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Is This Normal? Can't Pass Gas or Poop

I had a X-RAY and CT that both indicate moderate spondylosis at L1/L2 and L5/S1. One ER doctor told me that I needed surgery. Instead I have been directed tot eh "Pain Management Clinic" that based on their rules seems more like a methadone clinic with photo ID's and random UA's. I am a business man and nothing more.

To the point, I have been placed on Ibuprofen, Tylenol, 30mg of Oxycodone every 4 hours, and Methocarbamol every 6 hours, plus a 12 hour Lidoderm 5% patch. I have great difficulty expelling gas now and any straining to defecate causes painful spasms. Fast water enemas, meaning that I don't let them stay in but a moment, allow me to expel rounded balls of poop.

I cannot get guidance from medical professionals and don't know what more to do.

Is it the medications? Will normal function allow if I manage to get epidural shots or otherwise stop all of the medications?


  • Im guessing its the medications. Try stool stofners everyday...even if you start to go normally. Higher fiber...more water...that kind of thing....
    Spine-Health Moderator 
    Ankylosing Spondylitis
    Bulging discs T12-L3
    Annular Tears with Disc Extrusion L4-S1
    Moderate Central Canal Stenosis
    Moderate Foraminal Stenosis
    Enlarged Facet Joints/Ligaments
    Spinal enthesopathy
    L4-L/5 PLIF with cages, rods, screws 2/15 

  • Welcome
    Having issues going to the bathroom can be due to the medications
    but it also can be the start of other problems with your stomach and
    bowels. Do you have any bloating, nausea etc. How long has this been
    going on? Believe me I have been
    down that road and you do not want to
    get where I am today. So whatever you do be safe and if you don't get answers from
    your Doctor pursue seeing a Doctor that does deal with stomach and bowel.
    I have seen two now and going to my third next week to get my problems under
    control. Just trying to encourage you to not stop until you have answers.
    I did not think much of it when I had that problem and let it go on and on,
    which was a mistake. I am not trying to scare you just want you to be pro-active
    and get it resolved. I use Miralax and it works wish I would have known about it
    sooner but your Doctor needs to be the one who you talk to.
    Take care of yourself and wish you the best
  • The major things you need to do is look for signs of an ileus or obstruction. Those can be very serious....most of the time it is just simple constipation from the meds, but of course see your doctor.
    Spine-Health Moderator 
    Ankylosing Spondylitis
    Bulging discs T12-L3
    Annular Tears with Disc Extrusion L4-S1
    Moderate Central Canal Stenosis
    Moderate Foraminal Stenosis
    Enlarged Facet Joints/Ligaments
    Spinal enthesopathy
    L4-L/5 PLIF with cages, rods, screws 2/15 

  • As distasteful as this topic is JillyBean being forthcoming can only help.

    I have increased my water intake and tried to eat. But I am not hungry much of the time. I am on Oxycodone 30mg every 4 hours, Ganapentin, Robaxin and Ibuprofen and Tylenol. I am fed up taking the meds. I am also very fearful of a painful surgery. I was forced onto MediCal when I tried changing my Anthem/Blue Cross health plan.

    The increase in water has helped and I have been able to expel more than before. But it is painful and strains my legs and back, which in turn bring on spasms of the back. The 60cc water enima, inserted with a 60cc syringe with a rubber tips from a Fleets applicator, works faster and without strain. I don't let it linger but immediately expel it. My biggest fear is muscle atrophy, but it appears that I still have at least some intact. I can hold gas but it is harder to get rid of.

    All of this I guess most readers have experienced. I am stuck with over worked PA's at the local clinic with little time for discussion or advice.
  • Honestly taking stool softners regularly is the best thing you can do as well...I take two in the morning and sometimes two at night...Even after you start becoming regular I would still take them in the morning. Idk about you, but all my injuries are low (lumbar region) and It seriously makes me want to cry trying to have a BM because it pushes against all of my injuries....its horrible...
    Spine-Health Moderator 
    Ankylosing Spondylitis
    Bulging discs T12-L3
    Annular Tears with Disc Extrusion L4-S1
    Moderate Central Canal Stenosis
    Moderate Foraminal Stenosis
    Enlarged Facet Joints/Ligaments
    Spinal enthesopathy
    L4-L/5 PLIF with cages, rods, screws 2/15 

