Obstruction or Spasms?

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sgirl
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 417
   Posted 8/22/2010 10:59 AM (GMT -7)   
I haven't quite figured this out yet and when ever I mention it to my dr he always brushes it over and I feel crazy.

What is the difference between the two in symptoms?

I get intense pain in my abdomen and it radiates up into my back. It's awful and nothing really really helps. My dr gave me a rx for robinul but that rarely works, I've done heat and that helps more than the robinul most times. Sometimes it's mild where I won't need anything, other times it's excruciating. The 'attacks' as I call them, can last anywhere from 1/2 hr to 1 1/2 hrs. I will usually set a specific time after they start and if I hit that and it's still unbearable we'll go to the ER (haven't yet thankfully)

Most of the time I feel like I need to have a bm, but half of the time nothing happens.

I guess I've just never had a real answer on to what these are. It's one of the things that bugs me the most with CD.
Diagnosed with UC in February 2009.
Diagnosed with Crohn's December 2009.
Flaring since October 2008 with occasional spikes in symptoms
Possible Rheumatoid Arthritis
Osteopenia

Medication: Imuran 75 mg, multivitamin, Vit B12 1 g, omeprazole. Sulfasalazine, Calcium w/vit D

Irishmom4
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 457
   Posted 8/22/2010 12:15 PM (GMT -7)   
When I have spasms I usually can self medicate at home and the pain will pass in a few hours. When I have a total obstruction the pain comes in waves like labor pains and I vomit non stop. The pain is so intense I have to go to the ER for moriphine and even that doesn't relieve all of the pain. They usually keep me 3 or 4 days until my plumbing is back to normal.

These things are nothing to mess with. If your pain is intense and lasts for awhile go to the ER.

Elizabeth
Dx'd with Crohns 1984
Polycystic kidney disease in 1996
Bowel Resection surgery 2006, Now on Asacol,  Imuran, Folic acid, and Enalapril.
 

sgirl
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 417
   Posted 8/22/2010 12:47 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm just so confused. When they hit it'll come in waves, it makes me nauseous, feels like I need to have a bm. Then once it's over with I can go days, weeks, sometimes even months without one coming again. I've tried self medicating, but the strongest thing I have pain wise is Lortab, but that doesn't do anything and sometimes makes it worse.

Maybe I just need to bite the bullet and go see a new GI and pay for it out of pocket since my insurance won't cover anything CD yet. :(
Diagnosed with UC in February 2009.
Diagnosed with Crohn's December 2009.
Flaring since October 2008 with occasional spikes in symptoms
Possible Rheumatoid Arthritis
Osteopenia

Medication: Imuran 75 mg, multivitamin, Vit B12 1 g, omeprazole. Sulfasalazine, Calcium w/vit D

tsitodawg
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 845
   Posted 8/22/2010 8:02 PM (GMT -7)   
Why won't they cover anything crohn's disease related? You have already been diagnosed?

pimfram
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 506
   Posted 8/22/2010 9:15 PM (GMT -7)   
If you have an obstruction, opiates will likely exacerbate is, as they slow down the digestive tract. Bowel rest is the only thing that ever worked for me.
Diagnosed with CD July 2007
Currently on Remicade, acidophilus, multivitamin.
Resection December 2009

Amor fati - Nietzsche

sgirl
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 417
   Posted 8/22/2010 9:23 PM (GMT -7)   
They won't cover until the pre-existing period is over (Oct 31st). I've been trying to hold out until then.
Diagnosed with UC in February 2009.
Diagnosed with Crohn's December 2009.
Flaring since October 2008 with occasional spikes in symptoms
Possible Rheumatoid Arthritis
Osteopenia

Medication: Imuran 75 mg, multivitamin, Vit B12 1 g, omeprazole. Sulfasalazine, Calcium w/vit D

Nanners
Elite Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 8/23/2010 7:47 AM (GMT -7)   
Well I personally would lean more towards spasms or possibly a gallbladder problem. As when I have had a obstruction pain its much like Irish describes. I get pains that comes in waves much like labor pains, the pain is right around the belly button, I get really really bloated, then the nausea starts then the vomiting. The pain has never gone away in 1/2 hour or 1 1/2 hours. Its been hours upon hours, and I finally have to hit the ER. I do think the next time this hits you go to ER or your doctor right away. Good luck!
Gail*Nanners* Co-Moderator for Crohns Disease 
Crohn's Disease for over 34 years. Currently on Asacol, Prilosec, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain, Zofran, Phenergan, Probiotics, Calcium, Vit D, and Xanax prn. Resections in 2002 & 2005. Also diagnosed w/ Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, & Anxiety. Currently my Crohns is in remission, but my joints are going crazy!
*Every tomorrow has two handles.  We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith"*

sgirl
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 417
   Posted 8/23/2010 11:18 AM (GMT -7)   
From everything I've been reading lately I think it does lean more towards spasms. I don't have a gallbladder anymore *phew* I think next time a bad one comes I will hit the ER to make sure it's not something really serious. I've lived with this for almost 2 years now.
Diagnosed with UC in February 2009.
Diagnosed with Crohn's December 2009.
Flaring since October 2008 with occasional spikes in symptoms
Possible Rheumatoid Arthritis
Osteopenia

