Major Constipation

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New Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 9/23/2009 10:20 AM (GMT -7)   
This has become very complex. First I should mention in "98" I had a colonoscopy and the Dr. said my large (decending colon) was twice as long as it should be.  On the report it says "I did not have enough-tubing/hose to reach"  This has always worried me as I have had IBS with constipation over the years.
As time passed I ended up with herniated discs and spinal compression that caused awful sciatica, numbness in legs and pelvic area. They put me on Methadone for pain.  I know this is a reason I could have major constipation, howver, it seemed to happen fast as my spine worsened.  I'm not sure it is the medication or the nerve damage??  I can drink water, take lactulose, and I still after a year have hard stools.  I have to use a glove and remove any stool from the anal vault.  Strange wording, but I also was a LPN for 30 years before my spine took me away from working as a nurse.   I have removed many impactions from elderly folks, but never thought I would be doing this for myself.
I recently had surgery to free my spinal cord--decompression and also a Laminectomy.  This is Lumbar 2,3, 4 and 5.  The surgery seems to have stopped all sciatica, but I do still have some numbness.  This might get better over time.  I dropped the Methadone from 70mg/day to 20mg.  I am eager to get rid of this medication.
My bowels have not changed at all so far.  This is rather gross to talk about, but I have no muscle (push) in the anal area.
Since I am still post-op (3 weeks) the Dr. thinks I should continue the Methadone for about 2 more weeks.  I am beginning to think the medication is not causing the constipation at all.  I have to say in a years time I have never--never, had a normal stool or even close.
I'm sorry this is such a long tale about constipation!!    I'm thinking wait until I am not taking any narcotic then go see a gastro Dr..  I'd like to know if others have this problem.
Geez, what an opening post.  I do apologize.  I really am a nice lady that is not obsessed with her bowels!!
I am 57, and pretty active until my back stopped me from walking well.  I am back learning to walk all over again.  I could walk slowly before surgery but my legs would go completly numb.  I'm back to pushing the limit and walking as much as I can.
I want so much to be active again.
Again, I'm sorry this story took so long. rolleyes Colobeth

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 319
   Posted 10/8/2009 7:49 AM (GMT -7)   
On these forums, it's acceptable to be "obsessed" with your bowels. In fact, our bowels KEEP us obsessed. Nothing is more life-altering than having a digestive system that doesn't work properly!

Do you take stool softeners? Is that what lactulose is? Certainly, with strong narcotics like methadone, a stool softener should help. Since you have to digitally evacuate yourself, it would seem that there is not enough fluid and water in your system to keep the stools soft enough to pass on their own. Having flaccid or ineffective rectal muscles would also contribute to this problem. Back troubles also impact the ability to have good bm's. All of your current issues could be affecting your ability to go.

Beyond that, if you've always had problems with C, your current medical issues may exacerbate the original problem. For me, as a C-sufferer for 30 years, the key is to keep things moving no matter what. When I run into serious trouble, I take magnesium citrate for a thorough clean out. Once I'm at a "baseline" of being empty, I try to keep to a good diet with lots and lots of water.
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