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Constipation from drugs

mrleemmrlee Posts: 67
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
How many spinal patients have problems with constipation. Nearly all drugs for pain and muscle relaxers have this strong side effects. I am curious how often are you affected with this problem and what all do you do to treat and manage this problem. Please be serious with your response. This is not an easy subject to discuss before everyone on the internet. Thanks


  • I have IBS-C (C for constipation), therefore, taking these meds makes it even worse. I take stool softners with laxative stimulate 2 everyday and about 1 a week or 1 every other week, I have to take extra laxatives on top of all that. I eat a diet high in fiber too. I don't like miralax although it seemed to help. It makes me gassy and bloated. I remember after my fusion, I couldn't go to the bathroom for 6 days and it was aweful! Good luck to you.
  • to get some sort of laxative or stool softner. I didnt take it seriously like big deal right... Oh ya I was so sick and ended up in the ER, I have never been sick. So honestly speaking Its a problem if its gets to far along. Cyndi
  • Yes, constipation has been problematic. For the most part, grape juice seems to help. I also use cranberry, cran/rasberry, cran/strawberry - 100% juice, not the corn syrup cocktails.

    I definitely need to stay away from Starbuck's Hot Chocolate. Chocolate is high in theobromine. Theobromine has a relaxing effect on the vagus nerve and certain other nerves in the body. It relaxes so much that it seems to stop the nerves around the colon. I also need to avoid beef. Not sure if these things are specific to my chemistry or not.
    On a bad day, I'll use Milk of Magnesia when I know I'll be home for the next 6 hours. Fortunely, it's been 6 weeks since I've had to do that. Juices are working for me, along with avoiding chocolate and beef. Hope this helps.
  • Hello mrlee,
    This can become a serious problem for those of us on pain meds and/or muscle relaxers. I had such a problem with it about 18 months ago I had to see a gastroenterologist. He told me to take Miralax and that was working just fine until recently when I became very bloated and gassy. It coincided with me starting a new medication so maybe that caused it. I now use Dulcolax stool softener.
    Don't let it become a problem, if you can help it.
    Fused L2-3 to S1 and at C5-6. I have a central herniation @ T11-12 and multiple bulging discs in my thoracic. I also have fibromyalgia and suspected arachnoiditis, awaiting my results of a recent MRI.
  • Miralax is the only thing that works for me. I like that it does not cause any cramping like stimulant laxatives can.
    Everyone is different of course, so you may have to try several of our suggestions to find what works for you ;) .
  • MrLee, this is a common problem as you can see by the responses. I took colace 200 mg a day, miralax in juice at bedtime, and dulcolax suppository if things got really bad. I was practically begging for an enema in the hospital, but they gave me dulcolax and it finally worked on the 4th one :''( Yep TMI, but these are serious issues we Spineys face. I also ditched the iron I was taking as I was only on it as a preventative measure. Some foods I found helpful were raisin bran, plumsmart juice(yummy prune alternative I learned from a fellow Spiney), dried apricots, nuts, and fresh fruit. This problem should get better as you wean off the meds as able. Oh, and walking is good for stimulating your GI motility as well, and it helps your spine as well. Good luck, hope everything comes out okay, =)) , JK....
    >:D< Cali-Sue
  • 1st of all, I believe in pushing lots of water and juices and any non-alcoholic non-caffeinated beverages. Eat lots of fruits if you can. Avoid bananas and yogurt and cheese as they constipate you.

    Med-wise: I like Colace every day. It is a stool softener, not a laxative and is very inexpensive, you can buy it at walmart in their brand for just a couple of bucks. Peri-colace is a stool softener that is also a laxative. Be careful the last thing you want is to be running to the bathroom all of the time with a sore back.
    I like to take Sennakot because it helps counteract the constipating effect of narcotics.

    When I am totally completely desparate, I drink Magnesium Sulfate. Half a bottle should do you. It tasts like selter water. Once again, I know walmart sells it for less than $2 a bottle. It comes in a green glass bottle and is bets tolerated if you can refridgerate it a bit before drinking it. Make sure you have NO plans to go anywhere when you drink it. I try to take a soothing, relaxing bath while I drink it or put a heating pad on my belly-I think it helps relax things a bit. I hope you do not have to resort to this, but just in case, it's there.

