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4 Days post op ALIF L5/S1 still no BM

My doctor told me that there will be a chance for constipation due to 2 things, pain meds and moving the intestines around. I am able to pass gas (not as much as I'd like but its something) but no BM. I'm a pretty regular guy, like 4-5 times a day but even my regularity is no match for this procedure/medication. Just looking for any helpful advice or if this is normal when should I expect to do some good? I have an appointment with my surgeon in 3 days so I guess he can let me know but I'd love to make something happen, relatively pain free, before then. Thanks in advance,



  • It's normal to have difficulty post surgery. You are able to make wind so that's a good start. Pain meds are the worst for causing you to block up. You might need to take a supplement to assist. I'm in Australia and here they start patients on Movicol pretty much straight after the surgery so that it will be easier to go. If it's available where you are it would be worth giving it a go. It's gentle and it softens everything up. If it's not - have a chat with your pharmacist and ask for a recommendation. Explain about your recent surgery and the fact that you are probably on opiate based pain meds.
  • They got me started on some stool softeners while I was still in the hospital and I'm taking some here at home as well. My biggest concern is that when I do start making things happen hopefully they will happen as effortless as possible as to not cause anymore pain on my belly incision, cause that thing is about as sore as it can be. Wish me luck, cheers!!
  • CherylCCCherylC Posts: 185
    edited 08/18/2015 - 5:43 AM
    Keep taking them Nick and you will be fine. My belly incision was a lot bigger than they expected due to complications - went from just inside my left hip bone to just over 2" from my right hip bone. It took a while for everything to settle back in to place but thanks to the stool softeners it all happened smoothly (pun intended).

    Hang in there - it will be all good.
  • stool softners did not work for me, I ended up going out and buying milk of magnesia and that finally helped me.. Now I make sure to take as much fiber as I can and for some occasional constipation I go back to the milk of magnesia.. Greetings, carolyn
    C5-6 Acdf
  • Michellefrom MIMMichellefrom MI Posts: 2
    edited 09/01/2015 - 11:09 PM
    I'm so, so, sorry. I totally understand! I had my TLIF 8/11 and had not had a bowel movement from that Mon till Saturday. I actually was going to go to the er. I used stoil softeners, senna lax, everyday when I took my pain meds (1/2 percocet) and it never worked. I am sure you have relieved your issue by now, but for anyone new looking for advice, don't wait. I ended up taking Dulcolax suppositories, the 2 fleet enema. I swear to god I would have rather gave birth. I know TMI but I was honestly scared I would hurt myself from pushing or from the pressure. Finally after several painful hours I began the elimination. But it was hell. So take advice from me. If you don't go after a couple days use an enema or suppositories. It was embarrassing to have to call the dr, and with my husband, god bless him kept running and getting things to help. Also very warm water while using it helps the pain of it as its working it's way out. That itself was worse than the surgery lol. Good luck with everything. And hopefully our advice will help someone who needs it before they reach this stage

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  • Sheri76Sheri76 Michigan Posts: 497
    Stool softeners didn't work well for me....like you, I usually have frequent BM activity...have IBS. I keep prunes in the fridge, they seem to help...but once I ate five, and that helped way too much. I have also noticed that eating cheese, especially sliced, seems to slow my system down dramatically, so I avoid eating it on a regular, or day after day basis.

  • Constipation is the worst. I'm not a doctor, and this is not medical advice, but in the physical rehabilitation hospitalI worked in, our protocol with patients, many of whom were post op, was to include a stool softener once or twice daily from the get go. If no BM in 48 hours, they got Milk of Magnesia or a laxative. Day 3 it was time for a suppository. 9 times out of 10 that did the trick, but if it didn't, an enema was the next step. Best of luck!
    Chris (NotMyOwn)
    1 Cor 6:19-20
  • Welcome to pain meds. I also had a scary experience. I went 10 full days after surgery before anything happened. Took softeners, water, fiber drink still noting. What worked for me was good ol prune juice. I drink like 8 oz first thing in the morning and another 8oz around lunch. Scary thought to not go, and also scary to think that you might be unleashing a who knows what. Worked perfect for me. I'm still on Percocet and soma and still keep the "juice" in my diet.

    Best wishes
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