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Chronic constipation caused by pain medication?

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Old 05-26-2005, 02:48 PM   #1
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bilij HB User
Chronic constipation caused by pain medication?

Hello Friends, Do any of you deal with chronic constipation caused
by pain medication? (Ultram and occasional lortab) Also I'm on Benicar
for hypertension. Nothing seems to work very well. I would welcome
any suggestions you may have. Do you think fibromyalgia alone might
cause this problem? I would welcome any suggestions you have to offer.
Wishing you well on this beautiful day in Alabama.

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Old 05-26-2005, 03:40 PM   #2
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Re: Chronic constipation caused by pain medication?

Hey biliji!

Most definately a big YES! Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a common symptom of FM, however, pain meds are a significant cause of contsitpation.

The only thing that helps (without using more meds) is to drink LOTS of water, Metamucil or one of the other fiber supplements, and try to take a Senakot-S every OTHER night at bedtime. My aunt's Oncologist told her she could even take Sennakot-S every night, but I tried that and I went from constipation to diahrrea, fast. The Senna is good to use as long as it contains a stool softner in it. That's why it's called Senakot-"S". It also comes in store brand, like Walmart has their own brand, save a couple bucks.

I know what you mean though. It's not unusual for me to go 5 or 6 days before I have a bowel movement. And I ALWAYS have hideous cramps. I don't know which is worse, constant diahrrea or constipation! Personally, I think I'd rather have diahrrea, at least your tank gets emptied out! When I suffered from IBS, going from diahrrea to constipation all the time, then when I started my pain meds, I suffered more constipation, and I hate it!

Try those home remedies. For me, its either Metamucil, Senakot-S, or good old Milk of Magnesia! I was prescribed that new med Zelnorm and it doesn't work for me, and I felt like it actually made my cramps worse, though I didn't think they could get worse! But you may want to talk to your doctor about it anyway.

Good luck!

Hugs, from your Alabama neighbor to the south!
"We must be the change we wish to see in the world"
Mahatma Gandhi

Old 05-26-2005, 04:13 PM   #3
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Butch0926 HB User
Re: Chronic constipation caused by pain medication?

I second that. I've suffered from chronic constipation for as long as I can remember. I know that whenever I take an Ultracet, I can count on a bowl movement of hard little balls (mouse droppings) a few days later.

The only thing that works for me is a daily glass of Citracel, sometimes two. I've also begun to take a daily dose of magnesium because I understand that FM sufferers are low in magnesium. I take ZMA and Pro Energy. They seem to help as well.

Old 05-26-2005, 06:57 PM   #4
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Re: Chronic constipation caused by pain medication?

prescription docolace $3.69 for 30. I take it at night and I drink metamucil twice a day when I eat my Raisin Bran in the morning.

Old 05-26-2005, 07:06 PM   #5
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dazedandconfused10 HB User
Re: Chronic constipation caused by pain medication?

effexor did it to me, part of why I'm anxious to stop it, just cutting the dose has helped my digestive track

Old 05-26-2005, 09:57 PM   #6
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Re: Chronic constipation caused by pain medication?

try stool softners morning and night along with 750mg of oat bran and at least 10 glasses, big ones, of water. you need the water to flush the toxins left by the pain meds anyway. pain killers subdue the colon. it forgets to do it's job. without the colon being stimulated it will forget to expel yesterdays nutrition. walking stimulates the colon.
i take pain meds and i do what i described above. most mornings my stools are so loose they fall out without me having to bear down. i ended up with a prolapsed rectum. from constipation. now i do fine. stress, change of diet, and travel can also cause constipation. add these to the meds and you have a potion for trouble.
good going to you, giggle.
metamucil is loaded with chemicals, sugars and hulls that give you nasty gas and horrid smelling stools. the oat bran gives me morning gas without smell. same with stools. also the oat bran works like a detergent in your blood stream keeping the sludge from building up. for myself it's a win win.

Old 05-27-2005, 04:02 PM   #7
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hangin HB User
Re: Chronic constipation caused by pain medication?

I used to suffer from constipation but like many others I use a stool softener and drink LOTS of water.

My doctor told me that we are all different when it comes to how often to have a movement (I don't mean classical music ). Some people need it every day, some every 2 days and so on. The main thing is not to get impacted, that is when you can have major problems and a lot of discomfort.

Also, if it is real bad something that has helped me is doing some form of sittups or anything to get the colon area massaged and working, it can be very helpful..a few crunches can go a long way or leg lifts or massaging the area.

Hope everyone is doing well,

Peace and compassion, Janet

Old 05-27-2005, 08:08 PM   #8
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Tyneyboy HB User
Re: Chronic constipation caused by pain medication?

I read the original post and tramadol is pretty unlikely to cause constipation, the lortab might if you are using it daily, but it sounds like your body is giving you a warning about your diet more than anything else. (Of course, you may be taking other medications which can cause these side effects as well, and may not have listed them).

Maybe it's time to think about what you are eating. Believe I know with chronic pain the temptation just to throw something probably not so good for you in the microwave and fix whatever is the fastest you can with the least amount of effort. There was a point my pain was so bad I could barely stand up the length of time it takes to make a pot of ramen. We have all had days like that.

