Updated: November 15, 2023
What is a Bowel Program?
A bowel program is when you work to regulate your bowel evacuations. If you have had a spinal cord injury it can be necessary to start a bowel program as soon as you are released from the hospital after your injury. Spinal injury is not the only reason that you may need a bowel program. Your doctor should direct your bowel program and whether or not it is needed for you. It isn't something to try and experiment with, you will want to follow your personal physician's advice and direction. Your caregiver will be a great help and depending on your level of injury will continue to help you with your bowel program or they will be able to help you learn to accomplish your bowel care alone.
There are many great resources online for bowel care programs, such as this video from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation:
You can also read articles on bowel programs that are informative and can help explain in detail what a bowel program is and how to start one. These types of resources can be helpful to pass onto family members and loved ones to help them understand your new normal. Many articles mention Magic Bullet suppositories and I would like to expand on how they can be used as a part of your daily bowel care routine.
How to Use a Magic Bullet SuppositoryMagic Bullet bisacodyl suppositories work quickly, be prepared for evacuation to begin. If you are able to sit upright on the toilet that is recommended. However, you can also sit on a commode chair or a raised toilet seat with arm rests. If you are unable to sit upright, you can also lay down on your left side with your knee drawn gently up. If you are laying down, it will be beneficial to use disposable underpads for evacuation.
- Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water prior to starting your bowel program
- When you are ready to begin, put on a pair of new medical gloves
- Hygienic insertion of the suppository will help combat bacterial infections
- Remove the suppository from the white wrapper
- To ease insertion, use a water based lubricating jelly such as Surgilube. Never use a petroleum based lubricant because it will interfere with the suppository's effectiveness by forming a barrier between the bowel and the suppository
- Insert the rounded end of the suppository into the rectum, aiming toward the belly button
- If mobility or reach is an issue, hand-held suppository inserters can greatly help
- Remove gloves
- Wash hands with soap and water
What are the Magic Bullet Suppository Ingredients?
Water-Soluble vs Vegetable Oil as a Base for SuppositoriesBisacodyl is a common active ingredient in suppositories. So why are Magic Bullets different? What makes them different from any other bisacodyl suppository? The difference is not in the active ingredient at all. The difference comes from the inactive ingredient. Specifically the base that carries the bisacodyl in Magic Bullets is what makes the biggest difference. Magic Bullets uses a water-soluble base as a carrier called, Polyethylene Glycol. This matters because other suppositories use a vegetable oil base which take longer to work because that vegetable oil has to be melted by the body's heat before the bowel can react to the bisacodyl. Magic Bullets are water-soluble and they are activated by the body's moisture so they begin working much faster. This means a shorter bowel program for many people who switch to Magic Bullets when compared to other suppositories. One downside to making a suppository water-soluble is that it does shorten the shelf life. You will want to keep that in mind when ordering from a medical supply store, only order the amount you can use. Many online suppliers understand the shelf life of Magic Bullets so they offer them in a package of 10 suppositories, you can however order a box of 100 as well. If you are concerned by the shelf life you can simply order them in smaller amounts to avoid wasting any of them when they expire. I have heard some people say they store their Magic Bullets in the freezer because they believe it will increase the shelf life. This is false. Freezing Magic Bullets can actually render them useless. Magic Bullets are sensitive to heat but unless your home is above 86 degrees it should not be a problem. If they do feel soft when you take them out of the package you can briefly put them in the refrigerator so they firm up. They just need to be stored in a dry cool place at room temperature and should never be frozen.
Magic Bullet Suppository Side Effects:The Magic Bullet and other bisacodyl suppositories can cause cramping, nausea, vomiting, sweating and rectal bleeding. However, most individuals don’t experience any of these side effects. If you do experience these side effects, please consult with your personal physician. It is important that you keep your doctor and your caregiver up to date on how your bowel program is working for you. If you are having problems, you will need to tell them so they can help you. Many people ask if Magic Bullets are addictive and the answer is yes, like any laxative your bowels can become dependent on them and will then require a laxative in order to have a bowel evacuation. This is why you should not start a bowel program without consulting your doctor.
What is the difference between The Magic Bullet, Dulcolax, and other Bisacodyl suppositories?
Dulcolax and the other Bisacodyl suppositories have the same active ingredient (10mg Bisacodyl) as The Magic Bullet. The base, or carrier of the active ingredient in the suppository is what makes the difference. The Magic Bullet uses a Polyethylene Glycol base which is water-soluble. This base allows the Bisacodyl to be activated by the body’s own moisture shortly after insertion. The Dulcolax and other Bisacodyl suppositories use a vegetable oil base. This type of base takes longer to work because it needs time to be melted by the body's heat.
How many Magic Bullets should I use at one time?
One suppository should suffice for most people. If your system is very sensitive, you might feel more comfortable with a half or a third of a suppository. Use half or a third of a suppository for children aged 6-12 years old. For children under 6, please consult your physician. Using more than one Magic Bullet at a time is never recommended.
I realize that many people find it uncomfortable to discuss their bowel program. However, there is nothing to be embarrassed about and there is certainty no reason to be ashamed. Every single person needs to evacuate their bowels. It is a fact of existence. Prior to your injury or illness you may not have had any problems with your bowels. You are not less than you were before, it is simply another fact of your current life and it is your new normal. Over time with patience and care you will develop a routine that works for you and doesn't overly interfere with your day to day life. If your current bowel care program isn't working for you, please, call your physician. Talk to them, talk to your caregiver. Don't settle for what isn't working but continue to seek after what does so your new normal can be as good as possible.