Help! Had colectomy last May and I'm constipated again.

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runningrd
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 76
   Posted 10/22/2010 8:03 PM (GMT -6)   
I had colectomy back in May of this year.  They left about 6 inches of my colon.  Initially had done laprascopic but developed a bowel obstruction and 2 weeks later had open procedure to correct that.  Was in the hospital for 3 days short of a month.  First few months went ok, never had diarrhea.  I do not have chrons or colitis.  Now it seems my system is shutting down again.  Don't know why?  How can I be constipated w/ only 6 inches of colon left?  I don't do well on any kind of laxative, they all make me miserable.  Now I'm wishing they would have taken all of it.  Any advice from similar situations?

2b ColonFree
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 2603
   Posted 10/23/2010 12:13 PM (GMT -6)   
hi, sorry to hear you're experiencing problems again. i had the same thing going on. had my colectomy for slow transit constipation on Aug 2009 and within few mons was constipated again. go to your dr and asd for a defecography to make sure your defecating ability is ok, also ask for a scope to check the anastomosis site to make sure there's no narrowing there. it will also be good to check the small intestine (motility, narrowing - adhesions).

i did the defecography and the scope and they both came normal, so not knowing what's causing me constipation again and blockages twice a month, i decided to go for the bag and i feel better now.

good luck, hope it's all sorted out soon.
Hodaya
06/05/2007 - STARR procedure
colonic inertia w/pelvic floor dysfunction
08/16/2009 - total colectomy w/ileorectal anastomosis
07/08/2010 - loop ileostomy

runningrd
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 76
   Posted 10/23/2010 8:39 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for the feedback.  I'm wondering in the back of mind if the bag is in my future.  Before I had my colon out they did decophatography, anal manometry...you name it I had it done, all normal except colon transit study and colonoscpoy/lower gi showed extra long redundant, dilated bowel.  The only they didn't repeat was a small bowel follow through since I had one 5 years prior which was normal.  Gastric emptying normal right before surgery.  Did you have to wait to have a repeated surgery?  I did go back to my surgeon back in late July and she said would wait a year before considering taking out the last 6 inches I have left (which in my mind I think may be hard to reattach).  She sugguested miralax, activia, or suppositories.....all of which make me ill.  Trading one misery for another.  Do you really feel much better with the bag?  I'm so done with this I don't care if thats the only true solution!

Gilda
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 194
   Posted 10/23/2010 10:06 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Hodaya,

I am glad you are feeling so much better. You really don't find it that difficult to live with an Ostomy Bag? As you know from all of my previous posts, I have to stay near a bathroom most of the time because of constant diarrhea. A couple of my doctors said my life might be a little more manageable with an Ostomy. They seemed really unsure though and most doctors imply that having an Ostomy is a really, really difficult way to live. Do you still find yourself staying isolated and not doing much? Or, do you feel that your life has really improved since the Ostomy? I am so scared but I have been in a complete "holding pattern" for the last 2 years. I certainly don't want to make things worse. Are you aware of contents going into your Ostomy bag? Is it a very uncomfortable feeling? Because of my Subtotal Colectomy I now have almost constant rectal pressure; it is so uncomfortable to feel almost continueously that you need to have a bowel movement. I am thinking with a bag, maybe you are not even that aware when "contents" are emptying into it. I do need some real information on this subject. It seems most doctors just don't want to tell me much of anything about what it is like to live with an Ostomy!

Thanks,
Gilda

2b ColonFree
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 2603
   Posted 10/24/2010 12:05 PM (GMT -6)   
runningrd,
i think 6" are too much, i think most of the women on here who had this surgery for slow transit C had only 2" left. i don't know why your surgeon has to wait a whole yr for this, 6 mons is enough, but i'd guess she's just hoping things will improve on their own, so she wants to give it a chance before doing any additional "cutting". but did she check the anastomosis for narrowin?? this should be one of the first things to check when the symptoms are back after this kind of surgery.

many women on here who had this surgery still take laxatives and it helps them. i think you should try going with laxatives for now, at least till your surgeon comes with a new plan. i didn't respond to laxatives, so the bag was my only way outta this. i do feel much much better with the bag. my system is still slow, cause i have a slow small intestine, but its easier to manage with the bag.

i def think you should first of all try taking the rest out and see if that helps. if then you still experience constipation, then try to manage with laxatives and if those don't help, you can try the bag - a loop ileostomy - that should give you much relief - it does most women. the ostomy/bag itself doesn't bother me at all, it's really no biggie and easy to take care of. i change my wafer once a week, empty in the toilet when needed, it's really easy.

Gilda, drs don't tell you much about how it's like living with an ostomy only b/c they just don't know! they know how to create an ostomy, but how life with one looks like..... they have NO idea. no one does, only those who live it. when i talked to my BIL's friend (Bard Cosman - colorectal surgeon in UCLA), in his last letter to me he stongly recommended me to have the ileostomy. but the last sentense of his letter said "pls find ppl who already have an ostomy to get a sense of what life is like with a bag". he told me that specifically cause he himself cant answer that if he hadn't gone through it himself.

i think an ostomy can help you a lot. i also had that constant rectal pressure after my colectomy with ileorectal anastomosis. it was aweful. with the ostomy it's totally different and feels much better and much more comfortable. i don't always feel it when the stools leave my stoma and go into the bag. sometimes i do, sometimes don't. though it feels good when i do feel it. but most of the time the ostomy is quietly doing it's job.

