This is a part of the Hot Topic podcast series from the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center on Managing Bowel Function After Spinal Cord Injury. Marva L. Ways, SCI Survivor, discusses Analyzing Your Bowel Movements.

Marva Ways

Sustained a Spinal Cord Injury in 1976

Occasionally, you know, I’ll have a bowel movement and this may sound kind of weird but I always want to look at my stool. I want to look at it for the color, for the consistency, for the amount, you know? I like to eat, you know? Don’t always eat like I should, but I’ve learned how that affects my bowel program, so I do try to eat for the most part healthy.

But I’m just like everybody else. It’s so hard to deny yourself, you know, and then sometimes I’ll fool myself and say oh well, you know, you did such and such so you need to get that reward, you know? You’ll just have to – but when I do, when I’ve had a good movement sometimes I just have to sit and take a look at oh, that’s good. That’s real good. That’s what I’m talking about, you know?

Color is good, consistency is good and then it’s a good bit, you know, and I always look at what I’ve eaten, how much I’ve eaten and, you know, I’ve really go to talk to the doctor because I think, you know, if I – I don’t usually all the time eat more than three meals a day. Sometimes I only eat two. But if I’m doing my bowel training and I’ve only got, you know, a little small turd or a little small pile, I keep saying there’s more in there.

There’s more in there. You know, why don’t it come out? And then sometimes because I always check, I can feel that stool right there. It’s a good consistency but for some reason it wants to go back up. It don’t want to come out, you know? I’m saying come out, come out, so when I do have a good movement though I always say okay, go back and look, well what did you eat. Oh, okay. You had the blackberries, the blueberries, the strawberries, the banana in a smoothie, you know?

You ate mostly fruits and salad that day. You didn’t eat a whole lot of meat. I’ve noticed that beef and pork sort of bind me up but I love a good pork chop and love some good barbeque ribs but I can’t eat that all the time. So I do, you know, I go back and sometimes I just have to change my regime. I have to do what I need to do instead of doing what I want to do to maintain the good quality of life and to continue, you know, going out and doing what I want to do.

Visit and get the answers you need from experts who conduct innovative and high-quality research, provide patient care, and work to improve the health and overall quality of life for people with spinal cord injury. That’s