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Old 12-30-2008, 03:30 AM   #1
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Strange bowel problem.. help please?

It looks like severe constipation, which I had 8 months ago to almost a state of impaction, has returned this week. But there's a few oddities about it.

Here's the basic description:
1) Uncomfortable feelings of bloating and fullness down there, but almost no natural urge to have a bowel movement, even 3 days since my last movement
2) When I try to have a bowel movement, things feel blocked or "immobile" and straining seems to make it worse
3) The straining causes all sorts of weird pulling sensations especially in my back/neck/head, and if I strain too hard, my heartbeat increases and I feel as if I could faint... so I'm automatically prevented from straining

This time I tried bailing myself out with a suppository, twice in the last three days, and I STILL can't go. With the suppository I can only get rid of a meager amount. Again, the straining "prevents" me from going all the way, because when I strain my entire body has this muscle strain feeling which makes me feel faint and my heartrate gets rapid.

I have had constipation problems my whole life, but it's only gotten "extreme" like this in the last two years. I'm now 27 years old.

As mentioned I had an episode of mild impaction (like this one is beginning to look like) before, to which I went to the doctor for advice. He said to have high fiber cereals/grains every day and to take a stool softener every day, which I do. In this latest episode, I've been having two full bowls of oatmeal a day, a stool softener every day, and more fibrous foods at lunch and dinner. I tried the suppositories. Nothing is working out!

When I saw the doc 8 months ago, he said to use Milk of Magnesia if I get really constipated again. But i refuse because I hate stimulant laxatives that work over 12 hour periods. Not to mention stimulant laxatives usually just give me a feeling to go, and then I can't go.

The one similarity in diet this new episode has with the last episode, is that I was drinking excessive amounts of coffee both times. Could this have anything to do with it?

Please help. I'm out of ideas...

(Can I safely take 3-4 stool softeners [docusate calcium] every day? My doc said I should try 3 a day last time, but I settled on one per day, because the box says "only use until constipation is cleared up." I assume this is because there must be a risk?)

 
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Old 12-30-2008, 06:14 AM   #2
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Re: Strange bowel problem.. help please?

Hi Bill! So sorry that you are feeling so poorly with the consipation. That is very frustrating. I have been there. I have found that drinking coffee for me is a natural laxative. It makes me go all day long. That is why I am curious to why it isn't working for you. What kinds of foods are in your diet?

I also wonder...have you had them look up in there. Like a colonoscopy? Sometimes there might be an area that is kind of closed that maybe they can stretch. Also sometimes the longer something is in there is becomes more compact. I think there are procedures where they can go in there and flush it out. Did you try metamucil? That is suppose to help.. I usually have the opposite problem so I don't pull out the metamucil very often.

Hang in there! You will get it figured out.

 
Old 12-30-2008, 06:15 AM   #3
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Re: Strange bowel problem.. help please?

For avoiding this problem in the future, you need fruit and vegetables, not just grains. Whole fruits especially are very good, juice is useless.

You want a laxative that works fast? Buy some sugar-free chocolate, and eat the whole package. Aim for 20-70 grams of sorbitol, (identified on the label as sugar alcohol), depending on your sensitivity to the stuff.

The weird reactions to straining are actually normal. There are people who've fainted from it, though, so backing off is a good idea.

 
Old 12-30-2008, 11:10 AM   #4
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Re: Strange bowel problem.. help please?

Yes, you can take 3-4 stool softeners a day. But they are softeners....Have you taken something like one of the overnight laxatives? Such as Duralax? It should help you overnight. OR use a Fleets enema and that should also help.

I would also suggest that in addition to adding fruits and veggies to your diet that you add Miralax daily. It is OTC and you can get it at Target, Walmart, Costco. It was by script but has just in the last year been released. You stir in water or juice and it has no taste or mouth feel. within three days you should start seeing results. Take it daily and it should help with you going poo every day.

Apples, broccoli, carrots. All good things to eat that will help with the fiber intact. The coffee has a natural laxative in it so I'm surprised that it hasn't helped you go also...And a good 64 oz. of fluid a day in addition to the normal intact that you drink with meals...

