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Curious why so many comments about constipation?

Annie-mAAnnie-m Posts: 108
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:52 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Is this something that can be a side effect of the surgery or what? I have never had that problem ever before. Will I be likely to have that problem afterward too?

ALIF April 2011 but it turns out I broke before it barely fused.
L4-L5 posterior fusion December 2013


  • From most narcotic pain medications. Also depending on type of surgery, I had ALIF, messes with all those abdominal organs & intestines.

  • Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh, gotcha

    ALIF April 2011 but it turns out I broke before it barely fused.
    L4-L5 posterior fusion December 2013
  • Narcotics constipate a person. Some really bad.

    I am having the opposite effect ever since I had a pain pump implant. Strange.....
    Patsy W
  • annie
    I am sure that everyone reacts a little differently to narcotics bu tit is well know that they generally turn the bowels to concrete - my advise is to insist on getting some kind of laxative and stool softener as soon as the nurses will give it to you - when I got home I found that taking 4 senakot in teh am and 4 in the pm, plus double dose of stool softener was the only fix - remember that your insides are cut and moved so not only does the intestines get frozen by anesthetic but also gets trauma from being moved - trying to push in these conditions hurts! - also drinkas much water as you can possibly manage.

    Just my 2c worth and please ask your dr for his guidance/dosage on medicines.
  • Anasthesia slows the bowels down. It can take a while to get them working again. Also, any time the intestines are manipulated as they are in ALIF, they "freak out" and slow down almost to a halt. Both of these situations on top of narcotics can cause a huge problem with constipation.
  • Now I know why my pre-op paperwork said to start eating soft foods the day before. Good golly this just isn't going to be fun is it! 8}

    ALIF April 2011 but it turns out I broke before it barely fused.
    L4-L5 posterior fusion December 2013
  • 1. It's the drugs both from surgery and the ones you take after for pain. That causes constipation.

    2. Constipation causes a lot of pain for someone who just had lumbar surgery. And some who had a micro/discectomy or similar can actually mess up that surgery by getting too badly constipated.

    You want to avoid it by taking one of several laxative and stool softeners.

  • Yes everyone is on point with constipation caused by narcotics but also it is a side-effect from lower spinal surgeries. Honestly this is my second go at this surgery process and I would rather have my surgery 50 times than to be constipated. What helped me a lot of the stool softener at first but I had to let them go because I didn't have the same assistance after a while. So I turned to fruits that are good at digestion. This included:

    Prunes or prune juice
    Lots of water especially with a lemon in there (this helped me the most- I was drinking amount 6 glasses of this alone)
    Warm milk

    Whatever you do stay away from fruits that can constipate- interesting enough apples and cranberry are within that category. Hope this help to answer your question and anyone who needed this answer.
  • .....I guess it's time to start making smoothies... :(

    ALIF April 2011 but it turns out I broke before it barely fused.
    L4-L5 posterior fusion December 2013
  • Whatever you decide to take to help with the constipation, whether it is stool softeners, laxatives, or fruits, pick one and stick with it. After both of my back surgeries I just stuck with stool softeners and soft foods and I was ok, but after I got my gallbladder taken out I mixed laxatives and prune juice at the same time because the constipation was so bad, and I ended up throwing it all up instead. Somebody told me the mix of the two is not a good idea. So I would pick one form of stool softener/laxative and stay with just that one.

    Good luck with surgery and recovery!
  • Yes you will most likely be constipated! Narcotic medications usually do that. Plus the stress on the body during surgery. I was given stool softeners while in the hospital and took them when I got home and was still pretty constipated.
    ACDF C4-5 June 23rd, 2011

    Another surgery in the near future. I am 26 years old.

    Current Meds- Norco 7.5/325, Cymbalta 60mg, Gabapentin, Adderall 20mg
  • Narcotics, surgery and whether or not they have to move your intestines around during surgery. Takes awhile for the body to get back to normal after surgery and then you are on painkillers which just continue the constipation.

    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
  • Glad I read this thread. I'm now 5 days post op and haven't had a bowel movement in 6 or 7 days. They are giving me colace twice a day. I'm passing gas but nothing else. I'm also ordering fruits and veggies with my meals, while still in the hospital. I've been getting up to walk around, but no luck yet. Anything else they should be giving me, or is it a matter of waiting it out? I typically don't go every day, but it's never more than 2, maybe 3, days in between.
  • I think it is called in the states (here we have Restoralax, Clearlax, Laxaday)

    This has been the only thing that has helped me since I began taking narcotics over a year ago. You mix it with any drink or yogurt. I take it once a day. It takes a couple of days to start working, but then if you continue to take it daily, it works very well. I tried may other things before it (colace,exlax, fleets,magnisium citrate) and nothing helped.

    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • Has anyone had to turn to an enema for relief and is that dangerous to your system? I didn't take the stool softener in the hospital as offererd by the nurse because I had no idea I had to!! If someone had said no you have to take this or you will regret it, I would have. Btw s1 through l4 on oxy since I've been home I've "gone" twice but Small amounts, I drink over 42 oz of water a day plus hot lemon juice have been take two colace at night one in the a,.m, this is an embarrassing subject for me not good with body stuff ....husband suggested
    an enema would clear me out. I don't eat meat I'm a five meal whole grain and veg kind of girl so food isn't the issue. Since I've been home not even very hungry for much of anything. Trying. Oatmeal whole foods etc. Ideas? Have others tried enemas? I mean. I know people who used to pay a lot of money for colonics....I'm not that person but think I'd feel a lot better if I wasn't so bloated!!!!

  • Pain meds will wreak havoc with your bowels. It's nothing to be shy about. My guess is everyone on this site has dealt with it.

    Fleet Suppositories never let me down! I'd recommend that to use.

    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
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