I am almost two years out from weight loss surgery. It was very successful and though I have lost 175 lbs and now weigh a healthy 155, I feel it has been a trade-off of sorts. I traded being super fat with being super constipated with a bowel that seems permanently shut off?
For example, this morning I took my usual dose of two colace, drank all of my fluids for the day. Then I began feeling quite bloated and proceeded to do a fleet enema, which was somewhat successful though very little came out. Then I used two fleet glycerin suppositories... An hour later I passed only the suppository nothing more.
My stomach constantly grumbles and spins like an unstable washing machine, yet I can hardly seem to poop normally. In fact I usually poop every second or third day with eposides where I feel I have dyssentary or Montezuma's Revenge something you would get by drinking or eating foreign water/food. And twice each month I experience that my intestines seem to shut off completely until I am so backed up, that I must overdose on several laxatives. There is no single laxative method that works.
When and IF I take myself to the ER, as a last ditch effort, I am sometimes given injections of meds such as Rubinal or Bentyl, which as we all know calm the intestinal muscles and further plug it up! NOt to mention that CT terrible drink becomes solidified like cement in my stomach and screw up any hope of trying to figure out the actual problem.
Usually the ER will either send me home with more over the counter laxatives which I have already attempted. Or I get readmitted in which case they use a tough regimen of 2 enemas a day+Mag Citrate+Upper GI and more and more stupid tests while subjecting me to starvation in case I have an impacted bowel which is common for gastric bypass patients.
So here I am, and I refuse to go back to the ER. I have resigned myself to the fact that if I die with it, then I simply will die with it. Because it really is a humiliation to face hospitals and clinics with the same complaint falling on DEAF ears. Below is a list of things I have taken in attempt to treat this now very permanent problem...
Colace (ducosate sodium 200mg) Daily
Bisacodyl 10mg (usually take at bedtime to get results the next morning)
Fleet Glycerin Suppository (2 at the same time presently not at all effective)
Fleet Enema (Last ditch effort)
Phenergen Suppository (Works immediately but is almost impossible to get as a perscription from my doctors! It must be perscribed but it really works!)
GoLytely(Again must be perscribed and is truly AWEFUL)
Magnesium Citrate (Over the counter and the absolute last thing I would do at home)
Please if anyone out there is reading this and is/was in the same boat, I really can use any advice you may have! Also NOTE that I am not a normal person, because my intestines were dramatically altered in surgery, which further explains why I have this permanent condition and really need help with coping with it all.
The following user gives a hug of support to Tiffanie30:
Your post is the first I've seen about this issue & I've been looking off & on for over 2 years now. It started with me after eating too much navy beans & ham in June of '08. At that time, I was almost 4 years post-op. I was diagnosed with B-12, iron, & calcium deficiency in April of '08, but within a month everything was OK. Aside from that, I have occasional bouts of hypoglycemia.
When I first started dealing with what I call my "digestive difficulties", I went to the ER & was given shots of pain medication. A 2nd trip to the ER a few days later had the attending basically accusing me of being a drug seeker! I begged him to call in a gatroenterologist to perform a scope & he said he was not going to call one in on a holiday weekend (4th of July). I was given another pain shot & sent home with more Vicodin. A 3rd trip to the ER (different hospital this time) did warrant a better response from the doctor, but it still didn't help very much. It took me over a month to be rid of the pain. Unfortunately, it didn't stay away for long.
Since starting this battle over the past 2 years now, I've found that I have to DAILY drink my coffee (with Splenda & refrigerated creamer) until it causes things to move before I attempt to eat anything. I've complained to several doctors that I feel like my digestive system has shut down to which they put the stethoscope to my belly & reply, "You have normal bowel sounds."
On Saturday, 12/11/2010, another episode began. After a few hours, the pain again was raidiating into my back & I felt like enducing vomiting was the only way I was going to get any relief. Nothing worked & by 4pm, I was on the loveseat with a heating pad on my back. I ended up taking some paid meds so I could sleep through the misery even though I knew it would only make the constipation worse. Even taking the pain meds was difficult since when I go through this, I can't even seem to keep down a drink of water (like there's no room)! By Sunday evening I couldn't stand it any longer & had my husband take me to the ER.
I've known about an incisional hernia near my navel for 13 years & voiced my concern about incarceration to the attending who ordered a CT Scan (without the nasty drink). They didn't see an incarceration, but did suspect an internal hernia & was going to set me up for surgery that night! After consulting with another doctor, they decided to hold off until the next morning (since I wasn't screaming in pain). The general surgeon called in a weight loss surgeon to check out my plumbing while I was on the table.
They didn't find an internal hernia. The general surgeon repaired the incisional hernia. The weight loss surgeon found adhesions on my small intestines from the RNY & removed those. He said that aside from those, everything looked good! They both seemed quite impressed that over 6 years I've not only kept off the weight, but did so while also having 3 more kids! I was discharged the next day on a soft, bland diet. It didn't take a week before I had another round of "digestive difficulties". I was SO hoping that the hernia repair & adhesion removal would've fixed everything, but NOPE!