Medication: Imuran 75 mg, multivitamin, Vit B12 1 g, omeprazole. Sulfasalazine, Calcium w/vit D

yohimbe
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 109
   Posted 8/25/2010 2:13 PM (GMT -7)   
Had a major bowel obstruction (non-strangulating kind, this one did not require surgery but spent 4 days in the hospital without eating). Have crohns for 40 years, had one-two day obstructions many times, including about 8 uncomfortable ones for 5 months prior to the "Big Event".
I have learnt to deal with this dangerous situation by managing the small problem before the big one comes...Symptoms are very sharp pain, staying through the night and having to sleep propped up because it is so painful to lie. Second warning: Vomiting which I never have with my "normal" Crohns pain. Third warning: nothing comes out the other end, input in but no output ! THESE THREE SYMPTOMS IS THE KEY TO MANAGING THE OBSTRUCTION while it is still forming.

So immediately I go into a broth diet (that warm liquid activates my intestine and begins to kick start it. Then sit in the tub with warm water for about 20 minutes to relax the entire abdomen, I also take about 4-6 donnatal pills throught the day. This diet will continue for 2-3 days and the last 50 times it worked, until the "Big Event". What happened was this: I had a mini obstruction about a week earlier and gradually resumed my diet, was at a brunch and made the big mistake of eating about an 8 ounce steak (which I chewed throroughly). I could literally feel it not going down. By evening the pain started, vomited (but not the steak, it made its way down). By the next day I was sick like I have never been before, ended up in the hospital and let it pass which it took four days.

In the hospital I was under a constant IV of Solu-Medrol, the big hammer of anti-inflammatories, it worked like a champ.
With obstructions you usually get intestinal infections so I was on Cipro and Flagil too.
Was put on Prednisone and Humira (which has not really helped after 3 months). The Prednisone was continued for another two months but that is going to be it since it has dangerous side effects.

Moral of the story: as you see these mini episodes increase you may be heading towards an obstruction IF YOU EAT SOMETHING BIG, assume this position: I only may have a quarter inch of passage in the intestine (I have at least 3 strictures), assume that this is waiting for you and WHACK there you get it, so always chew throroughly and never eat big items beyond 4 ounces, chicken and fish is OK with me. And chew, chew and chew some more.

So if you feel like the intestines are standing still, there is extreme pain above the belly, and you vomit, chances are that you are having an obstruction, don't freak out, most of mine have passed within a day (drink broth since it will not add to the blockage). Like I said before MOST BLOCKAGES PASS unless it goes over 24 hours. If the pain is very sharp that is no spasm.
If you do go to the hospital expect to be there 3-4 days, you will be on IVs eating nothing and they will do superficial Xrays to see if there is anything there. If the blockage doesn't go away and you are getting a fever, they may try pumping the upper (usually not done) or surgery as a last result.

Grandpato2
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2009
Total Posts : 681
   Posted 8/26/2010 7:11 PM (GMT -7)   
 Good info yohimbe. It is hard to recognise the problem building up. I weigh myself every night and count my bm's daily. If my weight suddenly increases 5-6 lbs in a day or consecutive days with 2-3 lbs per day then I know trouble is around the corner if I don't immediately go to a liquid diet. If my bowel movements slow or stop that is another strong indicator that a blockage is coming. I remember the early days out of remission where the cyclical spasms went on only for a few hours. Now my minimum time is 6 hours and my maximum has been over 40 hours a few times. That will take you down for at least 10 days total believe me. I totally agree with Nanners post as well. Rob

sgirl
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 417
   Posted 8/26/2010 10:57 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you all! Those are the best descriptions I've had on this! I had a mini attack this morning, but it didn't last more than 5 minutes. I think I'm going back to a liquid diet for a while to see if that helps me at all. If it doesn't I'll go in to the dr. :)
Diagnosed with UC in February 2009.
Diagnosed with Crohn's December 2009.
Flaring since October 2008 with occasional spikes in symptoms
Possible Rheumatoid Arthritis
Osteopenia

Medication: Imuran 75 mg, multivitamin, Vit B12 1 g, omeprazole. Sulfasalazine, Calcium w/vit D

tulipg17
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2010
Total Posts : 113
   Posted 8/27/2010 2:16 PM (GMT -7)   
For me, an obstruction starts off fairly mild. It is centered around my belly button area and comes in waves. Over a period of a few hours the pain gets more and more severe and I usually start vomiting and have a swollen belly. The pain always gets to a point where it is simply unbearable and I have to go to the ER. If I have any pain meds (usually tramidol) on hand they will help early on, but after several hours they are useless and iv pain meds are required at a hospital. Once there I can expect to spend at least 4 days on bowl rest with an NG tube and pain meds. So that sounds like a typical obstruction experience for most people, if your pain only lasts a few hours and goes away it is probably not an obstruction.
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