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Constipation and medications

I had surgery on my back last week to remove a herniated disc that was pressing on the nerve. My pain in my leg is gone, but the surgery site is still very painful. The orthopedic surgeon prescribed valium (for muscle spasms) and oxycodone for the pain. I've been constipated ever since the surgery. This is the first time in my entire life I've ever been constipated, even though I've taken opioid medications before. I don't want to eat as it is so uncomfortable. I've been drinking about twice as much water as usual, taking stool softeners as well as ducolox suppositories. I haven't had a "full" bowel movement since the surgery last Wednesday. Today, even though I'm in so much pain at my incision site, I haven't taken anything in an effort to get my bowels moving. I've even been walking more than recommended in an effort get things working.

Normally, I have 4-5 bowel movements a day, no problem. When I called the doctor, they just advised to keep working with the stool softeners and suppositories. However, with this discomfort, wearing my back brace is almost unbearable.

I guess I just wanted to whine about this. Considering I've never been constipated before, I have a new found sympathy for people suffering from it.

PS- chronic diarrhea is still worse!


Super Moderator
Someone else mentioned this in another thread in regards to severe constipation - the suggestion was to try eating your trigger foods to get things moving more quickly. Could be a worthwhile idea, but the downside is that it may backfire and you may end up in more pain but things will still be moving slowly.

Another thought, have you tried hot beverages? Back when I was a coffee drinker, a cup of hot coffee would always make things zip right through me, and hot tea can sometimes have that effect too - especially if I'm walking around while drinking the tea (drinking a hot cup of tea while walking my dog on a cold day sounded like such a good idea in theory, but did not end up working out! Good thing my house is right near the dog park! :p ).

And I have to respectfully disagree with your "PS" - I feel like c is worse than d. I tend to have d, and yes it sucks, but at least I know things are moving through me. C is more painful and I never know how closely I'm risking getting blocked, and I seem to spend even more time on the toilet when I'm constipated as opposed to when I'm having d.
Well, just whining about it must have done the trick, because shortly after I posted that, I had a BM. It was hard and painful, but the 3 since then have been "normal" for me.

Cat- for me, chronic D can suddenly stop leading to a bowel obstruction. This whole time I was passing wind, so I knew that wasn't an issue. This being the first time I am ever aware of being constipated, it was scary (as a person with CD, I am so aware of my bowels) but I knew it wouldn't end up with an obstruction.
When I have diarrhoea, I think diarrhoea is worse. When I'm constipated, I think constipation is worse. :p

I've heard that having a general anaesthetic can cause your digestive system to temporarily shut down, so it may not be the pain killers (or not just the pain killers).

If you have this problem again, you might want to try lactulose - it's very strong! And I hate using suppositories, taking something orally is always preferable for me.