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constipation danger after surgery constipation danger after surgery

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Unread 07-22-2009, 12:20 PM
constipation danger after surgery

after my hysterectomy, when I was being released from the hospital, the nurse who advised me and gave the release form, suggested that I take Colace to make sure my bowels were functioning properly. As I had never had a problem with irregularity, I asked her if this was necessary. She said no. So I returned from the hospital and resumed my usual high fibre, mostly vegetarian diet. After a couple of weeks, I started to feel as if my upper abdomen was strangely separated from my lower abdomen (right at waist level). I thought it was nothing, just another feeling associated with the surgery. I seemed to be "regular" in my bowel movements. About six weeks after the surgery, I awoke and went to the bathroom to urinate. As the flow started, I was hit with an excruciating pain in my lower abdomen, and the urine flow stopped in the middle. It was truly agonizing, and I went to the emergency room by ambulance. It turned out that I was constipated----even though I had been having bowel movements, some feces were stuck high up in my bowels. I was in the hospital several days, taking laxatives, enemas---finally it was relieved and I was allowed to leave. Three weeks later I had a similar crisis----went to the emergency room again, again constipated. Now I take Colace (actually a generic version) daily----I don't ever want to experience that pain again.

I post this to warn everybody that the surgery can make you constipated, that after a hysterectomy, the fact that the uterus is missing means that the bowels can press on the urethra and interfere with urination. The enforced inactivity while healing also slows everything down. Take Colace after surgery, until you're SURE that you are back to your regular exercise, and activity.

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Unread 07-22-2009, 12:46 PM
Re: constipation danger after surgery

I have not had a "normal" bowel movement since prior to my surgery on 7/16/09. On 7/15/09 I went through the intense bowel cleansing regimen. I had a slight movement on 7/18/09, but there's been nothing since. I've been taking Colace and even took one Dulcolax and nothing. I'm getting concerned, as I am occasionally eating food with fiber. The pain when I'm standing up/sitting down if I don't take my Percocet on time is astounding (sometimes I cry with the pain). I don't know if the pain is normal, they-just-gave-me-a-supracervical-hysterectomy pain, or if it's gas/bowel content pain. I'd love to have a bowel movement to figure out if it's one or the other, and also just because I want to start to be NORMAL again.

Please help me with suggestions. Should I take some magnesium citrate (that sure as heck worked before)? I have a call into my doctor, but I haven't heard from him yet, and I called 5 hours ago.

Thank you!
Unread 07-22-2009, 12:49 PM
Re: constipation danger after surgery

I agree.

I actually started using my fiber just prior to the surgery for the same reason you stated here. I never had a problem even these months after surgery.
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Unread 07-22-2009, 12:50 PM
Re: constipation danger after surgery

A month and no bowel movement isn't normal. I'd call the doc's office back to make sure you will get a call today. Good luck and let us know how you are.
Unread 07-22-2009, 01:01 PM
Re: constipation danger after surgery


It hasn't been a month; it's been about a week. Still--I'm trying to determine if that's normal/okay or if I should start eating prunes (I put that on my husband's shopping list for today).

Unread 07-22-2009, 01:11 PM
Re: constipation danger after surgery

Originally Posted by Ouchie View Post

It hasn't been a month; it's been about a week. Still--I'm trying to determine if that's normal/okay or if I should start eating prunes (I put that on my husband's shopping list for today).

Oops! I read that as June, not July. Sorry about that! I think you are wise to ask the doctor's opinion. I was on a bland diet for 2 weeks post-op so I can't comment on the prunes. I did take 200 mg of Colace a day (split into two doses) and that did help. I'm 9 weeks out and still taking 60mg each evening...I'm nervous about stopping to be honest.
Unread 07-22-2009, 01:59 PM
Re: constipation danger after surgery

My doc told me to take colace daily, up to 3-4 if needed, and if that didn't produce BM in 5 days, take milk of magnesia. I've been doing 1-2 colace daily with a couple of prunes. Things were going well so I skipped yesterday's dose and had some troubles this a.m. Guess it's colace and prunes with breakfast for thenext few weeks!
Unread 07-22-2009, 02:17 PM
Re: constipation danger after surgery

Yeah, I cut back too soon around 4 weeks and actually tore my rectum. It wasn't pretty. That's why I'm in no hurry to give it up again!
Unread 07-22-2009, 02:35 PM
Re: constipation danger after surgery

I never knew about colace. I'm struggling a little now. I will definitely go out and purchase.
Unread 07-22-2009, 02:53 PM
Re: constipation danger after surgery

I had same problem. I was taking colace but things were not moving. I called my doctor a week and a day after my surgery and he said to eat a bowl of Fiber one with fruit and drink metamucil in orange juice. This worked for me, he did say if it didn't work by the following day I should use a fleet enema to get things moving.

Best of luck once you get everything moving you'll feel much better.

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