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Old 07-18-2003, 07:39 PM   #1
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Shammy24 HB User
Post Loss of bowel/bladder with spinal damage?

First, let me say I truly do not mean to be gross in any way with this post. I'm completely serious and need information from those who might know.

For those of you who have back problems and spinal injuries, have you (or anyone you know) lost control of their bowel and/or bladder function? I've seen 3 Neurologists and one Neurosurgeon over the last few years, concerning my back pain. However, my last MRI was over 2 years ago now, after greatly worsening after having 4 epidural steroid injections (pain blocks). The new Neuro dx'd Arachnoiditis; damage to the Arachnoid layer of the spinal cord, caused (mine) by the use of Depo-Medrol injections in the spinal canal.
Every Neuro, and the Neuro Surgeon, told me that if I ever lost bladder or bowel control, to return immediately to be seen. In fact, they even said go to the ER if I couldn't get an appt. right away, as this was a medical emergency, indicating a sudden worsening in damage in the bundle of nerves in the pelvis. The quicker evasive action took place they said, the better the outcome.
Here's my question though.....do they mean "TOTAL" loss of control of either or both? I also have a vicious bladder diseasethat causes frequent urination. I have a bad problem with constipation as well, due to my pain meds. While I've had a few 'wetting' accidents, I haven't lost total control of my bladder. I have not had any #2 accidents, but in the last few weeks I have almost had them as I can't sense I need to go until it's almost too late to get to the potty. Again, not at all trying to be gross or offensive whatsoever, but during sex I sometimes wet the bed! It seems like being in certain positions may lead to this.
So, do I have a problem with bladder and/or bowel control, or are these things just normal being I have a complexity of medical problems? My PCP, who is now my PM doc too, recently put me on steroids as the back pain has GREATLY GREATLY increased. I also have chronic MPS, leaving large knots in my muscles all over, including my back. I can't take any type of NSAID for the varying forms of inflammation type problems I have, as my kidneys try to shut down. So, it was steroids or nothing for inflammation, which was at a crisis level. I also have a yet undiagnosed Connective Tissue Disease - most likely Lupus - which also causes great inflammation problems, along with extensive Osteo Arthritis with areas of pretty bad damage. I felt sure my PCP would order a new MRI given the suddenly worsening back pain and considering my complexity of problems, but instead he wanted to try the steroids.
Any and all opinions are appreciated!!! I sincerely hope I did not offend anyone with these questions as I certainly did not intend that at all.
Hugs,
Shammy24

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I'm so confused that I don't know whether to scratch my watch, or wind my butt!

CNMP Patient for 8+ yrs.
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I'm so confused that I don't know whether to scratch my watch, or wind my butt!

Arachnoiditis, Interstitial Cystitis, Peripheral Neuropathy, DDD, MPS, FMS/CFS, Migraines, spinal tumors, Sciatica, IBS, Osteo Arthritis, Osteoporosis; at least hits the hilights!

 
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Old 07-18-2003, 08:34 PM   #2
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What a lot to deal with at the same time!

I don't have a lot of good advice on this, but I can relate to how complicated the bowel/bladder issue can be. I also remember being told at my first nuerosurgery appt. that if I ever had significant bowel/bladder problems (of course, he never specified what constituted significant!) that I needed to come to the ER pronto!

Thats where things got confusing...

I ended up in the ER one day with a severe kidney infection. Apparently what happened was, I didn't notice the pain from a bladder infection and it traveled to my kidneys. I didn't notice the bladder infection because of the heavy narcotics I was on (or so says my Doc). This started a wierd problem where I feel like I have to pee all the time, even long after the infection has cleared. Sometimes, its so urgent I feel like I can't hold it, but I always end up making it to the restroom. This sounds like something the nuerosurgeon might have been talking about right???? Well when I mentioned it to him, he laughed it off as insignificant.

As far as th bowel problems, the constipation is such a pain in the butt (what a weak joke, I know). I take an OTC softner once a day, but this seems to change the problem from one extreme to the next (literally running to the bathroom multiple times a day). There is no middle ground here. So, I also thought this might be something to bring to the attention of the nuerosurgeon...again, he laughed it off as a normal part of opiate therapy. Whats a person to do? I've learned to hate the bathroom these days! I just moved in with my boyfriend, and he is learning a lot about my extrememly personal business quick!

I sure hope you find some advice and comfort here. Sorry I don't have any answers, but I can relate!