  • I have history with this issue and after it progressed to the point
    that my stomach was so inflamed and other issues I went to a specialist
    and he said taking stool softeners is alright now and then but when
    having a bowel movement with other stomach issues it could be something
    more serious. I started out that way and did all the right things diet, drinking water,
    walking but it just got worse over a period of time and the thing is you don't
    realize the damage that can be done without knowing it. Also using stool softeners
    and enemas too much the body looses the ability to do so on it's own in time.
    A specialist can work with you to help you with a good diet, medicine to promote
    bowel movements etc. that is who you should be talking too. I never realized
    when I had trouble going to the bathroom how screwed up your stomach and bowels
    can become.
    Just my advice and I am sorry you are having that problem on top of everything else.
  • a large bowl of Trix has helped me sooo much. Also taking
    magnesium 500 mg supplements once a day. Talk to you doctor first.
  • Narcotics can definitely cause constipation. If your symptoms started after taking the medications, that could be the cause. Most people take a laxative /stool softener while on those meds ( that's what my Dr recommended). You want to be careful with self enemas so you don't damage or irritate the lining of your colon. If it's just constipation you're dealing with ( I've dealt with it since starting narcotics) I agree that a high fiber diet, staying hydrated, and taking a stool softener or laxative can help. Maintaining a healthy diet, continue to move and I've also tried a magnesium supplement which has helped as well. Most recently I started Activia Greek with probiotics to help my overall digestive track. Try to stay away from foods that can add to the constipation. It's best to be safe and check with your Dr. because you're not even able to pass gas. However, it's very common for narcotics to cause constipation, especially at higher doses like your Oxycodone. Miralax is what I use now because it's more gentle on the GI tract. It's the same laxative that was recommended for my 8 year old daughter by her Dr because it's a safer one to use. I have severe lumbar pain so constipation is a nightmare. If you prefer to stay away from laxatives ( I go back and forth with using them), try changing your diet, you can try a natural magnesium and /or fiber supplement, stay hydrated and continue to move. If you continue having problems then make sure you find a Dr that will address those concerns. Watch out for blood in the stool, abdominal pain, and vomiting. Those can be signs of a more serious problem.
    Progressive DDD
    Chronic S1 Radiculopathy
    Discectomy L5-S1 2002
    Discectomy, Laminotomy/Foraminotomy L3-S1 January 2014
    Bilateral SI Joint Fusion and 2 level spinal Fusion October 2014
  • krazybobkkrazybob Posts: 53
    edited 03/08/2015 - 6:04 PM
    It seems like you have all gone through and some are going through it. It makes me feel better knowing that I am not alone. But I also feel empathy for the group. It sucks being in so much pain before and after surgery and that medication cause constipation. Surgery makes it worse? What about the minimally invasive surgery; does it have a better outcome?

    I think that my biggest issue is solid intake. I tend to eat Jello and have little desire for anything else. Right now I have a submarine sandwich and potato salad for dinner. I skipped church today and just slept after not sleeping last night. I also take Trazadone 100mg and Ambien 10mg. The Trazadone usually makes me hungry like after smoking dope.

    I tried smoking pot on a couple occasions but I did not like the feeling of spinning. I thought that it would relax me and make me hungry. Not the case.

    I see the clinic doctor soon and I'll try to get him to slow down a bit and talk.
  • krazybobkkrazybob Posts: 53
    edited 03/09/2015 - 1:35 AM
    I hate to double up posts, but...

    For clarification I am able to expel gas but not as easily. I am also eating carrots, celery, tomatoes, etc. in lieu of hamburgers and the like. Oh Lord would I love a real char broiled, in your face hamburger with golden brown onion rings! Sadly, I live in the mountains 2 hours east of Los Angeles next to a ski resort. Mind you I am not wealthy and have no choice at this point of choosing doctors easily. As ridiculous as it sounds one cannot get a subsidy on the Obama Care plan unless one makes $47k or better for a family of two. It is just me and my 13 year old daughter, a cancer survivor. I do own my own business and can afford the insurance.

    At any rate, I am trying to change my diet and at the same time stretch out the time between med doses. The doctor has me taking Ibuprofen 800mg every 4 hours. I like my kidneys and liver! I didn't mention that I also tale Ativan every 12 hours but as a Benzodiazipine I am trying to drop that along with weaning myself off of Oxycodone. It seems to me that if the surgery is as painful as ("severe pain for 1-3 weeks following surgery" I need a break on pain meds if I am to have any relief after surgery. Lastly, I wear a Fentanyl patch 100mcg and change it every 72 hours. I am taking a stool softener but as I've said I am not eating solids enough and if there isn't anything to process there isn't anything to poop.

    There. Full disclosure.

    Have each of you had the Laminectomy or have any of you had what sounds like a more reasonable micro surgery?

