I am a 27 yr old female. I have always had problems with constipation, but when I was 19 and in nursing school, I quit having bowel movements without the use of multiple laxatives. I can't tell you over the years how many times I went to different doctors and got laughed at like i was being a hypochondriac or told that I was "just constipated". I was 125 lbs and working as a registered nurse and otherwise perfectly healthy. Except that I stayed tired, nauseated, would have severe bloating and abdomianl distention and pain everytime i ate. I could not find a doctor to take me seriously. Some doctors said I wasn't active enough (ha ha) or that i needed to change my pretty much already healthy diet. I have been on every diet known to man., Nothing helped. I was put on hycosamine, zelnorm, protonix, pepcid, amitizia, all the fiber powders, etc etc. Nothing helped me.
In 2008 I became pregnant, which only made my problems worse. I vomited all the time, and had to be in the hospital several times for abd pain, dehydration and nausea and vomiting. Of course they blamed it on pregnancy. All the while I was unable to take the majority of the laxatives that I had previously used to get some relief. Before i got pregnant, I was taking about5-8 bisacodyl (dulcolax) extra strength tablets every 1-2 weeks for a bowel movement. I would have to plan this around work so I could sit at home and do nothing but cramp, sweat, and cry all day until they worked. SO when I became pregnant it was to harmful to my baby to do this. I was sent to a new GI dr referred by my ob/gyn. She told me that it was okay to take the bisacodyl while pregnant but I had to throw enemas in there as well. Still this provided very little relief.
After I had my daughter, I pretty much gave up on finding a doctor to help me. I was so sick, and soon, was unable to get cleaned out and was vomiting again. So I had to go back. I chose a random doctor off the internet in the biggest city closest to me (lexington). After spending 20 or so minutes talking to me, he frowned and said, "you have colonic inertia, and you are very sick. I believe you and I am going to get you some help." He referred me to a colo-rectal surgeon that day. I have to thank God for these people who actually listened to me and took me seriously, i broke down in tears of gratefulness.
I had a couple of tests, the most helpful being the sitz marker test. you swallow a pill that has 20 rings inside on day 1. they x-ray your abdomen at day 3,5,7 to see where the rings are in your digestive tract. This helps them to determine what part of your bowel is the problem. My rings would get through my small intestines and stop. Nothing was traveling through my colon (large intestines). So my surgeon discussed with me having a total colectomy. I was a little freaked out but to be honest I was asking him "how soon can you do it?" I was so relieved that I wasn't going to have to live like this anymore.
I will admit, I did have quite a few complications with my surgery. I did not have to have a colostomy, thank goodness, many people who have this surgery do. But, I had alot of chest pain that proved to be "trapped air" due to my procedure. Evidently they fill your abdominal cavity with air during the procedure to displace the rest of your organs so they can get to your intestines. And that air, sometimes retains inside you. Mine did so in my chest cavity and the pressure was almost unbearable. It went all the way up into my neck and felt like when you have slept on your neck wrong. I couldn't even turn my head without yelling out in pain. I was given large doses of Valium to knock me out because they said there was nothing they could do until the trapped air dissipated on its own.
Then I started losing alot of blood above my incision site and required several blood transfusions. I was incontinent for the first 4 days and that was humiliating to me. And the stools were large amounts of watery, bloody diarrhea. But after 4 days I was able to control them. I had almost 15 bm's a day for the first 6-8 days.
U developed pneumonia while i was in the hospital and had to have a rectal CT with contrast to make sure that my anastamosis was not bleeding. All in all, I spent 9 days in the hospital. I didnt feel like I was anywhere near ready to go home when I did, but I certainly was not getting any better there.
I was given very little information about what to do with myself once home. As far as diet, my surgeon told me to eat whatever I wanted that my body would let me know what I could handle and what I couldn't.
Now it has been almost four weeks after my surgery. I am now able to walk without my walker but still tire very easily. I get dizzy and light headed when I stand up and cannot sleep on my side, it hurts and feels like that my insides are being pulled tight. I have about no more than 6 bm's a day that are loose and muddy. I have not figured out what I should and should not eat yet. My doctor wanted to put me on Questran to thicken my stools, but I threw it in the trash. My biggest fear is getting constipated again even though he assures me that is not going to happen.
I know all this sounds so negative, but honestly, I AM SO GLAD i had this procedure. It was all definitely worth it. I am so grateful to sit down and be able to have a bowel movement instead of what I was going through before. I would like some feedback though on others who have had this procedure done. I would like to know if the symptoms I am having post-operatively are normal. I hope this article helps someone. I wish I had known what to look for in the last 8 years of suffering. I had no idea this kind of alternative existed.
