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Constipation From Narcotic Pain Killers' After Surgery Is Cause; Having More Pain and More Surgery? Get a Good Laxative.

Updated on May 19, 2019
David Warren profile image

David Warren has had multiple cervical fusions and reconstructive neck surgeries.

Perhaps because it is such an embarrassing subject I have found very little personal information online regarding constipation. I had several major neck surgeries that resulted in drastic life-changing events. My high octane activity level at work and play had been stripped away. As I had at least one more major surgery currently in the planning stages I knew I would not be returning to my previous lifestyle anytime soon. As it turned out I would never return to many of those activities. Although I had succeeded in remaining positive throughout that ordeal, that time proved to be quite challenging.

When you take large amounts of narcotic pain relieving drugs such as morphine one of many serious side effects is constipation. Morphine effectively can very effectively shut your bowels and digestive tract down. I’ve done a tremendous amount of research in this area and tried practically every remedy I’d come across but the bottom line is when you have had multiple surgeries and must remain on narcotic painkillers’ your bowels can present serious secondary complications. I took prescription stool softeners, medication to keep water stored in my intestinal tract, and Lactulose on a daily basis. Our medicine cabinets’ also contained practically every method of constipation relief I had read about online.

Earlier last year I had a bowel movement that was particularly painful. Did I really just write that?

As my daughter was graduating from college on a Friday I ignored the pain, attended her graduation, hosted a gathering at Olive Garden, and then orchestrated a family photo shoot at a local park. Nothing short of a marble slab would have prevented me from the above activities.

Afterwards, barely able to walk, my wife and I went to an emergency room where I was diagnosed with an inguinal hernia and torn ligaments from constipation. Although more surgery was certainly the last thing I would have opted for it was the only available choice. After hobbling on crutches for several weeks I underwent surgery to repair the torn ligaments and inguinal hernia caused from constipation.

After a myriad of issues relating to multiple neck surgeries developing secondary new problems was almost too much. By that point I actually began thinking perhaps enough was enough and seriously considered ending my life. Thankfully I had, at that time anyway, a very supportive family and would never have subjected them to the grief and confusion that goes along with such a selfish act.

The thought of literally dying in the bathroom has been a fear I’d had since my first surgery. What an unfair and degrading end that would be. My “words of wisdom” are to urge anyone reading this that constipation is not an ailment to take lightly or ignore. Prior to these events I had no idea that constipation could lead to torn ligaments’, inguinal hernias’, and even fatalities if left untreated.

I had mixed feelings about publishing this article. However if it helps even one person, for simply relating to the issue, it will have been worth the embarrassment of writing it. I can easily admit I am not infallible but writing about bowel issues and then pressing a publish button is another thing. Perhaps this is the reason every online article about constipation is more like a pamphlet you would find in a clinic or doctor’s office.

Although this matter is no joke I am taking great pleasure in knowing that I can laugh at myself as I edit this hub. This tells me that I have indeed overcome yet another obstacle on this disastrous road. Luckily I’m not superstitious, or I’d have to believe if reincarnation were reality I must have really screwed up last time around.

Multiple serious cervical surgeries combined with the secondary problems eventually did practically lead to my demise. I eventually gave up any hope of recovery which in turn led to my divorce, the loss of my job, and the suggestion of multiple neurosurgeons that conferred my condition regarding my neck would only degrade further over time. Thankfully they were wrong. My life has undergone tremendous changes but today I am on no pain medications whatsoever as I sit here at my keyboard in Puerto Vallarta.

There are many options regarding the care of your bowels. The important thing is that you take some action as constipation can become a matter of life and death when left untreated.

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