Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you have any medical concerns we suggest you consult your GP.

Codeine = constipation! What can I do?

(33 Posts)

GP prescribed codeine, 15mg, I started it on Thursday and haven't been to the loo properly since Friday. I know he said it could cause constipation but he didn't say what to do if it did! I've never been constipated before so didn't quite know what to expect.

I feel like I need to go but when I sit on the loo nothing happens. Have just spent an hour on the loo thinking I was going to 'go' but - nada. I feel very bloated and uncomfortable and like there's something huge there just waiting to come out. blush

I eat loads of fruit and veg so no lack of fibre, I have been drinking lots of water but it hasn't helped, not sure if I should get some ex-lax or something tomorrow as I will be going out and don't want to get taken short at a bad moment! I've never used a laxative before so not sure how it all works.

I'm off to bed now but would really appreciate any advice for the morning.

McPhee Mon 07-May-12 00:03:33

Co-codamol has done the same to me. My gp prescribed lactulose, although you might be able to buy it over the counter? Or try a cup of warm water. Apparently that's meant to work as well.

troptriste Mon 07-May-12 00:05:56

oh dear poor you the gp should have given you some lactulose to go with the codeine.
you can take lactulose 10ml twice a day to prevent further constipation and senna 1 tab twice a day to help now.
I think you can buy these both over the counter.

HaveALittleFaithBaby Mon 07-May-12 08:52:13

I feel your pain! I've been on codiene for about 7 weeks. From stuff you can buy, I find probiotics yogurts help and juice that's not from concentrate e.g from the fridge section of the supermarket. Prunes work really well if you can stomach them! I actually think movicol is better than lactulose. Essentially lactulose softens the stool, but movicol softens and stimulates the bowel. I'd try the food stuff today bug get a GP appointment if they don't help. They maybe didn't prescribed laxatives immediately because not everyone suffers but you can't carry on like this! Do try the juice though it works wonders for me!

CMOTDibbler Mon 07-May-12 08:54:58

You can get lactulose from the pharmacy, so get some this morning and start taking it. You won't get caught short with it, but it will help. Then keep taking it as long as you are on codiene

All of these things work differently for different people. Lactulose does nothing for me apart from make my stomach churn. I have constipation long term due to meds so I take Laxido which is the same as Movicol IIRC mixed with orange juice with bits in every night. Makes everything regular and have BM every morning. Your GP would need to prescribe it.

xposts with Havealittlefaithbaby seen that she has recommended the same smile

ajandjjmum Mon 07-May-12 09:04:39

Ortisan from Holland and Barrett - miracle worker according to DM.

2old2beamum Mon 07-May-12 09:35:04

Movicol works brilliantly but quite expensive, its the only one that doesn't give me bellyache. Use it for DS (cerebral palsy) also.

Thanks everyone, I will pop to Boots today and get some movicol or lactulose as they at least don't sound like they'll have me running for the loo at short notice!

My stomach feels like a flipping balloon this morning and I've put on 5lbs since Thursday (I go to slimming world, I don't obsessively weigh myself, really! wink)

kalidasa Mon 07-May-12 10:26:36

I always take senna (e.g. senokot) if I am taking cocodamol because even that small amount of codeine does this to me too.

I have been having hideous constipation issues recently because I am bed-bound, can't eat solid food and on loads of drugs. Movicol in industrial quantities finally did the trick but start with just a little as it might be all you need.

Kalidasa - try the orange juice thing with your Movicol. Means I only need 1 sachet a day to keep it all working.

Oops - are you going to be on the codeine long term? If you are then ask your GP to prescribe Movicol/Laxido which you can take to keep constipation at bay. The lactulose is cheap but vile it is an acquired taste as seems to be basically sugar!!

Be careful ladies with constipation. Mine caused me to have a bowel prolapse and I needed surgery. I didn't deal with it as a long term thing. I kept letting it build up - sorry TMI.

Hi Ben no it should be a short-term thing, hopefully just for a couple of weeks. Probably why the doctor didn't think of giving me a laxative too.

kalidasa Mon 07-May-12 11:13:13

Thanks Ben and sorry to hear your constipation caused such a serious problem. Unfortunately orange juice is out as the mere smell of it makes me vomit. Have hyperemesis in a big way, hence the endless hospital admissions/bed rest/no solid food scenario. I am on meal replacement drinks and very limited fluids. Sorry, should have said, didn't want to derail thread. It's all the antiemetics I'm on that are causing such terrible constipation I think. Had to have an enema in hospital and trying to avoid that again! Tried everything I could get my hands on at max dose before the "impaction" dose of movicol finally worked.

ebbandflow Mon 07-May-12 11:18:03

I find milk chocolate has a bit of a laxative effect on .

ebbandflow Mon 07-May-12 11:19:48

me (that should be). Not sure should recommend chocolate on a health board though.