Oh, I have a friend who is a nurse who swears that in the nursing home they use a warm glass of prune juice. She says that they don't know what it is about it, but warming the prune juice in the microwave seems to do the trick. It's worth a try for you at this point....

Last edited by ibake&pray; 12-30-2008 at 11:12 AM.

 
Old 12-30-2008, 06:58 PM   #5
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Re: Strange bowel problem.. help please?

At this stage you need to take Miralax and drink several glasses of water during the day. Like others said, it should work well and does not cause cramping like other laxatives do.

Miralax is what they gave me recently for the prep before a colonoscopy.

I have been taking Miralax plus a stool softener for the past 3 years and it works well, no more straining needed, back to normal again. There is no taste to Miralax. I had constipation problems all my life until the gastro doctor prescribed Miralax. Miralax is now over the counter, cheaper at Costco.

Avoid constipating foods and pain medications as much as possible.

 
Old 12-31-2008, 12:16 AM   #6
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Re: Strange bowel problem.. help please?

thanks for the advice all, yes excessive coffee makes my problem a lot worse rather than better, and I have no natural urge to have a bowel movement anymore except for feelings of fullness/bloating, that's why I said this is a strange problem. I tend to not even "feel" anything down there sometimes, although numbness in any part of my body is now normal for me.

This is not an ordinary case of constipation, but something more. Due to no health insurance, and no way to get it because my entire range of health problems (bowels are half the problem; neurological symptoms are now a greater problem) prevents me from getting decent employment. I'd go for testing but I can't afford them. All I can get is the basic stuff.

I read up on MiraLax briefly and saw that it should be used with caution if you have IBS and it should not be used for more than 7 days. Maybe that's just the ordinary OTC disclaimer? I guess since you all rave about it, it must really work eh?

I'm going to try a fleet enema ASAP, although i must admit that in the last episode of impaction, these only did a mediocre job at best. this is ridiculous isn't it?

 
Old 12-31-2008, 08:54 AM   #7
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Re: Strange bowel problem.. help please?

Bill,

I use Mirlax EVERY DAY. I am on heavy duty pain meds which are constipating. Miralax is a daily companion for me. My doctor told me to take it every day, so I don't put much stock in the don't use longer than 7 day business.......

 
Old 12-31-2008, 09:19 AM   #8
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Re: Strange bowel problem.. help please?

Do you eat a lot of cheese and dairy? Cheese will bind a lot of my relatives up pretty badly.

My youngest had troubles pooping when she was an infant. There were times when we had to help it out for her. He doctor said to try pear juice instead of prune juice, and lo and behold, it worked wonders.

 
Old 12-31-2008, 05:09 PM   #9
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Re: Strange bowel problem.. help please?

I totally agree with Misty 800 - Miralax will usualy cure your problem! My grandson had a terrible problem and his doctor had him taking Miralax at least 3x a day. It worked by the end of the day. Ask your doctor about this. I think you'll like the results! mabent

 
Old 12-31-2008, 10:46 PM   #10
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Re: Strange bowel problem.. help please?

A question about Miralax real quick, does it increase frequency of bowel movements or mostly make it easier to go?

I've always been a once every 2 or 3 days kind of person. While i definitely need something to relieve my problem, I'm not sure I'd want it if it acts like a stimulant laxative and/or gives me the urge every day. I'm looking for something to make things easier whenever I do have the urge, prevent straining, etc.

 
Old 01-01-2009, 11:01 AM   #11
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Re: Strange bowel problem.. help please?

Bill, you are wanting your cake and eat it too!!

Do you only eat food every 2 or 3 days? If so, maybe going every 2 or 3 days might be o.k. However, if you eat every day and 3 times a day you should go 1 or 2 times a day. Food in and food out! It is not healthy to have old stools sitting for days in your colon.

If food stays in you 2 or 3 days it will be more difficult to pass, it becomes packed hard stools.

Miralax helps soften and moisturize stools so they are easier to pass, this is the simple way of stating it. Yes, it does allow food to travel normally in the colon and you will have an urge during the day, usually shortly after a meal.

