chronic constipation from meds

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Date Joined Jan 2007
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   Posted 12/26/2008 11:11 AM (GMT -7)   
I am on cymbalta and lyrica for my fibro...seems to help and I'm sleeping like a log..something that hasn't happened for 30 yrs..but there is always a downside from meds...I have chronic constipation from my cymbalta and lyrica..I drink lots of water, lots of fiber from whole grains, fruit, veggies...I still don't "go" but about once a week!!..does anybody have any suggestions?  I heard about a "flax seed muffin", anybody tried that?  Anybody else dealing with the same problem?  What do you do?  Thanks

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   Posted 12/26/2008 11:40 AM (GMT -7)   
Get with your doctor and discuss regulating your bowel habits. It may take the addition of Peri-colace or regular addition of prunes to your food plan to keep things moving. Walking everyday is also a help if you are up to it. For myself, I take malic acid and magnesium citrate for my fibro (we are low in magnesium and malic acid) and both of these have a laxative effect. This counteracts my SSRI and lack of exercise. Good luck with this.
~ Jeannie, Forum Moderator/Diabetes & Fibromyalgia
I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much. ~Mother Teresa

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Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 159
   Posted 12/26/2008 11:57 AM (GMT -7)   
It's a side effect and one that will probably eventualy lessen as your body adjust to the drug. Most anti-depressents are anti-cholergenic and have a effect on muscles, especialy smooth muscles. They can cause constipation by slowing down your motility, a sense of not breathing as well as you used to, fatigue and muscle weakness. Part of the trade off I guess.

I increase my intake of Greens Plus and Magnesium and liquids. Then it turns from constipation to going several times in the first couple of hours of the morning. Undoing the backlog I suppose. Allot of liquids and extra magnesium thru the day keeps it preaty regular on me. Its a delicate balance though on how much magnesium the individual can take.

If you just want to break it lose and clear everything because your at the point of hurting and desperate, and your not on a sodium restricted diet you can always put a teaspoon of salt in warm water and drink it. That will work for most people to cause a major flush. It takes two teaspoons on me. One teaspoon, followed by another about a half hour latter. It causes a upset stomach on the second teaspoon for a little while, This is not something I would try on a regular basis, but in a dire situation of pain and bloat, it works. You will think you did a deep enema so much clears.

Keep up the fiber and a whole lot of water, and adjust your magnesium intake to just short of diahrea and your bowels should eventualy get enough motility to overcome the drugs. Percocet did it to me for a long time, but it doesn't anymore. A major downside of Fibro is that many of the medications are anti-cholergenic.
Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, IBS, Diverticulitis, Costocondritis, Mild Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, Mild Hilar Lymphodenopathy, Depression, Anxiety. Near Constant Dyspnea. Disequilibrium, prolonged standing, walking, progresses late in day.

Klonopin, Percocet, Baclofen, Ibuprofen, Valerian, Greens Plus, Magnesium, Vitamin C, COQ 10, B Complex, Glucosomine, Condrotin, MSM.

getting by
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   Posted 12/26/2008 12:28 PM (GMT -7)   
There is also an herbal helper called "cascara sagrada" that helps a lot, but I would take it with the colace. It is more of a stimulant than anything.

Also eating bran flakes in the evening helps me, plus the walking and drinking water. I also take the malic acid with magnesium and that does help a lot. I know how sluggish that one can get with constipation. So being able to go helps us to have more energy.

Good luck

Hugs, karen
  Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia
fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression,allergies

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   Posted 12/26/2008 1:23 PM (GMT -7)   
Jean, many of us can identify with your painful problem. Just a few months ago I was in a really bad way. Because water can only get me so far, I began taking daily doses of a fiber supplement with water. If you choose this as part of your remedy, consider one that does not have a stimulant- I found that a stimulant caused intense pain and cramps without giving me relief. I use Citrucel, but your doc can advise you best. I agree that consulting your doc is extremely important if for no other reason than for it being a part of your record. I also take 4 stool softeners daily, I get the generic from any drug store. This combo didn't take long to see results. I tried the malic/mag but I found it caused too much intestinal cramping and no pain relief. I would like to know more about the salt/water remedy before I try that. I hope you begin feeling better very soon.
 "It's never too late to be who you might have been"  George Eliot
Dx FM- 2003
Rx Meds- Ultram, Buspar, Flexeril, Toprol, Cymbalta,
OTC meds- Benadryl, Claritin, Melatonin, Valerian, B Complex, Multi Vitamin

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Date Joined Jan 2005
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   Posted 12/26/2008 1:44 PM (GMT -7)   
Wow, there are so many of us who are in the same situation...probably more who are reading this for help than we can imagine. It's hard to post something like this but we do need to be open about this type of problem.

