water relaxes your muscles and can create a bowel movement if you are struggling but if not anything else it can lessen the pain if you’re in total agony! Whenever I put water in my feeding bags for my ACE I never use cold water for this reason because cold water won’t work!
Change it up– If you have a more involved bowel routine and have been using the same products to help you create a bowel movement that worked for several months but then all of a sudden they stopped working it’s a sign your body may have gotten used to it. I usually use Miralax to help me go to the bathroom but sometimes if I am having more difficulty going to the bathroom I will add either salt or baby soap so it’s something different that my body is not used to. Sometimes if I am having serious difficulty none of these products will work but it can never hurt to try something new because you never know if these new things will give better results. They may not be any better than what you were doing before but you won’t know that until you try.
Don’t forget to pee- If you have a more involved bowel routine it is always a good idea to empty your bladder before doing it so you don’t put any extra pressure on your colon that could make it more difficult to go to the bathroom.
Eat something triggering– Sometimes if I am in total agony and want relief fast I will go eat something with a lot of carbs like bread that I know will be triggering for me and that will do the trick in helping me go to the bathroom. I usually wouldn’t recommend eating your triggers but if you are trying to have a bowel movement and are struggling that might be all you need to make it happen and put you out of your misery. Never underestimate the power of eating a piece of bread because it can be more powerful than you would have ever imagined it would be.
Wait 24 hours- I have to be careful with how much water I use in my feeding bags because my body does have a limit and if I overload my system trying to get my bowel program to work I will vomit and yes this has happened twice! Sometimes I do what I know I can and even change some ingredients but things nothing is working and the solution to the problem is not to keep adding more! It’s quite the opposite and when you are having so much difficulty and you have done more than you normally would and nothing has happened you want to wait out for a while but sometimes the only option you have is to give it up and try again the next day and hope for different results. If have been doing your bowel program regularly usually the problem will resolve itself and you may only have a problem if you have been slacking so that is why it’s important to listen to your doctor to avoid any serious medical problems because doctors say these things for a reason not just to hear themselves talk.
There is nothing worse than being unable to go to the bathroom and most people don’t even know what the feels like but when you have limited mobility you learn to find ways to cope with it and find relief. There is nothing you can do that will guarantee it will never happen and all you can do is follow your doctor’s instructions by doing your bathroom routine regularly and moving your body which will help it from happening less often. I used to have a problem like this monthly until I changed my fitness routine and stopped overtraining my body and it made the biggest difference. Movement is huge in preventing constipation so if you find something where you can be active and move as best as you can. Another thing ladies the extra pressure from being on your period can also affect your ability to go to the bathroom so don’t be alarmed if you have more difficulty during that time of the month because it’s totally normal and usually will resolve itself when your period ends. What I do to adapt is I try and not do my bowel regime on days one and two of my period because that is when it’s the heaviest and less likely for my bowel regime to work but not always will it work out that way. It’s out of your control of when you get your period but if you keep track of when you had it last it will give you some idea of when to expect it next so your more prepared. Do you ever have difficulty going to the bathroom? What has been most effective for you in getting relief?
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