Good Luck

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Sara

 
Old 07-18-2003, 11:42 PM   #3
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Hello and Welcome,

I have a problem in that area. Since I broke my back 18yrs ago. And surgery only partial corrected the problem. I have very little feeling in that area. The problem is not loosing it and have the runs. Its the opposite. Since I have no feeling I don't know if I need to go or not. And the same for the bladder as well. Since I can't relax those sphincter muscles. And being on opiates doesn't help. I used to have to catherize myself a few times a day in order to urinate. I don't need to do that except everynow and again. Meds that my doc has perscribed and relaxation tech. have been a great help. As for the #2 thing. I used to have to stimulate that muscle and alot of laxotives too. Now this is gross and I will tell you what I mean by stimulate. I put on a latex glove and would massage the sphincter until i would produce a bowel movement. But now I use a diet that I'm very strict on and I have use relation tech. as well. I hope that this answers your questions. As for the sex thing. All I can say is I'm glad they came up w/viagra. Before that there was no sex. Thats the jest of it. I will answer any other questions you may have on the matter.....

Matt

 
Old 07-19-2003, 10:11 AM   #4
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Hi Shammy, If you have IC or another bladder condition the line gets a little fuzzy as to when it becomes an emergency.If you have had children a little leakage isn't abnormal, my sister in law just had a bladder tuck from her bladder dropping after having 2 children. She surprisingly recovered very quickly from that surgery.

In my case it was very clear. I was driving home, went over a bump in the road and lost control of my bowels. The bump in the road ratled me from my teeth to my toes and ended with quite a mess. I got home, cleaned up and called my surgeon. We moved my surgery date up 3 weeks and I had surgery 2 days later.
I don't know if this info has helped you any but it's ceratinly worth discussing with your doc. Good luck, Ocean

 
Old 07-19-2003, 11:19 AM   #5
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Shammy24 HB User
Smile

Thanks SOO much to all of you!! What I really love about online support groups is that no matter how sensitive - or gross - the subject you need info on, there's caring and sharing people willing to help and advise you! I wish this board enabled you to see the posts you're replying to while typing your response so I could recall your names and info each of you gave, but I do truly thank you for sharing with me. And for whomever had the broken back years ago, I've come very close to use the 'glove thing' myself in effort of relief. The muscles in the entire pelvic region are so incredibly weak now that it further complicates the constipation problem, as I can't even strain if I try. Also, I'm so glad the 'little blue pill' is working for you; been a godsend to many thousands of men. Now, when are we ladies getting something equally helpful?!?!?!

Wow, I can't imagine hitting a speed bump and having such an *accident*!! NO doubt you truly had an emergency condition going on there! Actually, before becoming so ill and eventually ending up on narcotics daily, my IBS was so bad that I could have had the same reaction as you described! On Saturdays, (before I became so decrepit) we went to the local stock car races every week thru the Summer. I ate breakfast, but did not dare to eat again the rest of the day, until we got back home - which was usually 2 AM or so on Sunday morning! If I dared eat any later than breakfast time, I'd spend the entire night at the race in the bathroom with severe diarrhea. Just riding to the track was enough to set off another long lasting course of horrible diarrhea. By the end of the last race and walking out to the car to leave, I'd be soooo weak and sooo starved, from not eating all day! But, that's how serious the IBS used to be. Now, I have to take something every night to keep from getting impacted! You didn't mention the outcome of your surgery, but I trust it was a success? Hope you're doing much better these days! Do you still have any back pain after the surgery? What did the surgery involve?

I am pretty certain the wetting accidents are not related to the bladder disease nor bladder dropping, even though I've considered both possibilities. While I do occassionally wet myself when coughing, etc., this is very different. With the IC, there's urgency of course, yet this is still different and new from the years of IC's prior symptoms. I've wet myself and not even realized it till I got cold! The kicker is I go pee VERY VERY VERY frequently, so I don't have much in the way of volume. However, when I've had 'accidents', I've always just been to pee several times in the same hour, and went enough to totally soak through every sheet/blanket on the bed, saturate the mattress, and even got hubby's pj's soaked! So, the whole thing is a bit mysterious to say the least.

Again, I truly appreicate all of you offering your experiences and advice on this! Wishing all a nice weekend and stay far away from TN if you don't like heat and humidity!!
Hugs,
Shammy
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I'm so confused that I don't know whether to scratch my watch, or wind my butt!

Arachnoiditis, Interstitial Cystitis, Peripheral Neuropathy, DDD, MPS, FMS/CFS, Migraines, spinal tumors, Sciatica, IBS, Osteo Arthritis, Osteoporosis; at least hits the hilights!

 
Old 07-19-2003, 12:19 PM   #6
DragracerNpain
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I don't have any of these problems that you all have, nor do I know what causes it. I have really got to thank God for not giving me any of these problems, although I do fight a severe back problem and I have to take Methadone for the pain.

The reason for my reply is about the constipation. When I first started taking the Methadone back in Sept. 2002, I had constipation in the worst way. I had tried some over the counter stool softeners, ate some high grain cereal, and drank orange juice with Medimucal mixed with it. Even after trying all of these differant methods, I still had constipation as if nothing had changed. I was also having nausea and was throwing up at least 1-2 times a week.

