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Anybody experience bowel problems

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I know this is kinda a gross topic but i had discectomy/laminectomy on three levels 6 days ago and am experiencing constipation. had not gone since being released and took enema this morning and citric magnesium drink and got good cleaning today. my concern is not having the urge to go the last few days as i know discs can push on nerves that control bowels. pre op had no uncontrolled bowel movements, took like 40 percocet week leading up to surgery and needed stool softners to help with constipation.

Has anybody else had this problem. i am not taking pain meds. also im thinking even tho i took laxitives i still knew when the urge was coming and able to make it in time. gives me reason to think everything is ok but would like feedback.

Other than that i feel the best i have in 6 months. pain scale in leg is 0 and stil gaining strength. only pain is in incision area and that is only when i sit down or get up and is very low on pain scale. so i am claiming a healing for my back. God is in control


  • Yes, this is very common. I experienced pretty much the same thing for the first few days. Needed a little extra "help" in going. I took stool softeners I believe for the first 4 or 5 days. If you have any concerns, call the DR. That is always the best.

    Good luck and God bless.

  • Been there, done that. I was told it was caused by all the pain killers. I have to take a stool softener occasionally for relief. Hope you feel better soon!
  • I had it last several months from the pain meds. I just take a tablespoon of milk of magnesia at bedtime and that solves it. But it took my system several months to get back to normal.
  • to cure constipation (which by the way with opiates is very normal) I tried eating more fruits and vegetables, drank V-8 Fusion (no pun intended lol, I think they made this juice just for us fusion patients),... took all the OTC products only giving me cramps and stomach aches, OR having to go potty at the wierdest times of day. I accidentally found out how well 2-Omega 3, 1200mg of Fish Oil capsules worked!

    My husband was told to take them for "heart health". I decided when we bought them to start taking them, (oh by the way I had a three level fusion). I thought "what the heck, their good for your heart and brain, they could only be good for me". So I added them to my daily regiment of a multi-vitamin, Citrical+D, extra vitamin D, (gotta give our bodies all the help in the world to heal our fusions) B-12 complex, B+ and of course a percocet.

    Low and behold, I found that if I take one in the morning, and 1 in the evening, I go regularly everyday in the morning. And it's good for you!!! And natural.

    Give it a try!
  • ...is what I had & still sometimes do...more like you describe, asj, knowing you need to go, but lacking the "feeling" or urge or being afraid to push too hard against the surgery site and/or hardware...don't know if that makes sense?
    Anyway, great ideas here...keep hydrated, keep walking gently, etc to keep things moving & yes the combo of surgery, the anesthetics & the opioids will also slow things down..
    After 3 years now, my "recipe" is colace, metamucil, graham crackers, fruit/veggies, lots of water & occasionally, a suppository if needed....still have trouble "feeling" when done (as you suggest) but keep experimenting..it gets better, or at least you get used to it & keep your doc informed if it doesn't improve. The fish oil sounds good, too!
    It's a very common side effect of surgery at any levels below L3, as those nerves help control your "saddle area" and the sensations there. Mine improved somewhat, but I think after all this time now, it's permanent. You adjust.

    I don't think this is TMI, as it seems everyone on this thread has deal w/ this.
    Good luck all!
    Just another part of the whole Spiney personailty now!
  • I had the same problem after my surgery. I was released from hospital without a BM on 12/23 and did not have one until 12/31 with some assistance of the Citric Magnesium. I bought this stuff called Sedocot (hopefully I said that right) which is a natural laxative on the market for people who take medications that cause constipation. Ironically, I haven't had to use it yet. You also may want to eat cereals with fiber. Someone mentioned fresh fruit and veggies which is important. Prunes are also good. I don't like prune juice but I can eat regular prunes.
  • even w/o surgery & meds, so I need something that works a little more than just eating more fiber & drinking more.
    I eat tons of fruit & veggies (love prunes)! :D

    So here's my trick. I take stool softeners twice a day plus I drink a miralax everyday. If I skip a day, I am in trouble :S .
    Nothing has worked as well as miralax. It used to be percription but is now available over the counter. It WILL do the trick but depending on the severity can take 4 days to work :W ..so this is something you will have to work with to find what works for you. W/O meds I only need to take it twice a week...but for now it is daily.
  • Had the same problem. I didn't go for 9 days after surgery!! Sennokot worked like a charm. took 2 Sennakot at about noon and got relief by nighttime.

    I needed to take 2 Sennakot twice a day to manage it, but I finally got regulated and now I only take 1 stool softener at bedtime,\

    Hope you are feeling better!!
  • After the back surgery it took a whole month, "i kept a record" before i had a BM. The doctor told me to double up on the softeners and that didn't help. It was grapes and more grapes that did the trick! I guess each person's body handles it differently. Take care and have a really great day.

    Evelyn :H
    Had PLIF in 2008 and a Laminectomy. One level fusion, L4-L5.
  • i think it happens to everybody after surgery, majority of it is due to the anesthesia. and pain meds administered during hospital stay. it will soon regulate some of us take longer to adapt to changes in our system. Good Luck hope your back to normal movements soon.
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