372 Problems of the Urine System
lie on your left side.
Many women (and men) do not have normal control over
when they pass stool or urine (especially persons who are near
death, or who have a spinal cord injury, or a disability that affects
the muscles of the lower body). This can be inconvenient and
embarrassing. It can also cause skin problems and dangerous
infections, so it is important to stay clean, dry, and healthy.
This information will help those persons who have hard
stools (constipation) or who have difficulty passing stool.You
can learn to help the stool come out when it is easiest for you.
The bowels work best when you are sitting rather than lying, so
try to remove the stool when you are sitting on a toilet or pot.
If you cannot sit, try to do it lying on your left side.
How to remove stool:
1. Cover your hand with a plastic
or rubber glove, or a plastic bag.
Put oil on your pointing (index)
finger (vegetable or mineral oil
both work well).
To keep your finger clean,
use a thin rubber glove, or
’fingercot’ , or a plastic bag.
2. Put your oiled finger into the anus about
2 cm (1 inch). Gently move the finger in
circles for about 1 minute, until the muscle
relaxes and the stool pushes out.
3. If the stool does not come out by itself,
remove as much as you can with your finger.
4. Clean the anus and the skin around it well,
and wash your hands.
To prevent hard stools:
• drink lots of water every day. • eat foods that are high in fiber.
• keep a regular bowel program. • exercise or move your body every day.
Sometimes it is necessary to remove urine from the
bladder by using a rubber or plastic tube called a catheter.
Never use a catheter unless it is absolutely necessary. Even
careful use of a catheter can cause infection of the bladder
and kidneys. So it should be used only if someone has a:
• very full, painful bladder and cannot pass urine.
• fistula (see page 370).
• disability or injury, and cannot feel the muscles that control
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012