My weight loss surgeon moved to FL some years ago, so I have no one to see for this. Thankfully, the weight loss surgeon who removed the adhesions has agreed to take me in. My first appointment with him is tomorrow, January 3rd. I'm really hoping that he's able to shed some light on what's going on & more importantly, be able to offer a solution. I know I don't drink enough water. In fact, I probably have a bottle every 3 days. Other than that, it's just coffee & iced tea. I've been told to take Miralax daily, but I don't want to become dependent on it. A doctor told me that my body won't become dependent on it (like with typical laxatives), but if you ask me, if I have to take Miralax daily to have a bowel movement, that IS being dependent!
Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone. I will reply after I see the weight loss surgeon tomorrow & let you know what he has to say.
It's really good to hear your story and sounds so much like my own! Except recently some things have changed for me personally.
I too have been going over and over to the clinic with the same complaints. I discovered that the ER, though they can handle any life threatening issues, really are not equipped nor educated especially with my various conditions to deal with me aside from the immediate pain treatment. In the midst of attacks they can ease it to their best capability but they are not able to handle "chronic" problems such as mine.
Which is why I have been running and harrassing my original surgeon who performed my RNY as well as, tummy tuck, and the last bout of trouble with the so called "incarcerated" hernia in the umbilical area which he suspected was the trouble.
A lot has changed though recently since my previous postings. I had every test under the sun and kept telling him "I am dying!" I pushed and I underwent every test, CT, x-ray series, barium swallow, small bowel follow through, bloodwork, EGD, and the last was my colonoscopy which I had back in November.
The small bowel follow through results which I personally got from the medical records office read that I have 10 cm of irregular diseased and inflamed bowel. Partial obstruction to the terminal illeum. It took the barium over 4 hours to pass through that area which did indicate some type of partial obstruction. I knew something was wrong becuse the day of that test the radiologist dept head doctor came out and reassured me that I was "fine and to remain calm" Usually that means something is really not right and I knew.
The colonoscopy revealed that I have intestinal erosions due to some suspician of being accidentally dosed with NSAIDs anti-inflammatories. Which I adamantly argued with the GI clinic that I have NOT EVER taken such meds as I know how dangerous they are!!! Of course that fell of deaf ears. I was given Bentyl tablets to relax the muscles spasming, anti-nausea Phenergen, and Nexium slow release daily tablets. I continued to have the nausea and heartburning so I was told to increase to two slow release Nexiums.
Meanwhile I continued to have these symptoms so my surgeon took me back in last week. He claims it was meshing which he used to repair my umbilical hernia. When he went in my bowel was completely twisted up which was why he was so sure that my bowels have not been operating as they should and were working like a holding tank. He also removed a necrosis (dead skin tissue which was hurting so badly) tumor which was like a adhesion from my tummy tuck. He did it all laproscopically and I have three tiny holes. My belly button is beyond saving but I am just hopeful that I am ok!
Again I am taking the stool softener 2 tablets every morning and I had no bowel movement. I went to the ER last Wednesday which was 6 days post-op because my stomach was quite swollen and I had not had any BM. The ER checked and assured me that it is functioning and that it will pass, not to worry because I explained that I am taking softeners and I had done one fleet enema that morning to only pass the clear liquid again.
So they assured me sent me home with meds. I had one small BM on Thursday. Then on Friday morning I had an episode where everything just came out! Similar to the stuff I had before which really scared me a lot! But last night I had a very normal BM and so I am really hopeful that this is going to be ok! At this point it could be too early to say.
But I would like to point out that my GI Internal Specialist said to me that I could keep going over and over with these issues because its very common with RNY but further can complicate matters for people who have also had tummy tuck and other multiple repair type surgeries as I have. He said this may take a longgg time. It is hard to say, is it related to erosions? Or related to adhesions or other internal things which CT cannot pick up? So this is our guessing game.
But thank you so very much for your posts and I wish to continue to compare notes with you. I really am actively seeking the answer! I now wegh in at 148 and I am not overweight. I wear a size medium and otherwise am very healthy. I have scoliosis but it will be much less pain in the long run with having lost all that weight which was straining my spine. I realize that this is a long term goal for myself to try and find answers to reach my optimum health. My husband has even sacrificed remaining in a career which he hates solely because he wants to resolve my health. He has given me tremendous strength in all this! Best wishes to you and I do hope you are well. But please continue to knock on the clinic doors until they run every possible test to be sure you are OK! You might even want to look over your records personally but don't give up! Take care Tiffanie
Just wanted to touch base with you. The surgeon wasn't in the room long. He said that I could be going through all of this due to some deficiencies, so he ordered a round of fasting labs typical for post-op WLS patients. I finally found the time to go into the lab this past Tuesday. I called today and the results aren't in yet. They suggested I check back on Wednesday that way one of the doctors will have time to review them.
