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Yukon Mike
New Member

Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 12/9/2010 3:33 AM (GMT -6)   
I've been reading some of the posts over the last few days and am amazed at what a wonderful community you have here. I'm no expert and all I have is my experience to share with my own chronic pain, but I'd like to introduce myself with the intention of hanging around here a bit.

I must say I feel like a total whimp when I try to explain to people why I'm having such a hard time with my pain, especially to folks like you that have way more complicated situations than mine. I suffer from good old fashioned mysterious lower back pain. I had an L5-S1 fusion in Calgary in 2008 to hopefully relieve the symptoms but was disappointed to discover that that wasn't the whole problem. After two years of follow up poking and prodding I still don't know what causes my pain. Maybe I'll never know. I'm currently off work on LTD sponsored by Sun LIfe. I'm doing physio at home every day, at a clinic twice a week, and swim or walk every day. I have two kids, 13 and 11, and a loving wife, who I want to keep up with.

Here's the question I was hoping someone might be able to help with - can a person die from laxatives? Honestly, I have the stomach of a Barbie and with all the pain meds I've tried I get severe tummy upset which has lead to my current regimen of Fentenol patches (50 micrograms) and Lyrica 150. I take one dose of Lax-a-day every morning, 30-40 ml of Lactulose and 5 mg Bisocodyl at bed time. I don't get much sleep due to the upset innerds and at this dose don't poop much at all anyways.

I tried Percocet, Hydromorphone, and MS Contin over the years and ended up in the same place with all- constipated to the gills and chugging down laxatives. I lost 20 lbs last winter eating nothing but peanut butter cookies! I started on the Fentenol stickers back in the summer I think and was pretty good BM wise up until the last few weeks. Now it seems as though my guts are offline. Is this just the way its going to be?

It is tough to feel intimate when you are swollen up with intestinal gas though eh?

Looking forward to getting to know some of you,

Yukon Mike (cuz I live there, shhhh)

Post Edited By Moderator (straydog) : 12/9/2010 11:30:10 AM (GMT-7)

Retired Mom
Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 1753
   Posted 12/9/2010 6:56 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello Mike and welcome to HW.

It's nice to have you here. One thing I feel I should point out before everyone reads your post is that this is a family site and young children read it. I am not a moderator or trying to take the place of a moderator, but you may want to look back over your initial post and edit a word or two. You can do this by clicking on the pencil.

With that being said, you seem as if you will certainly fit right in here. Many of us are prior fusion patients, most have not done so well with the fusions, but a few have. Mine did not fuse and the "bone" the inserted grew sideways and now looks like a bulging disc on an MRI. It took a spine specialist to find the problem because nobody else could read the darn thing and said it was fine. There is NO fusion at all, just bone, space, bone, space and four screws and two rods. It was L5-S1, like you and I DO understand wanting to be with your family and keep up. We've had to modify our lifestyle to keep our family a positive unit because it was just impossible for me to keep up.

As far as the laxatives, you can check for threads on that one by doing a search on HW. It's been discussed here several times. If you are taking this everyday though, you may want to get with a good GI doctor to make the changes necessary to get back on a reasonable schedule. It's horrible when you feel bloated and out of sorts with your body on top of pain.

You mentioned intestinal gas and I don't recall that as a point of discussion here, but I personally know several people with L5-S1 issues who have that problem....especially after surgery. It is something my best friend and I discuss all the time between ourselves because she is CP with back problems as I am. It just seems that we (and the others I know personally who have had the surgery) cannot hold the gas the way "normal" people can. We've both talked to the GI and our PCP's and neither can get answers. It is actually quite a problem and does affect that closeness you were discussing.

None the less, I wanted to welcome you aboard and to assure you that others will be along soon to say hello. This is a great group of people with wonderful insight to many problems. We are supportive of each other and can understand when a member needs us. That's when we rally.

All my best!
Retired Mom

Screaming Eagle
Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 5005
   Posted 12/9/2010 8:56 AM (GMT -6)   
    Hello Mike!
         Welcome to the CP forum!
       retiredmom pretty much summed everything up that I would suggest! (good job mom!) wink
          The only thing I will add to it, is my own remendy for the constipation issue. Prunes work very well for me, and are all natural. Give them a try and see if it helps you.
       I also had a double lumbar fusion back in March, and like retiredmom said, I'm one of them, that has partial success at best.
           Every morning I wake up in misery, and have to wait 30min for my med to work. By the end of my work day, I feel awful, and hit the bed as soon as I get home. Life is no fun with CP is it? sad
        I wish you well, and again welcome to the forum.
          SE wink

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9664
   Posted 12/9/2010 10:24 AM (GMT -6)   
Like retired mom state please get into a GI Doctor, laxatives over time are not good to be taking,
they can add to your problems, it's best to try to follow a diet that has foods such as prunes, raisins,
pineapples, apples , ect.. that aid in helping you have a movement. and the GI doctor can then
get you on a medicine for the gas, gas can lead to acid reflux and that's more gut pains.
Hope you can get seen by a gi doc soon...healing hugz and keep us posted on how you doing.
((((((((((((((((((((((((((((Yukon Mike))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
healing hugz and well wishes...
* Asthma, Allergies, Osteoarthritis, Spinal Stenosis, Degenative Disc (Lower Lumbar S1-L3 and Cervical C5,C6, C8 and T1), Fibromyalgia, Gerd,
Enlarged Pituitary Gland, Sjogren's, Ocular Migraines, mild carpel tunnel, ect.... "Would be nice if we could use the edit button in real life"...


Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 914
   Posted 12/9/2010 11:01 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey Mike , Welcome to the Forum !! Don't feel like a wimp my friend , everyone's pain is meaningful to them and difficult to deal with . I don't beleive a person can die from laxitives but I beleive it can damage your body . I've heard stories of folks with eating disorders who overused laxitives and it was detremental too them , but seeing a doctor is by far your best bet for answers . I was on a lot of pain meds but took Senna with it and it helped a lot , but again the doctor will know best . Once again welcome !!! Mikel
HIV+. meds - epzicom, Kaletra . oxycontin as needed , indothemiacin . hip replacement surgery done !!! Saw the surgeon and I'm really healing great ! Been in physical therapy for almost 2 months now and I can walk pretty well , only going up and down stairs is still a little tough so one step at a time , but that's because of my knee not my hip , but I can walk again , no cane , just me !!

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16787
   Posted 12/9/2010 1:28 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Yukon Mike and welcome to Healing Well's chronic pain forum. I am sorry that you have to be here but very glad that you found the forum. Everyone that comes to this forum has their own story to tell as to what brought them here. By no means should you ever discredit your pain for anyone elses either. It is a very individual problem you know. I am so sorry that you underwent a surgery hoping to correct the problem and that didn't happen. Please don't give up on finding out what the cause of your pain is, keep looking for answers.

Unfortunately, constipation can be a terrible side effect from taking pain medicines like we do. Fentanyl will certainly fall in this category for sure. Most likely, yes as long as you are on pain medication this will be a problem for you. It is very, very common. I do not know if you can die from laxatives, however, I do know that you can become dependent on them to the point of not being able to have a BM without one and you really need to be seen by your dr ASAP for this. I think it was SE that said prunes will do the trick and it does but you have to be careful and not eat too many or you will have another problem going on. You can get dried prunes and they are quite good to pop 3-4 in your mouth daily. Seriously, do visit with your PCP about this because you could have a really bad potential problem going on. That is a lot of stuff to take in order to get things moving. Keep in mind some of the laxatives have a high salt content in them which is bad for the kidneys too. I am wondering about the Bisocodyl you take at night, I am not familiar with it.

RetiredMom is right, as we do have forum rules here at the forum and one of them is about what we write here at the forum. We ask that all new members read the rules and become familiar with them. We do not expect a person to remember them all at once either. The best rule of thumb is if you have young children yourself and don't want your children reading it, then it probably should not be posted here. With this being a public forum we have no idea the ages of people reading these posts.

Anyway, I wanted to pop on and tell you welcome aboard. Take care and keep us posted on how you are doing.
Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

Screaming Eagle
Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 5005
   Posted 12/9/2010 1:57 PM (GMT -6)   
      I always have to give credit where it is due, and that while Prunes are a remendy for me, it was one of our veteren members who first suggested it to me (PaLAdy) And of course listen to Straydogs advice and be careful to make the adjustments needed for your daily intake.....or you will have the oppisite problem! grrrr! grrrr! Its no fun either!
     SE wink

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 1176
   Posted 12/9/2010 3:21 PM (GMT -6)   
Dear Yukon Mike,

Welcome! I glad you found this forum!

I will defer to the previous posters on their recommendations for the relief of your current severe "C", because I've always had the opposite problem (the big "D") due to celiac disease, and it didn't get better until I stopped eating gluten (in wheat, barley, and rye).

I do hope you hang around here and get to know everyone! Please feel free to post questions and comments, this is a really nice forum! smilewinkgrin

Lyme Disease, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, Bartonella, AIH, Hashimoto's, lupus, fibro, RA, celiac, asthma, psoriasis, adrenal fatigue, pre-diabetic, Raynaud's, hypertension, osteopenia, sleep apnea, RLS, GERD, DDD, severe lower back pain, cubital tunnel, tarsal tunnel, Suprax, Malarone, Alinia, Zithromax, Prednisone, Imuran, Plaquenil, Lyrica, Cymbalta, Levothyroxine, Liothyronine, Atenolol, Cozaar, Zyrtec, Fosamax, Albuterol, Prilosec

Yukon Mike
New Member

Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 12/9/2010 8:59 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for the kind words and encouragement folks, I appreciate it. And thanks to the moderator for editing my post, I never intended to offend anyone and it was inappropriate for a G rated site.

I'm doing what I can with the resources we have up here. I have an eager but inexperienced General Physician who is doing what he can, and I get advice from another doctor who takes care of our palliative care cases. She helps me the most with managing pain meds and the laxatives. I have been fortunate to have gotten to see more than my share of specialists down south, just no answers yet.

