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severe constipation - beyond the prune juice zone...

(30 Posts)
emeraldgirl1 Fri 19-Aug-11 11:17:45

I'm so embarrassed as I've been being investigated for all manner of possible ailments and it looks like constipation is the cause. It's getting so bad these last couple of days that I'm now getting shooting pain in my tummy. I'm waiting to hear a test result from my GP but quite keen to start something over-the-counter in the meantime. I haven't taken anything OTC yet - probably foolishly in retrospect - because I've really hated the effect eg senekot has had on me in the past. But it looks like that's unavoidable now. sad

The GP is hinting darkly at more serious medication that will, in his words, 'dynamite it out of you' grin so I'm keen to try something more gentle as a first step. My senekot packet though says not to take it if you're getting abdominal pain, which I am. Should I just wait to get a call from my GP (hopefully) later today, or should I just go ahead and try the senekot or similar?

Sorry for TMI!!

CocktailMumma Fri 19-Aug-11 11:27:38

I am on long term Movicol. Without it I just wont go - ever.

I dont know what the answer is for you right now. Perhaps pop along to the pharmacy and speak to the pharmacist about your symptoms because if your GP does not get back to you today - you have the weekend to get through.

Before starting movicol I tried many things. One thing that actually helped sometimes was Dulcoease as it softens the stools and makes them easier to pass.

I think Dulcolax/ease also make suppositories, but have no idea if you can get these over the counter or not.

Hope you get sorted soon.

emeraldgirl1 Fri 19-Aug-11 11:32:11

Thanks cocktailmumma!! So sorry to hear you have this problem so badly!! Do you have any idea why? (nothing to do with your username I hope??)wink

Yes, getting through the weekend is what I was worried about - if I haven't heard from my GP by end of the day I will have to go and do as you suggest with the pharmacy I think... The idea of suppositories makes me wince so I'm going to go oral all the way IYSWIM!!!

Is Movicol a stool softener or something to make your bowels actually open? (lovely image I know). I think my problem is much more in need of a stool softening solution...

Thanks so much again!

CMOTdibbler Fri 19-Aug-11 11:34:50

Start with lactulose - its a stool softener and can't do any harm at all

CocktailMumma Fri 19-Aug-11 11:38:08

Movicol is a very gentle laxative, softener and an anti spasmodic. Its a drink that tastes vile and I drink usually 1 a day, but I have been a bit naughty and got out of routine drinking it (school holidays) and so am currently on 2 a day in the hope things will start moving again soon.

My problem is a verty slow/sluggish bowel and IBS, although my recent visit to the bum and poo specialist at the hospital said my IBS was not probably not proper IBS in that it was constipation thats caused it. Hence the constant movicol - it keeps me regular and stops the IBS symptoms.

I suppose you are doing the usual stuff like lots of fruit and veg and loads of fluids. Perhaps try cutting the caffeine out or lowering it, of you like your cuppas.

If you are in pain I think I may be inclined to call the surgery an hour before closing timw tonight to just ask for some advice to get you through the weekend. If that fails then get down the chemist.

emeraldgirl1 Fri 19-Aug-11 11:41:45

thanks CMOT re lactulose advice, I may nip up to Boots and get some now.

and Cocktailmumma, ah - thanks for the extra advice - I too have had IBS though it tends to flare up more with stress and generally is just a spasmodic colon issue rather than constipation. I am on medication that has constipation as a common side effect but have been on it for 2 years now and the initial constipation went away after a month or so. This is much worse!! But yes I am on the fruit and veg, prunes, orange juice etc. I have found in the past that a strong espresso can help, but think I'm beyond that stage now. Get back on that movicol, you!!! Thanks so much for advice smile

workissues Fri 19-Aug-11 13:00:56

Ducolax is the way to go, if you are really struggling to go. Takes a few hours to work but then it really works! You can get them over the counter in Boots.

Footle Fri 19-Aug-11 21:20:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ShoutyBag Fri 19-Aug-11 21:27:14

What's that pepperminty thing they give you in hospital if you have trouble going after c-section? Sickly sweet but not sure what it is, but it works fine. Senocot never worked for me.

didyouseewhatshedid Fri 19-Aug-11 22:06:33

OP - I would try a few pints of bitter. Serious, it always gets things moving 'down there.' You will be on the toilet following morning, guaranteed.

Footle Sat 20-Aug-11 12:10:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

slowshow Sat 20-Aug-11 12:36:29

I sympathise! I've had lifelong ishoos in the bowel region and seem to be resistant to a lot of known cures. Senokot is useless (unless I deliberately overdose) and dried apricots, for example, give me nothing but crippling stomach cramps. Fibre supplements like Fybogel are also completely ineffective for me. Prune juice only works if I drink about a pint in one go <boak>

I did some Googling and it transpires that, for some people, insoluble fibre (such as bran flakes, Fybogel, etc) actually makes things worse. Soluble fibre can be more effective. I have been using Benefiber which works quite well and is relatively easy to take - just a couple of teaspoons morning and night stirred into your drink - even tea or coffee!

Now I'm pregnant I've been mainlining Lactulose. I take two dessertspoons a night instead of two teaspoons grin

jenniec79 Sat 20-Aug-11 12:56:15

How long since you went? Still farting? If not, head back to the doc.