I wish I knew what was going on. I was up late 2 nights ago & decided I was too hungry to go to bed without eating something. Unfortunately, I didn't think it through. I ended up eating a cheese sandwich and I've been in pain ever since. I'm out of Bentyl and Phenergan. Both of these drugs were prescribed previously, so I don't think the surgeon would call them in even if I asked. Until the cheese sandwich mistake, I was being super cautious in my food selections - very little carbs & no cheese at all. The only positive to this whole nightmare is the continued weight loss. I was 152 when I went in for the hernia repair last month. About a week ago I was down to 144 (the starting weight for my last pregnancy). Two days ago I weighed in at 141. My all time post-op low was 132 and if things don't improve, I suspect I'll hit that number (or even lower) again soon. According to the BMI chart at the surgeon's office, I'm "normal" if I'm under 140, so that would be nice. But I really don't like the unhealthy manner in which the weight loss is occuring.
Being sick the past few days has been so hard. I had to have my husband stay home from work yesterday because I was just in too much pain to handle the 3 kids we have in diapers. I've also had to miss class twice this week. If I knew for certain that this would all go away if I had the RNY reversed, I would seriously consider it. I just can't handle this.
One quick question... when you go through these episodes, do you find that you crave salty foods? When it happens to me, I find myself wanting to eat chips, chicken soup, anything with salt!
I'll let you know what's said when I get my labs back next week. Thank you for the support and I hope you feel better!
Wow! Where do I begin? I am also still just dragging along here with no answer yet. I followed-up with my surgeon just last week but he said it is still too soon to know for sure if the problem is resolved. Before I left his office he said to come back in a few months for another CT to check, so I think he was not satisfied which for me is a major LET DOWN. Not to mention he said I have had more complications than any of his other patients...
I have not had attacking episodes quite as severe as I did before when my surgeon finally went back in Dec 23rd, not even a month ago. As I mentioned before on post-op day 8 -I finally started going and everything cleaned out. But it seems to be the only pattern again.
I am taking all my nexium, bentyl, vitamins, b12, centrum with iron, caltrate, tums before eating as well as the stool softener 2tabs every morning with fluids. I am drinking at about 60 oz a day which is really GREAT for me to achieve, so I know I am not dehydrated!
You mentioned craving salt. Are you by any chance running low blood pressure? I had episodes of this maybe due to such fast weight loss and lack of eating. I wore a HOLTER monitor which checks your BP and heart for about a week and it was running low. The doctor recommended I increase potassium and salt/soldium a lot more in my diet. You can even do this with watered down gatorade, or even children's pediasure/pedialyte because it helps increase your electrolytes and that can SERIOUSLY cause you to drag yourself all day long and could be why you are not even able to care for the kids. I went through those episodes mostly during my high level of starvation periods. So you better eat the salt if you crave it but also DRINK as much as you can even if you must carry a canteen and sip it all day!!!!
Another thing, you really should not restrict your carbs that can also seriously make you ill. Because you NEED carbs as much as you can tolerate since you are at an obviously very low volume of food intake. Also you may begin to feel cold and shaky, passing out all the time too minus getting more carbs in you as that fuels your body metabolically and can really mess a person up. Also the low carb really ADDS to severe constipation. So you should try to eat as much protein, fiber, and carbs as you can tolerate. I know that is easier said than done! Believe me, I know this!!!!
The best thing to do is begin a eating log. Keep track of all your calories, fat, fiber, and protein levels. Sugar is also one thing to be careful of as it can make you super sick feeling. For me, though sometime eating a choc bar is the only way to poop, to induce dumping, isn't that terrible? But it sometimes works other times I hurl it up. TMI sorry. Anyway, I hope I offered some good tips. I will write again soon. But am hopeful if you alter some of your dietary stuff it may just help get things moving again. But I feel ya. I know how frustrating it is!
In fact the GI doctor was lecturing me about the dangers of overeating until AFTER he performed the colonoscopy then as I was waking up -he was yelling that I am starving myself and undereating etc etc! One extreme to the other with those doctors but I guess they just assume all prior fatties are alike, hehe. Oh well. Take care and please write to me soon. Tiff
hi there, i am very sorry that you are having this issue!!!
but here it what my son has tried and it works the best!!!
any brand of " flaxseed oil" will for sure help you!!
please get yourself some of that,
and let me know, how it works, fyi- it will work after the first intake of these pills!!!
i am very sorry you are having these issues, my 15 year old son has the same issue!
so what i got for him are Flaxseed Oil pills,
and please believe me they have worked wonders, they are like fish oil, omega 3 pills, but better then those!! the brand i got for us is called;
let me know how they worked for you!!