The reason many meds, like pain meds, iron suppliments and even some antidepressants, cause constipation is they slow down the central nervous system. Your bowel needs to be 'moving' and contracting. When it is slowed down or 'dulled' by meds things just sit and oh the misery!

Always tell your doctor even though you are using OTC remedies. I use generic OTC stimulants either. They cramp me up just awful! You can also use MiraLax. It's fairly new and works very well. It's powder form and once stirred into any drink you can't tell it's there. I found it really cheap at Costco but WalMart has it also. If you do need immediate relief you can get glycerin suppositories very cheap at the pharmacy...OTC It's colace also and will really help. Most of these stool softeners are water attractants so it helps undo things.

Here is a good link to the NIH and more information.

Hope my suggestions help too,
Co-Mod Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Forums
Fibromyalgia, Ulcerative Colitis, Insulin dependent diabetic, collapsed disk, dermatitis herpetiformus, osteo arthritis in spine and other locations.

The only difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has it's limits. Albert Einstein: (1879-1955)

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   Posted 12/26/2008 2:33 PM (GMT -7)   

whenever i take my pain meds, i also take 2 herbal laxatives/stool softeners at the same time (sennakot) and generally, that balances the constipation out. i also eat fruit that i know will tear through me- oranges, apricots etc

Maz XX

            'He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.' (Psalm 147:3)                  
Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, CFS, Fibromyalgia, TMJ disorder, Endometriosis, PCOD, Chronic E.N.T infections, Reactive Arthritis, GERD, Sinusitis, IBS,  Allergies, Glandular fever, Migraines, Anemia, Chemical/Noise/Light sensitivity, Trichotilomania, PTSD, Seasonal Mood  Disorder, OCD, Benign Vertigo,  Impaired immune system. Tachycardia, tinnitus, low clotting factor= bruising. Tendonitis, Bursitis.
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Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 159
   Posted 12/26/2008 3:41 PM (GMT -7)   
Yah, I should explain the salt thing as it seems preaty dramatic.

Both excess magnesium beyond the bodies ability to absorb it and saline act as a laxative in a very similar manner. You can even go to drug stores and buy laxative solutions that are nothing more then Magnesium Citrate and Saline. My father uses this mixture at 4 bucks a bottle, 2 bottles at a time, and frequently it doesn't get the job done unless I hand him 1000 milligrams of Magnesium to take with it.

Taking a big dose of salt has the same effect on the intestines as taking a big dose of magnesium, except you don't have to wait very long, since it is in disolved liquid suspension.

It is used as a salt water flush in Natural Medicine to clean the intestines out. It is usualy done on a no more then once a week basis. You can Google Salt Water Flush if there is any concern about the safety of doing it. Googleing Gallbladder flush is another way to see it, since either the salt flush, or a Epson Salt Flush is used in the morning to get all of the debris out.

This is safe in my opinion, but its still a opinion. I have read hundreds of post by people doing either the Salt Water Flush to periodicaly clean their colons, or as a after flush on the Gallbladder cleanse, and not a single post of this hurting anyone. All it really is, is a very fast acting and dramatic laxative, purported to also have a cleansing effect. The only possible concern I would have on it at all is for people with intestinal disease.

The symptoms you can expect off is a short term stomach upset once you get enough salt in there, some minor intestinal cramping while everything is breaking loose and then several trips to the bathroom over about half an hour and your done. No more symptoms.

Edit: I had to add in one more thing. I still list IBS on disorders. I used to go to the Doctor with all kinds of intestinal pains and cramping and he would push around and hit sore spots everywhere. Every once in awhile it tries to come back on me, but I got rid of most 2 years ago by doing 3 things. First, I tried loading up on allot of Fiber for months, and it got a little better. Then I took Probiotics in massive doses, like a bottle a day for weeks. That helped. Then I started doing the salt flushes when the Fiber would get hung up and not move for a couple of days and cause allot of pain and bloat. Most of the IBS symptoms are now gone as long as I stay on top of it.

But I have to repeat. This is a dramatic purgeing of your intestines. I personaly only do it when the pain and bloat of the constipation makes me desperate enough to put up with the mild stomach upset and short term cramps to be rid of it.
Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, IBS, Diverticulitis, Costocondritis, Mild Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, Mild Hilar Lymphodenopathy, Depression, Anxiety. Near Constant Dyspnea. Disequilibrium, prolonged standing, walking, progresses late in day.

