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BM's After Spine Surgery

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Old 09-27-2006, 10:34 AM   #1
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BM's After Spine Surgery

Hi all,

I had decompressive laminectomy on 3 levels on Sept 21 and am on my way to recovering and healing. I was aware that constipation can occur from laying around, from anesthesia, pain killers, etc...While I was in the hospital i was given stool softeners though I didnt have any BM's while there. I still take the stool softeners, drink alot, eating fruits, etc...but now it's been a whole week and I still havent had a bowel movement, nor have I even felt like I have to have one. My stomach seems quite bloated, though I dont seem to have pain coming from my intestines or stomach.

If I don't have one by tomorrow, I'm going to call my doctor....but was wondering if anyone else went so long before having a BM after surgery? Is there anything else I can try for it?

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Old 09-27-2006, 11:38 AM   #2
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Re: BM's After Spine Surgery

Constipation after surgery is very normal, especially if you are on pain medication now. It is important that you eat loads of high fiber and drink lots of water every single day, not just while in the hospital. Short term use of stool softners is OK just make sure it's only short term.

The doctor will probably tell you to do an enema and he may put you on a prescribed stool softener but those do take up to 4 days to become effective. You need to deal with the immediate problem first, adding a stool softener now won't do much for what's already there, if you know what I mean.

You can try over the counter Phosphate liquid, it tastes horrid but I assure you you will have relief within an hour or two. You could also do an enema yourself. Either way, you'll still need something to prevent it from happening again if you are on any type of pain medications because they are very constipating.

Good luck

Old 09-27-2006, 12:27 PM   #3
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Re: BM's After Spine Surgery


Here's what my back doctor told me to do after my surgery. You need a bottle of Phosphate of Magnesia and Senokot-S.

Pour the 10 or 12 oz. bottle of Phosphate of Magnesia over ice. Drink it and then drink at least the same amount of water. Then take a double dose of the Senekot-S. Then stay within 10 feet of a bathroom.

I got this recipe after I had gone 8 days without a BM. After I drank the concoction, it was less than 2 hours before my problem was solved.


Old 09-27-2006, 12:28 PM   #4
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Re: BM's After Spine Surgery

I had a decompressive laminectomy C4-C7 in sept 2005. I'd be interested to know more about yours since there are not many of us here. (you can research my earlier posts)

I had similar problems right after surgery from the Vicatin I assume, but normal for me has always been closer to 2-3 times a week anyway. But I've been making more of an effort to be aware of BM's. I did stool softeners for a while and I'll use a Corectol laxative if its been 4 days, but currently I'm doing ok with two Fibercon's in the morning and two fiber chewables at night.

Good luck.

Old 09-28-2006, 06:50 AM   #5
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Re: BM's After Spine Surgery

The General Anesthetic used in surgery and opiate pain medication depress smooth muscle activity and cause constipation and difficulty in urination. It can take up to 7 days for the effect of the GA to wear off. Doctors/nurses do a LOUSY job informing patients of this. Stool softeners are just about useless IMHO.

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