In my case, actually having the urge and cleaning out daily makes me feel better in general and better for my overall health. No, I do not like spending time in the bathroom but that is part of life, the way God designed us.

No, Miralax does not act like a harsh laxative causing the runs and having to make a quick trip to the bathroom and hope you make it. You will have a normal urge and time to go to the bathroom.

Once you get the problem solved, titrate the amount of Miralax to keep you on a regular schedule so you do not get clogged again.

Continuing to have hard to pass stools, straining, etc. will eventually cause hemmroids, internal and/or external. That can be very painful every time you pass stools for many years or for life time. You do not want that.

Remember, stay from constipating foods. Eat lots of vegetables, fruit, and drink lots of water, at least 8 glasses each day. A glass of hot water first thing in the morning will help also. This will help keep you regular AFTER you get unclogged.

 
Old 01-01-2009, 09:27 PM   #12
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Re: Strange bowel problem.. help please?

Im a CP patient, and take narcotics for my pain, and I do use the alot of the things the others have mentioned. I find when Im in a real bind, sorry for the pun, I will use three glycerin suppositories. All at once, and I can get relief in a few minutes, but I tend to wait so I can get better results.
If you have a BM right when you feel it, it tends to only empty the small amout of your bowels. If you can wait an hour of so, youll get a lot better results. Also, I put the supps in the sink and run warm/hot water over them before I insert them. It's a trick that really works, they work faster, and are a lot easier to insert. sorry for the graphic info, but it really does help. thats what we're here for!
Sorry if you've already tried this or someone has suggested it, forgive me, I didnt read clear back thru all of the posts, as Im wiped out and very tired. Please let me know if you have any questions, Ill check back in the morning. I hope you can get some help here and get things worked out.
xoxoxoxo,
IZZY'SMOM

 
Old 01-02-2009, 12:08 AM   #13
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Re: Strange bowel problem.. help please?

I managed to "go" a day or two ago for those concerned, so i think I'll be okay for now..

About MiraLax and my disdain for having a regular habit (daily): there's more to this than meets the eye.

I have some unknown health problems that manifest as neurological symptoms, and I notice that having a bowel movement makes these symptoms a lot worse.. it definitely sounds bizarre, but that's the truth. The day after I have a bowel movement is hell in a lot of ways, not to mention I also have unpleasant feelings in my bowels too.. which sounds strange since one would think being "unclogged" would relax things down there? Not in my case..

So in this way, going once every 3 days works out for me. The 2nd and 3rd day without going and my neurological symptoms aren't so bad, then the 1st day after going, my symptoms flare up again.

This is the kind of thing you can't really tell anyone without them suspecting hypochondria, but the thing is, I'm not making it up!

It's probably a long shot, but has anyone ever heard of such a thing?

 
Old 01-02-2009, 10:29 AM   #14
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Re: Strange bowel problem.. help please?

Hey, I'm not going to tell you what is or isn't possible for your body. However, you might find that if you become more regular, bowel movements will be easier on you.

 
Old 01-09-2009, 12:10 AM   #15
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Re: Strange bowel problem.. help please?

Well for those interested, here's an update.

I took the MiraLax advice. Used the recommended dose, dissolved fully in room temperature water, and took it once daily. I also took my usual stool softener, Docusate calcium, once per day. Throughout this period I still had a lot of fiber every day. I always drink a lot of water, every day, as well.

The first three days on MiraLax, I still couldn't go until the 3rd day, not to mention there was still some straining (albeit not to an extreme, thank God.) I kept the same regimen for the next 3 days. Again, I *still* couldn't go until the 3rd day.. and still there was some straining involved, and the bowel movement felt incomplete (a lot of ribbon-shaped stool, not so much in the way of "normal.")

I don't think MiraLax has helped enough to merit continued use. As it happens I'm done the 7 days (I got the small container that contains only enough for 7 doses) on it, and don't think I'll be plunking down that cash again for it. Throughout 7 days of use and still I only went twice--and incompletely, at that?

What should I try next?

 
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