When I went back to my Pain Doc a month later, I explained my problem. She wrote me a script for some prescription laxative called Miralax. It comes in a plastic bottle and does come in differant sizes. The large bottle will last a little over a month, determining on just how much you use it. I sometimes don't mix the whole dosage everyday.

My dr. told me to mix it with my favorite juice and try to drink more water thru the day. I'll tell you right now that I'm not much of a water drinker at all, so I can tell you that I didn't drink anymore water than I had been. My doc also explained that usually, once the constipation was gotten under control, the nausea and throwing up would probably go away to.

Two days after starting the Miralax, I had no constipation at all(It takes 2-3 days to start working). It works wonderfully and has no taste, smell, or color at all. I usually stick my favorite juice (Cranberry Juice)in the freezer and stir it every 30 minutes until I have a thick slush and then mix a cap full of Miralax powder in the thick slushy drink and WauLau, a very tasty drink that has cured my constipation and nausea problem.

Once you have gotten your constipation under control, you can miss a dose of the laxative every now and then with no problems.

The best thing that I have found out about the Miralax is, when you use it everyday, it don't tend to give you diarea, it's like everything is under control.

I am now going to post this for a new topic. Everyone should know how well this stuff works.

Hope this helps you with at least one problem.

------------------
DragRacer-N-Pain

Pain suxx !

 
Old 07-19-2003, 12:21 PM   #7
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Shamy,

It was me that have the broken back. Thanks so much for your reply. Yes that is what I like about online supprt as well. It may be embarrassing but it is a natural part of life. And if we are unable to talk about it then no one benefits. After 4 surgerys my back is still painful and still alot of pain down the legs, but at least I,m able to walk and with the help of medicine I'm able to enjoy life as well. If I can be of further assistance don't hesitate to ask. I love to hear from others and thier experiences and share with others. That is the only way we can truely grow as human beings. Take care and have a pain free day.


Matt

 
Old 07-19-2003, 05:16 PM   #8
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I am 23 and have no children, but I sometimes experience the loss of bladder control problem. Mine seems to have gotten bad after an automobile accident and the PM&R doc I was seeing at that time I explained that I have a loss of sensation in my groin area and sometimes it is the same numbness that I have in my big toes and right foot, and he just laughed it off and made some joke about that it must suck for me during sex. I thought that was rather distasteful since I had told him that I have not been able to have sex due to the pain. But after my surgery in dec of 2001 the bladder prob got worse and at first I was told it was because of the catheter and now with my new doc he asked if I had bladder/bowel problems and I told him, but said it was normal. Dont know how ture this is but I guess until it becomes so severe that I cant leave the house with out wetting myself it isnt a problem.

~Amy-Beth~

"But my body was like a harp and her words and gestures were like fingers running upon the wires"
-James Joyce From the short story "Araby"

 
Old 07-19-2003, 06:18 PM   #9
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Hi Shammy, Although the surgeries relieved the nerve pain and bowel problems It left my back a mess and my legs numb and without reflexes.The last surgery was to replace broken hardware but it doubled the length of my fusion and pretty much did me in work wise.The Back pain is fairly well controlled with methadone but no amount would restore my former life. Thanks for asking, Take care, Ocean

 
Old 07-22-2003, 04:51 AM   #10
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I'm not sure if anyone has said this or not, but at least on mine, when I'm replying, I am able to look at previous posts... If you scroll completely down to the bottom, underneath the submit reply and clear fields buttons, you'll see another window with another scroll bar to the right. That is the other replies, and it allows you to look at them as you are replying. Just thought I'd help. Good luck
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Old 09-03-2003, 12:22 AM   #11
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I received an epidural in my L-5 S-1 on August 5th. about 3 days after I started having weird feelings in my intestinal area. It has proceeded to numbness in all my extremities and just last week severe paralyzing on my left side.

I have had the million dollar work up on my heart head and neck and everything normal. No one will look at my low back as they say it is not related. As each day goes by i seem to have more episodes of numbness, pressure in my head, nausea and intestinal pain. i just found out in my previous epidurals they had used 40mg of Depo Medrol. In my last shot they used 80mg. Can anyone tell me if this was and excessive amount and could it be causing my problems.

Right now the doctors have no answers and i am very concerned and scared. Any shared knowledge would be much appreciated.

Thanks

 
Old 09-04-2003, 11:15 PM   #12
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This is a question for Matt(griz)

You said that you are on a diet that you follow very strictly to assist you in the area of bowel management.

If you dont mind, could you go into detail about the diet? I am taking a stronger class of opiates than I am used to in oreder to beter manage the pain. As you know, the stronger opiods seem to produce the more severe bowel problems.

Any info you can send my way would be appreciated.

take care and be pain free
terry

 
Old 09-04-2003, 11:23 PM   #13
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Terry,

Just a suggestion. I'm sure Grizz will respond to you if he reads your reply. I have not seen him post in a few days. You might want to re-post with his name in the subject line so he is sure to read it!

AV

 
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