    I find just taking a couple of colace pills a day and increasing my juice and water helps a lot. Remember benanas, yogurt, and cheese constipate. Some folks are brave enough to eat prunes, can't quite make myself do that one!!!! :)

    Good luck to you. This is a problem that every single one of us faces and tries to avoid. If simple measure are not working, ask your doctor(trust me, they hear it all of the time) what they recommend.
  • Prune juice is just awful-IMO-but I drink an 8oz glass every night.It's helped,along with fish oil.I also use a gentle laxative that my Dr advised,but can't remember what it's called right now(and I'm out-lol).

    Miralax worked,but like Ming,it also made me VERY bloated and extremely uncomfortable.

    I doubt it if anyone on these forums would take this less than serious-it's a good question and many of us are looking for better ways to be comfortable.

    Of course they say fruits & veggies,but I eat a lot of that (usually) and I don't seem to get any relief at all from them! Actually,I'm a little frustrated these past few days myself :??
  • I have a mild form of IBS and regularly take a heaping tablespoon of Metamucil in the morning as well as eating All Bran Buds (high fiber) to stay regular.

    After my surgery, for the first 2-3 weeks, in addition to the above items I also took Colace in the morning and a small dose of Miralax before bed.

    From the time of my surgery on a Monday morning until Saturday morning, I was unable to go and was obviously quite uncomfortable. The combination of everything above finally helped after that first time.
  • is the absolute best I have found after trying numerous products, vegi's, fruit, V-8 fusion, you name it I tried it. Quite by accident I found taking 2400mg of Fish Oil each day ROCKS!!! no cramps, no diarrea, no needing to go at wierd times, just normal!!

    I am almost 1 year post a 3 level fusion, and STILL (arrrggggg, I hate em') have to take 3 percocets per day.

    I take one tablet of the fish oil in the morning and one tablet before bed, and I've been "back to normal" for months! Give it a try...

    Upside: they're also good for your brain and heart!
  • my "normal" seems to be anywhere from every 3-5 days...and I'm happy...when I got a colonoscopy last year, the gastroenterologist said that if you're not going at least every two days, then you run the risk of problems down the road...personally, I'll take hoe I'm going now...since getting home from my fusion three weeks ago, I've been doing a dose of Miralax every morning and 2 Senokot-S for the first week...then I had to cut back to Miralax every three days...sucks because "keeping regular" on narcotics is not cheap
  • Mr Lee, I do not know your age, but just FYI fish oil has been linked to spontaneous subdurals(bleeding in the brain) in older males(like 70 plus.) Just fyi.
  • used citric magnesium to clean out system.
    then started stool softner named ducolax, sis in law recommended it and she is a pro, unfortunately wears a colostomy bag but ducolax works. i didnt go for 6 days
  • I use 200 mg Colace and Milk of Magnesia. I drink lots of water and try to be a little active. Prune juice is good especially heated in the microwave. Even a fleet enema if necessary. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • they look like bird food =)) but they are fantastic a spoonfull in the morning and in two weeks you will be regular like a clock. Effects after the second day and drink plenty of fluids, lots of water!
    I copied their properties here:
    Main article:
    Linseed oil
    Flax seeds contain high levels of lignans and Omega-3 fatty acids. Lignans may benefit the heart, possess anti-cancer properties and studies performed on mice found reduced growth in specific types of tumors. Initial studies suggest that flaxseed taken in the diet may benefit individuals with certain types of breast and prostate cancers.Flax may also lessen the severity of diabetes by stabilizing blood-sugar levels. There is some support for the use of flax seed as a laxative due to its dietary fiber content though excessive consumption without liquid can result in intestinal blockage. Consuming large amounts of flax seed can impair the effectiveness of certain oral medications, due to its fiber content.

  • I will be 55 in june. I have never liked oral stimulants or laxatives for they seem to only make things worse. Gas, crampping, torn-up stomach, then leads to diarhhea.
    My last 3 to 4 trips in a hospital, they always start off with the oral laxatives. I always end up right, telling them the only thing that will work is a large volume enema.
    Then they give in after I consume all those bitter tasting things with a Fleet enema. This gives me some releif. I still end up going home and having to take a Large Volume Enema. It does not look like any of my spiney friends have this problem. If so, please respond with thoughts, feelings, likes or dislikes. Thanks to all for your input.
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