Trouble Pooping? Here’s What Helped…

Ok. Ready? I’m going to talk about something we never do. Pooping. Oh my gawd. I know. Crazy. But we all do it. And when we can’t, it’s awful. So here I go……(writing, not pooping)

Fibromyalgia is known to have many comorbidities, including IBS; (also known as Irritable Bowel Syndrome) which we typically think of as diarrhea, but there’s also a constipation component. Aside from that, many of us take medications that can contribute to it.

In August of this year, I wound up in the ER right before vacation. I was incorrectly diagnosed as having Colitis and treated accordingly. To lessen the intense stomach pain, I was given Bentyl to slow down the movements within my gut. After being given a concoction of morphine and fentanyl for the pain, I was also given Zofran to counteract the nausea. I now believe all that acted as a catalyst for months worth of pooping difficulties.

As we’re all probably pretty aware of, the Fibro/Chronic Fatigue body is a delicate beast. It seems anything we do to it can throw it off. So I’m pretty sure that’s what happened. After two months of continuing issues, I finally saw a Gastroenterologist; who immediately wanted to do a endoscopy and possibly a colonoscopy. Going back to what I just said-that a Fibro body is a delicate balance, neither of these were things I wanted to do, especially with my Daughter’s wedding plans in full swing. So I decided I would try some other things first to see if I could finally correct the issue myself.

Before I go any further, please remember that I am NOT a medical professional and I would never want you to follow my advice without seeing a provider. Please always seek medical care when in need. With that said, here are some of the things I did:

 

30EC79AC-EC66-4770-9F85-99FC12413CE2

 

First, I tossed the Bentyl. While it certainly helped with my frequent stomach cramps, it wasn’t even Colitis to begin with (just some horrendous new and unfamiliar Fibro pains), so that made doing this easy. But I also had to seriously consider my use of Zofran. Zofran is used to help with nausea and works like a miracle for me. However, the way it works is by actually drying out your system. In drying out that system, guess what else gets dried out? Yup, you guessed it: poop.

I tried some more holistic medications that the Gastro had suggested, like Senna, which is plant based. She also suggested trying something that is fiber, like Metamucil. Butt the whole point of this was trying to naturally restore my body’s functions, not make it dependent on supplements. They didn’t really work that great either. But they may for someone else.

I started drinking a mug of hot water before bed. This was at my Husband’s suggestion, who has long tauted the benefits of drinking a hot mug of plain water for months. I do this right before bed and occasionally add a little Ceylon cinnamon to it. Think temperature of a cup of hot cocoa.

After doing a little bit of research, I learned the trick of belly rubbing. Not like you do a dog, but more to massage the colon and intestines to encourage movement on the inside, when you apply movement on the outside. Start at your lower right side, which is where the first part of the colon sits, and work your way up towards your rib cage. From the right side, continue to massage across the torso, just under the ribs, and work your way down the left side. I tried this twice a day, three times each.

Next, I looked at the medications I had left. Oxycodone and Tramadol are both medications I rely upon and both are known to cause constipation. That was one of the things the Gastro had highlighted in our visit, too. However, both of those meds are the only reason I have any quality of life. So, no matter what, they both stay. If in fact, those were causing my issues, I would need to deal with somehow offsetting them in the long term. But eliminating them is not an option. At least not if I want to stay out of bed.

And now for the biggie: I *radically* changed my diet. On turning 45 in October, this was something I had really wanted to embrace. But now I had the motivation to really do so. I knew that if I did a huge diet overhaul and still had issues, it was time to go ahead and request both the endoscopy and colonoscopy.

For years now, I have almost entirely eaten organic and especially, non-GMO foods. But I’d also found some really tasty organic, non-GMO “Oreos”-which despite being both those things, is far from a healthy food. Now, I’ve moved strictly to all organic, non-GMO foods and eliminated anything processed. Next, I decided to replace my lunch with a hearty salad. Some days this was a grueling undertaking. It’s much easier to choke down a few crackers with ginger ale, when my stomach is super nauseous-but I was also beginning to suspect that these practices were a driving force with the chronic constipation.