I had a total colectomy with ileorectal anastamosis in Dec 2008. For the next 10 months I was mostly sick, in and out of the hospital, doctors had no clue what I should eat, I kept getting dehydrated etc. In Oct 2009 the Lord healed me suddenly - no meds now, no hospitalizations since then, I'm 60 and I've gone back to school and often take care of my grandchildren, it's a whole new life.
Part of the healing was finally understanding what I can/can't eat. This is probably different for everyone, but here's my list. Everything I eat has to be low in fat/sugar/caffeine/lactose and most of all: fiber, and small portions. Main things I eat: homemade sourdough bread, potatoes and sweet potatoes (no butter), lowfat yogurt/cheese/cream cheese, canteloupe/canned light peaches or pears/frozen mango (I put the fruit in a jello with extra gelatin so it's not real sweet), eggs, chicken breast cooked as soft as possible, plenty of decaf tea w/ honey and lemon. no vegetables, no other fruits. Things I eat that I probably shouldn't: dark chocolate, instant coffee (in yogurt), natural lowfat peanut butter. When I stray from my rules I pay for it with bloating, lots of middle of the night diarrhea and painful rash. I don't know why it's middle of the night, but it is.
The only way to really figure out what foods your body can handle is to fast for a few days, then very slowly add foods, only one new one every few days, so you can actually tell when you have a bad reaction to a particular food. After several months you might want to try a 'bad' food again, it might be okay then. Hope this helps.
Anyway I am looking for some feedback on life after surgery for you now that it has been a few months.
do you maintain a healthy weight?
What is your diet like now?
do you get much warning before you need to go to the loo?
how was recovery from surgery?
Do you still get that horrible sweating/ pain/ vomiting ever?
Do you ever get constipated now?
Are you glad you had the surgery?
have you heard of any alternatives?
do you know anyone else like us?
I am in Australia and don't know anyone with this problem but then again it isn't the sort of thing you mention to people.
most of the time i feel really well but I think I have lived with it for so long now I don't know how else to feel so surgery seems pretty overwhelming at the moment and I am seeking some reassurance. I am slightly overweight at the moment too and want to know if having a clean bowel will help with my metabolism as after four babies close together I want to start feeling like a yummy mummy again.
Please let me know
I had a total colectomy in 2004 (first colon surgery in 2000 - 20 years old) and after my second surgery felt great. Was going to the bathroom up to 15 times a day but gradually that got better. After my surgery I have had two children, now I find myself constipated when I eat carbs, and get bloated too. I am going to see a nutrionist to see if I can create meal plans that would prevent me from feeling this way.
Nurse Jenn - your story sounds just like mine, I was 20 and going to the bathroom only when taking laxative and the pain was horrible. I had the same tests you did and the surgery was definately major, there was a time during my second surgery when I was in the hospital when I did't think I was going to make it! But definately the best thing I ever did!!
Then surgery was recommended. The outcome was laparoscopic surgery removing the colon and releasing adhesions. Luckily my rectum was healthy and I did not need to have a bag. I did however have a toxic megacolon. No wonder I was ill! If you really believe you have a serious problem, and you look after yourself as well as possible, then do not hesitate to insist upon a referral to a surgeon. I however, am in Australia, so I am not familiar with procedures elsewhere.
Following my operation I recovered fairly quickly and had no more than 3 - bowel movements a day after about 3 weeks. Since then it has all settled and now have 1-2 bm's a day - quite normal. Pain and swelling have disappeared and life is worth living again! I make sure I eat well. Small meals 3 times a day with sensible snacks in between. No fermentable fibre, no red meat, but that may be just me. Not too much fruit. No green leafy vegies, but plenty of root vegies - potato, pumpkin, carrot (not raw). No whole wheat or grain breads. Brown rice cakes are great. A sensible diet and healthy lifestyle is just common sense. No alcohol, sorry!
Try things and see what suits YOU.
Good luck to you all and remain positive - the outcome is well and truly worth it.
I need help please!
thank you so much!
I had my colectomy Feb 23/11 and every day I am doing a itty bit better.
Same thing for me and my doctor put me back on a liquid diet. Everything liquid, so I drink Boost everyday for my protein and nutrients, milk shakes, puddings,yogurt, V-8 juice for my veggies, fruit juices. I can tolerate oatmeal and scrambled eggs, bread and crackers as long as I drink lots with it. Pasta is getting easier to handle. I also have anti-nausea meds and pain meds on hand for if something doesn't agree with me. I am no longer loosing weight and just maintaining my current weight on this diet. I do try every few days a more solid food. My doctor is amazing, and understanding. He believes my system is just very sensitive to food after having the colon removed (I had chronic life long constipation and I am 33). Each day it gets better for eating, and I am really hoping I can resume a full diet soon! (I love salads and fruits and veggies and i can't eat them yet!)
Try liquid and slowly introduce solid food. Give your system a chance to heal!