Klonopin, Percocet, Baclofen, Ibuprofen, Valerian, Greens Plus, Magnesium, Vitamin C, COQ 10, B Complex, Glucosomine, Condrotin, MSM.

Post Edited (Grailhunter) : 12/26/2008 3:59:48 PM (GMT-7)

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Date Joined Jun 2008
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   Posted 12/26/2008 5:01 PM (GMT -7)   
I had double knee surgery the year before I found out that I had Fibro.  Immediately after my surgery I quit going on my own.  I have tried different things and so far nothing has helped very much.  I had a colonoscopy and they still didin't find out what was causing my problem.
Finally my dr. told me to take an otc vegetable laxative, and I ask him if I wouldn't get used to it and it might not work neither.  He said the way they were made these days, it wouldn't hurt me to take it the rest of my life, so I take a vegetable laxative every night before I go to bed.  I also take Cymbalta and Lyrica, so this must be what's causing it now.
God Bless!
Of all the things that I have lost, I miss my mind the most!!!!

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 368
   Posted 12/26/2008 10:31 PM (GMT -7)   

Im on a narcotic and constipation is chronic no matter what I take .  Try nulax, it is senna based in conjucntion with sorbilax which is

that my pain specialist put me on,.  My life revolves around pain and worry about going to the toilet. smilewinkgrin smilewinkgrin









Fibromyalgia, ulcerative colonitus, arthritus, bi-polar
norspan patch, valium, prothiedon, lyrica

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 50
   Posted 12/29/2008 6:21 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for all of your suggestions.  I will have to reread them and sort out what I think might work..I do know that I won't be trying the salt thing..high blood pressure and a heart attack 3 yrs ago..don't think my cardiologist would like that!!  I have been on lyrica and cymbalta for over 6 months so I guess I've my body time to just isn't more ways than 1!!  Everything I eat is high fiber, extra fiber, whole grain, fruit and veggies..I have been trying a dose of metamucil, 3 stool softeners and something I found on the internet..Fruiteze..a combo of prunes, dates, and raisens..not working... I made the flax muffin this a.m...we'll see what happens there..I used to eat ground flax seed in my oatmeal, but had not been doing so lately..will try to eat more of concern is that is a lot of flax..any dangers there?  Anyway, I will do my research and see what happens..thanks again.

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   Posted 12/29/2008 7:53 PM (GMT -7)   

I went through the same thing for approx. 2 months. I finally talked with my doctor and she told me to try Metamucil tablets. I take 2 each morning with my other meds and it works like magic. Some people may have to take more or less.

There are also other generic drugs like Metamucil that work just as well. Hope you find something that works for you soon!

Hugs!!!    Margie

Never regret something that made you smile!

Fibromyalgia*Osteoarthritis*Sleep Apnea*Restless Leg Syndrome * Depression*Fatigue*Allergy/Sinus*Menopause

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 159
   Posted 12/29/2008 8:01 PM (GMT -7)   
Yah, I don't think that would be such a good idea either. Two teaspoons of salt will up your blood pressure about 10 points for a good half hour or more. I used to use it bring my low blood pressure up at the end of the day.

Funny thing about salt and electrolytes in general though. I was in a locker room after working out and got to talking to a Cardiologist that worked out there every day at the same time as me. We got to talking about how much water a person should drink a day. He told me about half the people that got refered to him for chest pains and a messed up EKG were water fanatics. They would drink like a gallon or more a day and flush the eletrolytes out of their bodies and not replace them to the point they would start getting heart spasms.

The body preaty much knows what it needs. Salt is big one. If your body needs salt, you will crave salty food or want to heavily salt your food. Chocolate is very high in magnesium and if you crave chocolate, its probably actualy going after magnesium. I like the taste of chocolate. How many don't really. But I never crave it since I started taking magnesium supplements.
Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, IBS, Diverticulitis, Costocondritis, Thorasic Degeneration, Mild Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, Mild Hilar Lymphodenopathy, Depression, Anxiety. Dyspnea. Disequilibrium.

Klonopin, Percocet, Baclofen, Ibuprofen, Valerian, Greens Plus, Magnesium, Vitamin C, COQ 10, B Complex, Niacinamide, Glucosomine, Condrotin, MSM, L-Carnitine, D-Ribose.

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