What I've found as far as dietary changes that helps: Start your day off with a good whole grain cereral like cheerios, or a high fiber cerial like raisin bran, or a good serving of oatmeal. Switch to whole grain bread, or at least wheat bread. Eat more vegtables, and even better if some of them are raw of lightly steamed. Increase your fluid intake to 8-10 glasses of water per day. If you take calcium, take some magnesium with it as calcium suppliments can cause constipation. Cut down on your red meat consumption. If you can, substitute beans for meat or add them to your diet. If it's still not moving fast enough for you, consider a fiber suppliment & take them right after each meal. They need fluid to absorb to work.

If its still a problem you can move to stool softeners and laxatives, the better ones as the osmotive laxitives like sorbitol that require an RX, but just as effective if you don't need them every day is milk of magnesia. Taste bad, but it works by increasing the amount of fluid drawn into the intestines. Very effective.

I don't think there is universal agreement that things like senna-s are safe for long term use. Some docs will say "Yeah do it" others will say "No, it causes dependence and eventually damages the nerves in the intestines and bowel". I don't know who to believe, so I think the precautionary route is the better one to take. Try diet, then extra fiber, and then use the others sparinging is my opinion. Even taking high doses of opioids daily, I've been able to manage the problem with that. It doesn't hurt to go see a GI-doc and see what they think, it may be a sign of something more serious happening and they will be in a better position to tell you what to do for long term management if that is an issue.

Old 05-28-2005, 08:09 AM   #9
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bilij HB User
Re: Chronic constipation caused by pain medication?

Thank you for all the informative replies I received. (Constipation was
never a problem as long as I was very active and on no medication.)
I think the suggestions you've given me are going to be the answer I
need. One thing that concerns me is that my mother spent the last 10
years of her life taking laxitives and worrying about her bowels moving.
I don't want to fall into that habit. Thanks again.

Old 05-28-2005, 09:55 AM   #10
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Re: Chronic constipation caused by pain medication?

Just want to give my 2 cents. My GI says that there is no evidence that any laxatives are addictive to the bowels. He gave me a study over 30 years that showed no addiction. That was interesting. Seems it has a mental component--worrying over it more than necessary--"must have one movement each day" kind of thing.

I take one tablespoon each night at bedtime of Milk of Magnesia and I stay ok. I have suffered constipation since childhood. I set the bottle and a glass of water next to the bed and it is the last thing I do before I go to sleep.

I've tried all kinds of stuff. GI said sometimes fiber will cause even worse problem with constipation since the bowel itself doesn't contract as it should and can "back up" all the fiber. It certainly was true in my case. I tried for months a regimen of drinking 8-8oz glasses of water each day and never helped any.

Bottom line (no laughing) is that my bowels just don't work properly and it had nothing to do with my diet, exercise or fiber--it had to do with bad nerve conduction. An endo showed my duodenum will hardly constrict and move at all. Ditto with the colon. It could be a problem for others as well. Of course if yours is just a med side effect, you could try the MOM and see what happens.

Old 01-29-2008, 02:00 PM   #11
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Re: Chronic constipation caused by pain medication?

hi i just have to say that i am actually on tramadol and so is one of my friends who is in hospital and i must say i have never had sever constipation but since i started takeing tramadol i have and the same with my friend i talked to my doctor and he said it is quit common and offered me soming called lactulose solution (to loses the stool) any ways sorry if this is to much info i just wanted to let you know that you are not alone and this is not abnormal also if you loook up the side effects on the facts sheet you should see that one of them is constipation.
talk to your doctor about lactulose solution i first has it perscribed to my son when he was 8 mounths old so it is very gentile and also effective.
any way hope this has been helpfull.

Old 01-30-2008, 06:06 AM   #12
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Backinthesaddle HB User
Re: Chronic constipation caused by pain medication?

Think I was born having this issue...but being on Tramadol for years it is worse. I eat nuts everyday. I also eat as high a fiber diet as possible. Usually works. Plus morning coffee gets it going.

Old 01-30-2008, 06:26 AM   #13
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miz1956 HB User
Re: Chronic constipation caused by pain medication?

I also suffer from chronic constipation. I have IBS and have had it for years. I used to take Zelnorm until they took it off the market. Now they have given me Amitiza. That helps but I also drink a glass of orange juice with a couple of tablespoons of ground up flax seeds every morning. I have to make sure to drink a lot of water as well otherwise the flax can cause problems.

Old 01-30-2008, 10:59 AM   #14
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Re: Chronic constipation caused by pain medication?

I tried the lactolose for about 6 months but it made me sick to my stomach so I quit. By the way, there is now a generic version* and an OTC* version (Miralax) so it is a lot cheaper than when I was taking it.
*in USA

Last edited by septemberwoman; 01-30-2008 at 11:03 AM.

Old 01-30-2008, 11:27 AM   #15
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2young2hurt HB User
Re: Chronic constipation caused by pain medication?

Try the yogurt that is for digestive health. There are a couple of brands. I buy Activia. Works wonders when I take pain medication that 'stops me up '

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