Unveiling the Challenges of Spinal Cord Injury

A Closer Look at Neurogenic Bladder, Neurogenic Bowel, and Skin Ulcers

Here at Ubee Nutrition, we are excited that September is not just the beginning of fall; it’s also Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Awareness Month. During this time, we come together to shed light on the challenges faced by SCI individuals and raise awareness about their needs, struggles, and accomplishments. In this blog, we’ll delve into three critical issues that most SCI members face: neurogenic bladder, neurogenic bowel, and skin ulcers.

1. Neurogenic Bladder

One of the most prevalent complications arising from spinal cord injuries is neurogenic bladder dysfunction. When the spinal cord is injured, it disrupts the communication between the brain and the bladder, leading to various bladder-related issues. Here are some common problems SCI individuals encounter:

a. Incontinence: SCI patients may struggle with urinary incontinence, making it difficult to control when and where they urinate.

b. Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs): The inability to empty the bladder fully can lead to frequent UTIs, which are not only painful but also potentially life-threatening if left untreated.

c. Bladder Management: SCI individuals often rely on catheters for bladder management, which requires careful hygiene and regular maintenance.

To address these challenges, individuals with SCI may need to work closely with healthcare professionals to develop personalized bladder management strategies. These strategies may include intermittent catheterization, medications, or even surgical interventions to improve bladder function and overall quality of life.  Also, the right supplement can help maintain a healthy bladder.  Check out the Bladder Support on the Ubee Nutrition website.

2. Neurogenic Bowel

Like the bladder, the gastrointestinal system can also be severely affected by a spinal cord injury. Neurogenic bowel dysfunction can lead to a range of issues, including:

a. Constipation: SCI patients often suffer from chronic constipation due to impaired bowel motility.

b. Bowel Incontinence: On the other hand, they can also experience involuntary bowel movements.

c. Fecal Impaction: The accumulation of stool in the rectum can lead to fecal impaction, causing discomfort and pain.

Managing neurogenic bowel issues typically involves dietary modifications, medications, and regular bowel care routines. Bowel programs, which may include the use of stool softeners, laxatives, and digital stimulation, are crucial for maintaining bowel health and preventing complications.  However, if you suffer from heartburn and indigestion, Ubee’s Oh MY Gut should help soothe the problem.

3. Skin Ulcers

Pressure ulcers, commonly referred to as bedsores, are a significant concern for individuals with SCI. These painful and potentially life-threatening sores develop when pressure is applied to the skin for extended periods, leading to tissue damage. Here are some key factors contributing to skin ulcers in SCI individuals:

a. Immobility: The limited ability to change positions or move around increases the risk of pressure ulcers, particularly in areas with bony prominences like the buttocks, heels, and hips.

b. Sensory Loss: Many SCI patients experience reduced or lost sensation in affected areas, making it challenging to detect the early signs of pressure ulcers.

c. Moisture and Friction: Skin that is moist from sweat or incontinence, as well as friction from clothing or bedding, can exacerbate the development of ulcers.

Preventing skin ulcers is a top priority for SCI individuals. They often employ a combination of pressure-relieving techniques, regular skin inspections, and specialized support surfaces (such as pressure-relieving cushions or mattresses) to reduce the risk.

Spinal Cord Awareness Month

As we observe Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month, it’s essential to recognize the daily challenges faced by individuals living with SCI. Neurogenic bladder dysfunction, neurogenic bowel issues, and the risk of skin ulcers are just a few of the obstacles they bravely confront. By raising awareness, supporting research, and advocating for improved accessibility and healthcare services, we can contribute to a better quality of life for those affected by spinal cord injuries. Together, let’s work towards a more inclusive and supportive world for SCI individuals.