Crohn's Disease Forum » General IBD Discussion » Constipation after surgery

05-16-2007, 04:55 AM   #1
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Constipation after surgery

I had an ileocecal resection done a little over a week ago. I was able to come home last Sunday. Unfortunately since I've been home I've become constipated and I feel like I'm going to burst. I'm worried, but I don't want to bug the doctor if it's not a big deal. I was wondering if there's anyone who's dealt with the same problem who might be able to offer some advice? Is it ok to use a stool softener after surgery? Is it ok to strain? I'm afraid to hurt myself when I try to go, and I think that's half the problem. Thanks
05-19-2007, 06:30 PM   #2
Did they let you home without opening your bowels first?. Anyway, I don't think its a good idea to push it out, you may do more harm than good. It takes time for the bowel to get back into the swing of things if you know what I mean, so you may just need to take in more fluids and a little roughage to help things along. To be on the safe side, its probably best to phone your doc, just to see what they think.
I know exactly what you mean about the fear factor. When I had my surgery last year, I wasn't given any bowel prep beforehand as apparently over here they don't when you're having surgery on the small bowel. So, I still had stuff in my large bowel. I had had the resection like you and I was left with a stoma but I had to go naturally for a couple of days. That was terrible, I dreaded going to the loo. I felt the urge but when I got there I couldn't do it. What made matters worse was that I had 2 drainage tubes that had been stiched into my rectum and poo had to get past these, also my surgeon told me it would hurt when I went to the toilet so to be brave!!! It actually wasn't anywhere near as bad as I expected, it just stung a little. Maybe its the stress of thinking you need to go thats delaying things?

05-20-2007, 10:23 AM   #3
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I tried toughing it out for a few days, then ended up visiting the doc who suggested a few things. Those didn't work and I ended up visiting the emergency room a few days later. I spent most of the day there and it was terrible experience. Thankfully it's over now but as a result I'm having a lot of abdominal pain. I dare not touch the tylenol3s again, since they were likely the cause of my problem in the first place. I can't sit up for long periods of time now, it just hurts too much

I'm even afraid to eat much, I really don't want to have to go through that again.
05-25-2007, 04:02 PM   #4
Two Words for you:

Stool Softener

You'll be amazed
05-26-2007, 11:03 AM   #5
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Location: Halifax, NS, Canada

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Yeah, they (Doc's) seem to have a bad habit of not telling folks that pain meds cause constipation... I think the real culprit is the codeine... First thing to do is talk to your doctor... don't worry about 'bugging' a busy doctor, it's their job to advise us on the medical matters.. If they don't like it, let them change professions.. (or learn to give us this important info up front in a printout or written instructions).. Home remedies including OTC (over the counter) fixes should be cleared by your doc or pharmacist first before you try them.. If they give you the go ahead, stool softeners, very gentle laxatives, even some liquid forms of fibre can be helpful.. also, watch what you eat, but try to eat a little something. The digestive system needs to keep functioning, but go easy on it during initial recovery period.. no heavy meals, watch the starches, try liquid diets or those low in residue AND fibre.. too much fibre can be a strain on healing or inflamed areas.

My post op regimen consisted of the following simple rule of thumb. Nothing went in till something came out.. and if things were slow in that area, then I drank more fluids and ate only liquid meals. I was also on a strict (actualyl severe) restricted diet.. low fat, low fibre, low residue.. LOADS of fluids (min 64 fluid ounces per day)

A friend (I think) once said to me when I complained of constipation. "you have to keep an open mind" Hmmm, not sure what they meant by that???? Anyway, you just remember.. 'this poo, eeer, I mean 'too', will pass' Keep an open mind, okay?

Dx'd July, 2006
Meds: Flagyl, Cipro, Pred, AZA.. to no effect
Low Dose Naltrexone Nov 2007 - May 2014
Remicade June 17th, 2014

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