I'll do a search on the site for experience with opiods and laxatives, and see what has already been written on it, but in the mean time I want to thank you for your encouragement and fellowship.

I tried to start a CP support group here in Whitehorse last winter, and got one contestant, but she's gotten better (thank Goodness!). I know there are people suffering in my community, we're just not connected to each other yet. It helps me to know there are others out there struggling with CP and hopefully overcoming some of the daily challenges. I'm embarrassed to admit that things get to me more than I would like. My wimp-itis flares up fairly often it seems. I really hate the way the CP and side effects of the meds prevents me from doing much with my family. I used to be a really active guy, Outdoor Ed teacher, coaching, hunting and fishing with my son and a bit of guiding and packing for other people in the summer, and even though it has been several years (2006 actually) since I was able to do stuff like that I just can't seem to accept it and be happy with the level of mobility I do have. I am able to walk without a cane most days and can drive myself around to do errands and stuff, and I can do pushups like crazy, but I still desperately want to ride a bike again, and go cross country skiing, and play. My wife loves to travel, but that is becoming more of a problem for me as time goes on. I don't want to keep her from enjoying life, but I hate being left behind all the time. It takes a lot of energy to fake being happy. I need to be more positive.

Thanks again guys,


Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 215
   Posted 12/9/2010 10:02 PM (GMT -6)   

As far as laxs go, the natural way is best. Magnesium Citrate basically floods yours body with an electrolyte that you already need, only it gives you about 10 times the amount you need daily. These are safe to use occasionally, but high levels of magnesium taken over an extended period of time can cause damage the the digestive track and have the potential to cause colon bleeding. If you need some relief, this is IMHO a better option than medication laxatives and should be a little less dramatic than senna. Also higher levels of magnesium (as 20 percent is absorbed and maintained in the body) can help prevent constipation the day after, so theres benefit there too.

However, I really feel you should make an appoint with a gastrologist within the next few weeks and agree with straydog 100 percent on this one. In the meantime, buy some double fiber bread (there are some brands that contain 6 grams PER PEIECE, like Arnold) and consume over a few days. You will see a difference. :)
MRI revealed disc bulge and test injections revealed RA. Radio Freq procedures have decreased the severity of pain by about 1/3rd. Was on Nucynta (tapentadol 50mgs) for several months, but due to a decrease in pain, I now used Tylenol #3 with Codeine and .5 mg Klonopin. Go ahead and laugh but the Codeine works well ;)

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16787
   Posted 12/10/2010 1:46 PM (GMT -6)   
Yukon one of the hardest things to accept with CP is how it can force us to rebuild our lives all over again and function within our limitations. For people that have always been very active it is a bitter pill to swallow but it can happen. I think for most of us it is learning to let go of the old you and accepting the new you, does that make sense? Once you can do that, then you can move forward. You basically have to forget about what you use to be able to do otherwise it clouds over what you need to focus on now. People that have lumbar fusions are always limited to some extent and your drs should have told you this up front.

You seem to beat yourself up somewhat because you have CP. Its not your fault and you sure did not ask for it. Lighten up on yourself, things happen all the time that we cannot control, but don't blame yourself. There are many things I would like to do again but I know it is not going to happen so I try to improve what I am capable of doing. I cannot stand up straight, I am bent over and I despise it, I try so hard to stand straight and I can for a couple of minutes as long as I am holding onto something, lol. I do have to walk with a cane and thats ok, thats better than not being able to walk at all.

Thats a shame you could not get a support group together but you know a lot of people don't want to talk about their pain and some cannot accept they have CP, But you know people with CP are some of the strongest people in the world, not just anyone can walk around in our shoes 24/7 and be able to handle it. It takes a very strong person to be able to live as we do, it is not for the weak knee people that is for sure.

Truly consider going and buying yourself a box of dried prunes-pop no more than 4 total in your mouth and give it a try. That is one of the best natural ways to help with the big and much healthier for you over all. Like I said you can become dependent on a laxative as the only way to have a BM and that is a big problem you don't want to get. Stool softners help some people as well, some use Miralax as a softner with good results.

Take care and keep posting.
Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 594
   Posted 12/10/2010 6:15 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello and welcome to the forum! I see you have already received quite a lot of advice from some of our wonderful members here! I had the same problem but I take miralax every day and do not have any problems now! Well I take the generic brand of it! At first, I thought it was not going to work because I did not get the instant action, like laxitives... but I stuck with it and after 3 days, I became vary regular! I would try prunes or that.....but see a doctor if the problem continues!

Take care of you and look forward to getting to know you!
Rheumatoid Arthritis, Spinal Stenosis L3/L4, L4/L5 & L5/S1 with Nerve Impingement, Fibromyalgia, TMJ, GERD, Severe Depression, VERY Large Cyst Right Ovary causing mild twisting, Small Cysts Left Ovary & 3 Large Cysts Uterus

Medications - MS-Contin, Plaquenil, Cymbalta, Famotidine and currently Prednisone
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