i think my life def improved since the ileostomy. now that i'm back to work and see how much i can handle.. well i'm able to handle so much more than before the ileostomy. first of all, i feel so much more comfortable with my self. second, i'm much less constipated. third, my pain is 90% gone with the ostomy. and b/c of all the above i can eat much better now. forth, i don't spend more than 10 mins in the b/r in the morning (before the ileo i spent 3 hrs every morning!!) hummmm what else..? anyways.. i'm saying this once again.. life is much better with the bag!

i feel much more comfortable to go out now, i feel much more free this way, compared to the way i was.
Hodaya
06/05/2007 - STARR procedure
colonic inertia w/pelvic floor dysfunction
08/16/2009 - total colectomy w/ileorectal anastomosis
07/08/2010 - loop ileostomy

Janiepain
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 662
   Posted 10/25/2010 9:42 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Gilda,
 
I've been following your messages but haven't had a chance to sit and write.  I understand your dilemma; after my colectomy I've had just the opposite issue.  It's really strange, isn't it?  My issue is that I don't go without taking miralax because the stool gets to my rectum and stops and the rectal pain is so uncomfortable.  I take miralax 2x a day to keep things going, but that makes me run to the bathroom alot....so taking it basically keeps me comfortable as far as rectal pressure, but then again it also makes me go so much that I can't eat alot during the day.  I eat a fairly large dinner, take miralax and then run to the toilet several times before bedtime.  It's manageable, but I'd really like to eat like normal people without worrying about being either miserable or having an accident.  Good luck making your decision....I'm not sure if you said or not, but you do take lomotil, right?  If I want to go out to dinner, or to a party and not worry about feeling miserable I take a lomotil and it will really slow things down enough that I don't have that horrible rectal pressure.  When I get home I take miralax and things start again.  Not great, but manageable....but then, if I eat anything during the day it won't work well because what I've eaten will move down and then I'll be uncomfortable.  Keep us posted on what you decide....I totally feel for you though.
 
Runningrd,
Have you tried prune juice?  I'm fortunate that miralax works for me most of the time, but if I've eaten something that really slows me down I drink prune juice and it moves things quickly.  Also, for some reason Dunkin donuts coolattas move things right through me...I drink one every morning after my miralax and I'm cleaned out good for the day.  If I don't drink it and just drink the miralax or prune juice, I run to the bathroom 10 times until I'm cleaned out.  The coolattas just push everything out quickly...wish I could duplicate it at home or find something else that might work as well.  I've tried coffee, hot chocolate, tea, but nothing works like the coolatta!
 
Whatever you decide, good luck.  It's so discouraging to go through the surgery and still have issues.  I only actually have about 2" left of my colon, but still have had trouble going after surgery.
 
Janie
 
 
 

2much2bear
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 624
   Posted 10/25/2010 6:14 PM (GMT 0)   
Runningrd
 
You need the whole colon removed - i begged my surgeon to leave me even just a few inches of bowel (cause i was scared about incontinence) but he said in his experience (he is the professor and an expert in the field of colonic inertia) leaving even a little of a malfunctioning bowel does not give satisfactory results and why leave something in there that dont work. 
 
i had an ileostomy for 18 months following which was fantastic cause i got a chance to enjoy normal life again and felt great with no pain etc.  my tummy was also flat as a pancake too (unless i pigged out). 
 
You do feel your ileostomy working sometimes but you get used to it its no big deal.
 
however i had the reversal about just over a month ago and having constipation issues immediately - prune juice twice a day helps but i can go from being watery to little blobs wihtin an hour - and i am 'feeling' constipated again with al the usual tummy discomfort and sore butt and all....dont leave it a year go get right will you... life is too short for living in misery.
Karen 48 years old
1997: Diagnosed IBS
2003: Pelvic Floor repair
2006: STARR surgery for mucosal prolapse/Obstruction/diagnosed slow transit constipation
2007: Sigmoid resection-partial volvulus resulting in worsening of colonic inertia (cleared obstruction though)
March 2009: Loop Ileostomy
23 Sept 2010: Ileostomy reversal

Post Edited (2much2bear) : 10/25/2010 11:21:13 AM (GMT-6)


honestwoman50
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 833
   Posted 10/27/2010 1:21 PM (GMT -6)   
runningrd
  Hello and good morning...Ya I get up late as I go to bed late.  OMG, I just hate hearing these types of stories cuz it makes me nervous.  Are you on any type of pain meds that can slow your transit time?  Did he say why he did not do a total colectomy?  Did you ever have a sitz marker test?
 
If you are like me which I have no idea...but fiber makes things worse for me...slows stuff down.  I never get constipated ....nothing is ever big or hard coming out just little stuff, as my colon is gone and that is where all the mosture is taken out of you stool where it can cause constipation.
 
I hope that your doing better today..
 
Leslie

Hischildvalda
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 176
   Posted 10/30/2010 8:44 AM (GMT -6)   
Runningrd - I had a subtotal colectomy (2 inches of colon left) in July. A couple of times since surgery I've been slow, not constipated. One tablespoon of Maalox took care of the problem. I can't handle laxatives either, make me so sick/nauseated. I cannot understand why doctors/surgeons don't listen to us. We know our bodies better than they can - you need a surgeon who will do the surgery you need. Maybe you can get a second opinion.

Val
Lifetime Chronic Constipation
1999 - Diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Mitral Valve Prolapse
2001 - Total Hysterectomy
2008 - Diagnosed with IBS-C
July 28, 2010 - Subtotal Colectomy
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