  • Taking stool softeners and other things is a quick fix but you can
    really run into some issues if it continues, Doug mentioned some of them
    What I said before is those issues can lead to serious problems and it
    happens without you even realizing it, so see
    a stomach Doctor make sure there isn't something more serious that has
    resulted from it. I wish I would have when I was battling that problem. My GP
    told me to increase fiber, drink lots of water, exercise etc. and still had issues.
    I found out my stomach was inflamed so just as a cautionary step I would suggest
    eliminating other problems.
    Just my advice
    Take care
  • Doug HellDoug Hell Posts: 335
    edited 03/10/2015 - 4:43 AM
    - Do physical exercise to stimulate the movement of waste through your intestines.
    - Drink at least 8 glasses of fluid each day - water is best.
    - Eat a diet that's high in bulk and low in processed foods.
    - Increase dietary fibre to about 25 g per day for women and 38 g per day for men by eating whole grains, especially flaxseed, fruits, and vegetables (these add bulk to stools, making them easier to pass).
    - Schedule regular times for bowel movements to condition your body (after breakfast, for instance).
    - Use prune juice, stewed prunes, or figs to soften hard stools (increase the amount slowly to reduce gas)

    There are many products to choose from that help along constipation issues. I use Restoralax daily. I used to use Dulcolax.... There are many.... Go to your local Pharmacist or call one and ask what they recommend. There are products available that you can drink that will make you go within a few hours. This may be the product you need. Call and inquire.

    Realize that FEAR is our worst enemy. Get up & get out in that stormy weather of the real world & kick fear in the teeth. Stare at it dead in the eyes & walk right through it into the storm; because once you're wet, you won’t fear the rain anymore
  • krazybobkkrazybob Posts: 53
    edited 03/10/2015 - 10:11 PM
    Thank you for your advice and well wishes. I have increased my water intake by drinking a full glass of water each time I take meds. That is 10 times a day. I have also increased my intake of vegetables and these two combined have allowed me to have several natural but somewhat strained BM's. What began as a BM aided by a water enima resulting in balls about the size of a doughnut hole now are more like BM's used to be. In fact I've had three BM's today and two were unassisted.
  • Opioids cause slowing of bowel movements. Chronic constipation can lead to hemorrhoids, rectal pain and burning, bowel obstruction, and potential bowel rupture. Please make sure you buy a product to help pass those stools! If your problem continues, don't delay, see your Doctor immediately.

    Realize that FEAR is our worst enemy. Get up & get out in that stormy weather of the real world & kick fear in the teeth. Stare at it dead in the eyes & walk right through it into the storm; because once you're wet, you won’t fear the rain anymore
  • I wrote too soon because the constipation continues. My kidneys ache and I have been warned by my last doctor to back off the Ibuprofen. He still sees my daughter but I was forced to Medi-Cal and terrible service. I am SCARED. I still don't eat much but expected something would come out. I hurt and don't know where to turn. I need surgery but that scares the wholly be-jeebers out of me.

    Constipation causers that I am on:

    Ibuprrofen 800mg Q4 hours
    Acetaminophen 500mg Q4
    Fentanyl 100mcg Q72 hours
    Oxycodone 30mg Q4 hours
    Gabipentin 600mg Q4 hours
    Methocarbimol 750mg Q6 hours
    Lorazapam 1mg Q12

    I think the doctor is trying to kill me! LOL.
  • Doug HellDoug Hell Posts: 335
    edited 03/14/2015 - 9:28 AM
    There are a bunch on the market. You can buy tabs, powders, liquids and suppositories... If you are having an extreme time with this, buy the suppositories.

    Narcotics slow down our bowel movements, essentially putting our bowels to sleep, so you need a stimulant laxative to speed things up. Please go to your local drug store and speak with your Pharmacist if this post is confusing you, At least I'll know I steered you in the right direction.

    Also, the biggest misconception is to eat lots of fiber. Not when you are taking narcotics! The fiber will get stuck in our intestines making things worse! Drink tons of water and fluids. And my means ounces upon onces...

    I recommend either buying a suppository or buying a product called "SENNA." You drink it (comes in tabs as well), but I would personally buy the liquid form. Wait a few hours and it WILL come out.......

    Please do NOT delay. Head there now!

    Realize that FEAR is our worst enemy. Get up & get out in that stormy weather of the real world & kick fear in the teeth. Stare at it dead in the eyes & walk right through it into the storm; because once you're wet, you won’t fear the rain anymore
  • I have Senna tablets from my daughter. They are 8.6mg. Is this the adult dosage as well? I took it once before and had no results.
  • After drowning myself in water and after eating a vegetable platter from the market it seems that everything worked out in the end.
  • I have discovered that Gas-X, Simethicone 125mg, creates a BM within minutes. It is always greenish in color and thin. I've read that green poop usually means too much bile from the liver, but that thin doesn't really matter as once thought.

    Your thoughts?
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