Avoid senna until you're going again.

Water, water and more water - dehydration is a big factor in constipation.
Kiwi fruit juice is the best natural laxative I've come across in 8 years a\s a doc (and better/nicer than a fair few of the chemical ones!). It's prescribable in New Zealand hospitals but also available in big bottles like milk over there! Easy enough to make your own though by blitzing up a few peeled kiwis.

If it's been a while though, it'll probably be a bit hard and you may need some softening suppositaries like glycerine. I think they may be available OTC and you can pop them in yourself without too much bother. SPeak to the doc.

Then once you're over the current problem, look at your diet and lifestyle. Fibre, water, not too much processed food and excercise. Plus something along the lines of movicol of fibrogel if your doc thinks it would help.

A1980 Sun 21-Aug-11 00:09:06

Whenever I have it, I swear by Milk of Magnesia. Old school, I have never known it not work, not cramping or other pains, works within hours, readily and cheaply available.

Off you go and try it!

emeraldgirl1 Sun 21-Aug-11 10:23:48

Thanks so much everyone for advice!! I felt so miserable and leaden on Friday that yesterday I did a bit of googling myself (had been avoiding it as otherwise I get sidetracked and decide I have every fatal illness known to man) and actually ended up spending y'day eating nothing but fruit and various juices. Kiwi fruit came up as a good thing to try so jenniec79 I can corroborate your NZ advice!! What with that plus prune, orange and apple juice and a load of figs, plus a couple of brisk walks, things have improved a little bit but I think I'll need another day or two of similar treatment to really get back to normal.

Thanks slowshow and shoutybag for advice re senekot, I took a bit of it y'day so obviously now I have no idea if the slight improvement has anything to do with that of the fruit/juice/walking combo. Taken a couple more this morning nevertheless, am trying a multi-pronged approach here until things start to improve sufficiently!! If there's no more improvement by the end of the day I will certainly ditch the senekot and move onto dynamite movicol or similar.

Heigh-ho. Who knows, all this fruit and juice and maybe I'll even shift a couple of pounds. Looking on the bright side here. smile

emeraldgirl1 Sun 21-Aug-11 10:26:01

Oh and also does anyone have any opinion on whether warm drinks help more than cold? A helpful American forum (wow, do those people have serious constipation issues!!!) seems to have people getting success with eg warm prune juice rather than cold, or hot water mixed with honey and lemon instead of plain cold water. I'm trying this (warm prune juice, if anyone is interested, is VILE) as I don't think it can possibly hurt, but would be interested to know if anyone else has heard of this?

CocktailMumma Sun 21-Aug-11 10:34:40

I have a friend who reckons a hot drink in the morning gives her the urge. Not hot drink and no urge!!

Did your GP not get back to you then?

emeraldgirl1 Sun 21-Aug-11 10:40:37

Hi cocktailmumma - nope, GP didn't get back to me - I spoke to the recptionist who was very helpful and swore the GP would call, and then I got sucked into a meeting and by the time I got out it was past 6 and the GP hadn't called and I had no way of getting in contact after office hours!! sad

prolificwillybreeder Sun 21-Aug-11 10:56:43

I like you op have magnificent constipation sad
I'm resistant to senna and fibre gel, dried fruit etc.
I need a softener and something to make you go.
My current diet is:
Hot water and lemon first thing.
1 coffee, works for me most of the time.
Lots of room temp water
Lactulose, note it will NOT make you go as it is a softener. Drink plenty with this stuff as I heard it doesn't work as well otherwise.
Peppermint capsules, aids digestion.
movicol- yes is vile but it does work. Apparently you can get chocolate and strawberry ones which I have heard are more palatable. I drink mine with orange Lucozade sport, only drink to disguise the taste.

Hope that helps, get yourself to the doctor and see what they have to say. Hope you are more comfortable soon

emeraldgirl1 Sun 21-Aug-11 11:19:09

thanks willybreeder!! (love your name...)

is lactulose just sold under the name lactulose or is it something sold under different brand names?

And is movicol a softener or something to get you 'moving'? I think probably right now I am in need of both approaches! Though I have to say the brisk walking does seem to be the most effective thing at 'getting me going'...

emeraldgirl1 Sun 21-Aug-11 12:06:26

Oh and one more thing, prolificwilly - is movicol available OTC or on prescription?

Footle Sun 21-Aug-11 14:53:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

prolificwillybreeder Sun 21-Aug-11 15:05:50

Oddly bouncing on a gym ball helps too!

A1980 Sun 21-Aug-11 21:58:20

I still say Milk of Magnesia if you need some quick relief. It works like a charm and works very very quickly.

emeraldgirl1 Mon 22-Aug-11 10:48:35

If I drink another glass of prune/apple/kiwi juice I will cry sad

Am assuming, seeing as I spent ALL WEEKEND eating laxative-type fruit and drinking juice, and I'm still only managing to have very small, hard BMs, that I definitely need to try something more serious than just senekot... Waiting for a call from the GP this morning but will they just recommend Movicol? It's fine if they do - might as well try it - but should I maybe just pop out and see if the pharmacy will give me some anyway?

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