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Old 08-03-2006, 08:54 PM   #1
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Post surgery constipation and straining

I know those of you who've had surgery can appreciate these embarrassing sorts of experiences. I was finally *unconstipated* today but I had to strain more than a little bit. Of course I'm worried about doing something to my back. Has anyone else had this? How would I know if I've re-injured my back? Thanks.

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Old 08-04-2006, 12:43 AM   #2
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Re: Post surgery constipation and straining

its funny that something as mundane as a normal BM can suddenly be all consuming

I remember a few times I really had to "work at it" due to some constipation but as far as I know you cant hurt your back, at least it wasnt mentioned to me in my list of "things not to do." I had my 4 week checkup and x -ray a couple weeks ago and all was well so it didnt hurt me.

it may be that your digestive track is still waking up from the surgery (I cant remember when yours was, sorry). also narcotic pain meds are famous for having constipation as a side effect.

it took me a couple weeks post op before I was more or less regular again.
back surgery in JUN 06 - two level ALIF (L3-4-5) with cages and BMP - SUCCESSFUL!

Last edited by zeroman; 08-04-2006 at 06:19 PM.

Old 08-04-2006, 09:26 AM   #3
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Re: Post surgery constipation and straining

Please be very careful and let your doctor know that you are having a problem in this department. I ended up with a spinal fluid leak (NOT after fusion but after pump implanted) and I think it may have been caused from "straining". A spinal headache is something you want to avoid at all costs. I'm not sure you can get them from a fusion, but it was the [COLOR="Red"][B]WORST[/B][/COLOR] pain I have ever experienced in my life.

May not be fun, but suppositories can be helpful for short term

Old 08-04-2006, 01:14 PM   #4
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Re: Post surgery constipation and straining

At our Ortho clinic we usually prescribe Colace for post-op; it may help. Not a laxative, it's a stool softener. You may want to ask your surgeon if that would help.

Old 08-04-2006, 10:01 PM   #5
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Re: Post surgery constipation and straining

I have finallly had some relief after asking some family members who had undergone various surgeries. I was willing to try anything! I finally ended up with taking Colace twice a day as a stool softener, lots of water, walking and of all thing BING CHERRIES! They had worked miracles for my sister (on her doc's recommendation) so I am betting on that for the comfortable non super straining releif I had this morning from HORRBLE constipation. Remember how your body was before the operation too-not everyone goes everyday. Relax and let it get back to its normal pattern which may only be every two or three days. I was really worried about damaging myself after only two weeks post op but my doc said I was ok. The first two BMS were hour long major agonizers!
Pray for a better outcome(LOL)!!

Old 08-05-2006, 01:21 AM   #6
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Re: Post surgery constipation and straining

I know all too well those experiences first hand. After my previous surgery last December, I went 2 weeks without a bowel movement and ended up going to the E.R. for treatment (2 fleet enemas). It took less than 5 minutes to do the job, but the first well, not sure how to put this - "release" I guess you could say felt like a baseball bat exiting. After that, it was smooth sailing - lol. I'll never make the mistake of getting pumped full of narcotics without taking a stool softener along with it. I could barely walk it hurt so bad, no joke!

Old 08-05-2006, 08:17 AM   #7
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Re: Post surgery constipation and straining

Oh noooo, is this what I have to look forward to when I have my surgery??

I saw some mention the painkillers can do this....which painkillers? I've already tried several & didnt get this problem (at least not yet)

Old 08-05-2006, 11:13 AM   #8
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Re: Post surgery constipation and straining

not everyone has this problem. in my case is was very mild, I just noticed I was not "normal" for a week or two with a couple of mild constipation days, nothing like others have posted. so you may not get it badeither.

narcotic pain meds (oxycontin/oxycodone, morphine, dilaudid, percocet, vicodin are some examples.. there are many others), which you will get in the hospital and almost certainly be on them at home for a while (weeks to months.. it varies) have constipation as a side effect. again, it varies from person to person and what dose you have.

muscle relaxers (soma, flexeril, zanaflex are some) and nerve pain meds (neurontin is one) dont do this as far as Im aware.
back surgery in JUN 06 - two level ALIF (L3-4-5) with cages and BMP - SUCCESSFUL!

Last edited by zeroman; 08-05-2006 at 11:14 AM.

Old 08-05-2006, 02:06 PM   #9
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Re: Post surgery constipation and straining

I had prior knowledge that I might have trouble with constipation after surgery (as I have had issues in this area on/off all my life). I know most of it is diet intake or not. I planned ahead. I knew i had to increase my water intake twofold. Plus I went out and bought dried fruits and fiber snacks and cereals. I mean "high" fiber. Not just wheat bread etc. I am talking Fiber One, prunes (dried plums), apricots, salads (roughage), watermelon, etc. I ate lighter but also ate high fiber. I had no problems at all. There are many more foods with high contents of good nutritional value, such as nuts.. but many I am allergic to, so I had to eat what I knew didnt' effect me allergy wise and did the job!

Just plan ahead.. if you know foods that get you going.. buy them!! And other natural foods. It's better than having to take more medications, but do that if the natural is not enough.

Best wishes to you all!! Take care. Tammy

Old 08-05-2006, 02:33 PM   #10
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Re: Post surgery constipation and straining

Any type of narcotic can cause undue constipation, especially those that are stronger such as oxycontin and morphine. Whatever you use do not let constipation go for more than 4 or 5 days, this can be dangerous as it cause impact in the colon which can sometimes require surgical intervention!

The best thing to do in general is to eat large amounts of natural fiber, at least 20-30 grams per day. Don't rely on the pills, they have very little fiber in them and are useless unless you take a large amount per day. Also drink plenty of water. Prune juice (though it does taste horrible) is very effective.

There is a new soluable fiber on the market that has some 5 grams of fiber per teaspoon, I use it a lot and it does help. I mix it with my cereal etc.

I've not tried the colace but I do have to take something called Miralax which is probably similiar. You mix it in with your beverages once a day and it does keep the stool itself soft. It's virtually tasteless and pretty inexpensive via prescription.

For those planning on surgery always start a high fiber diet before the surgery and talk to your doctor about something to take while hospital because once you become constipated all the stool softeners in the world will not correct the initial problem it only prevents the stool from becoming hard [i]after[/i] you take it.


Old 08-06-2006, 11:02 AM   #11
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Re: Post surgery constipation and straining

WHen I hurt my back, I was scared of going to the bathroom.. I was so constipated that I took Fleet Phospho Soda (tastes HORRIBLE) but that stuff sure does clean you out... ONce I got through that, I ate prunes, pears and drank lots of water every day, and that seems to help even today..


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