SpagboLagain Mon 07-May-12 11:21:21

More support for fresh orange juice with bits in (not from concentrate).
Had been suffering with constipation since having DS2 despite having bran every morning and drinking loads of fluids, lots of veg too.

Utterly amazing the effect the OJ had, am now fine again!

ebb scientists have proved dark chocolate has cough-suppressant properties, no reason why we can't try it for other home remedies 'in the name of science' grin

BIWItheBold Mon 07-May-12 11:24:29

You could also try Thornton's Sugar-free toffee (used to be marketed as Diabetic toffee).

Just don't eat the whole bag and then stray away from the bathroom

[voice of bitter experience]

<goes to buy Thornton's toffee>

Kalidasa - Hope the HE eases soon.

kalidasa Mon 07-May-12 13:37:28

Thanks. Am only 9 weeks so probably still a bit of a way to go. My mother swears by 'diabetic chocolate' as well though I'm not sure where you can buy it. Health food shop maybe?

HaveALittleFaithBaby Mon 07-May-12 14:04:32

Most Boots and pharmacies sell diabetic chocolate. The reason it helps is because it's full of sweetener which in larger quantities has a laxative effect.

BIWItheBold Mon 07-May-12 15:58:59

Boots stuff doesn't taste very nice though - Thorntons stuff is much more palatable - at least when you're eating it ...

BreastmilkDoesAFabLatte Mon 07-May-12 16:35:59

Also on codeine just now. I find strong coffee works a treat. As does fruit that is as raw and/or as sour as possible. Underripe plums, particularly.

ouryve Mon 07-May-12 16:47:09

In addition to other suggestions, putting your feet up on one of those kids' step stools when you sit on the loo can help things find their way out a lot more easily, since it straightens up your bowel and allows gravity to do more of the work.

nikkinutjob Tue 11-Jun-13 20:10:32

im in the same boat now its not nice

Dahlialover Tue 11-Jun-13 21:17:14

2 kiwi fruit a day

and movicol first to get it moving!

Cherryberries Wed 12-Jun-13 01:26:31

This happened me with codeine tablets after a caesarian with ds and the only thing which worked for me was when someone recommended I take prune juice.I had tried everything,lactulose,senokot,orange juice and none of them helped.The prune juice really works great(with me anyway).You can get it in sainsburies/tescos usually in the aisle with the tinned fruit/jelly that area.Take a glass OP and again regularly daily after that(like a glass a day ).It will work like a dream hopefully.It also tastes ok.I was in a really bad way with the co-codamol tabs(i even had to ring NHS direct one night I was so constipated).Its not nice at all.Good luck OP.

gingeroots Wed 12-Jun-13 10:10:39

apart from what's already been suggested

dried fruit - especially those soft figs or apricots

cauliflower ,cauliflower cheese

unlucky83 Wed 12-Jun-13 11:30:10

Lactulose - lots of it - max doses until you start 'moving' then just regular dose to keep it moving - and drink lots of water ...and exercise/move around and sit on something warm (My mum used to put hot water down the loo for my 'hold on to it' DBs)
I ended up with suppositories -and that didn't help - neither did dye being pumped up my bottom for a CT scan (and the nurse who did it said it probably would)
I was in hospital on codeine and not allowed to get out of bed - (so no exercise and not comfortable using bedpan)...
After 3 days mentioned it and they said they would up the lactulose - then realised I hadn't been getting any anyway...(and also told me for the reason I was there not to strain hmm!)
It was 10 days before I managed to go least I was on lots of painkillers so I didn't feel too uncomfortable - I think the embarrassment of going on a bed pan was nothing compared to a nurse inserting the suppositories for me (twice -and both times I passed them almost straight away)
And ironically 2 weeks before I'd had salmonella and a very different bowel problem!
When PG I took lactulose, daily fibre sachets, lots of water etc etc - no way was I ending up like that again!

gingeroots Wed 12-Jun-13 17:42:13

I've heard that massaging your abdomen with a tennis ball can help .

Maybe mimicking walking movements while you are bed bound ?

I do find walking helps and I kind of do a sort of hip wiggle/walking movement when on loo to help .

It's horrid isn't it !

OP, you have my sympathies! I am on 120mg of codine a day, plus 900mg of ferrous fumarate. I miss pooling like a normal person.blush sad
I eat 8 to 10 servings of fruit and veg a day, plus take metamusal fibre supplement, and drink loads of water.
I hope you feel better soon!

Showtime Thu 20-Jun-13 00:23:51

Painkillers gave me the same problem, so am now prescribed Movicol (better than lactulose for this according to GP), plus orange juice which happens to have bits and plenty of plain water, keeping a glass with me on the desk all day helps. Hope you're soon back to normal.

cheesebaby Thu 20-Jun-13 00:41:27

Lactulose and/or docusate sodium (you can get this yourself from any pharmacy). I have regularly been on codeine or morphine for years and it has the same effect on me. Hideous. The combination of the two has got me moving in the past, and then I prefer docusate as long as I'm on an opiate for maintenance.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now