So now, every day for lunch, I have a huge salad. I add things like:

  • blueberries, for their anti-oxidant benefits. The defrosted juice from them also makes a great salad dressing.
  • walnuts, for the overall health benefits and as a protein source
  • apple chips, because, well, I really hate salad
  • match stick carrots
  • black olives, rinsed with water to lessen the sea salt content
  • chia seeds, which are a great source of natural fiber
  • raisins, which have some fiber, but are also high in potassium

I choose an organic salad mix that has several different greens in it. My favorite is an organic “Spring Mix”,  by Olivia’s Organics. It actually has 19 different lettuces or greens, including: spinach, kale, collard greens and beet root.  There’s three main benefits to choosing a mix like this: it’s cheaper than buying multiple different greens separately, it gives you the ruffage your digestion needs from different plant sources and gives you the nutritional benefits of multiple vegetables. Easy peasy.

Next, I looked at my sugar consumption and cut that. Bad bacteria in the body feed off the yeast from sugar. I’m also a staunch believer that sugar leads to multiple bad things in the body, such as inflammation and diabetes to start. And it’s hidden in everything, from marinara sauce, ketchup and salad dressings. So while I have been aiming for quite some time to lessen how much sugar I eat, now I had a driving force behind stopping. Oh, right. Did you also know that sugar is addictive? The more sugary foods you eat, the more you want them. I also would have substituted my morning coffee sugar for Stevia or Monk Fruit, except Stevia exacerbates my Restless Limbs Syndrome and Monk Fruit gave me THE worst foot/toe pain EVER.

I changed my carbohydrate consumption from processed items, like bread and crackers, to a more natural source. While I strictly only eat a salad for lunch; for dinner, we now eat sweet potatoes or rice.

So guess what? It all worked!!! No Senna or Metamucil required. My body is now functioning the way it should. At least pooping wise. And I have to tell you all, that you are awfully special, because I would normally never discuss ANY of my pooping habits with anyone. So THAT is how much I love you all.

But here’s the other thing: my entire torso, which is normally super uncomfortable, even to the slightest pressure, is WAY better. Prior to making all these changes, every night I would go to bed with an uncomfortable mid-section. So much so, that I couldn’t have my Husband put his arm over me in bed. Beyond resolving what it did, I had never imagined it would improve the chronic tenderness I live with.

And here’s what else is surprising. I’ve been to the Allergist/Immunologist and had ALL the testing done. I have zero allergies to food. Except, last night I cheated and had some of those Ben & Jerry cookie dough ice cream bites. Boy that was a mouthful. As awesome as they were, as soon as I was done eating, it felt like I got hit by a Mack truck. The abdominal tenderness came instantly and I got full, nauseous and bloated. WOW!! The effect was immediate and unmistakable. As soon as I finished, I was sick.

So that’s about as much confirmation as I ever could have gotten that dietary wise, I was making alot of huge mistakes!!! This is the second time I’ve done a HUGE dietary overhaul, but the first time had none of the profound effects I’m experiencing this time. I will say, though, that the first time I did it, I was solely focusing on the elimination of gluten and dairy for symptom improvement. I did not, however, go for the staunch consumption of all natural, unprocessed foods that I have this time.

I’m about two weeks into my new regimen and it’s clear now that it needs to be a permanent one. While I haven’t noticed any improvement with anything else (I had hoped for some lessening of my daily headaches/migraines), I’m hopeful that some more may be on the horizon. Even if not, I am happy that I have finally made the last of the health changes I had really wanted to AND……..I have FINALLY found a way to give up Ben & Jerry’s: it makes me sick. That was about the only thing that ever could have done it 😉

I’m now going to bury my head in embarrassment, after disclosing my pooping issues to the world. I hope that my doing so may help someone reading. Otherwise, how silly of me.

As always, all my love, Stace

 

4286433F-3CCB-4C30-9F87-73A51BABCC60

Posted by

Fighting with Fibro and Living With Purpose. Mom, Wife, Blogger and animal lover. Fighting with Chronic Illness on a minute by minute basis; sometimes winning.

16 thoughts on “Trouble Pooping? Here’s What Helped…

  1. Thx for sharing! 😉 💩 and pee have always been messy issues for me! 😉

    I hope it all continues to work! I have to work on my eating and figuring what I’ll cut out first!

  2. Thank you for being so open. I will follow your lead. I drink Metamucil each morning after my cup of coffee with half and half. I add about twice as much water and put some lemon juice in it too. I have a Conico brand reusable cup with a lid that is closed good until you stick the straw in, so I can take the straw out and shake it again and again. I do not allow myself more than 2 days without a BM before taking “drastic” measures. Drastic measures mean Milk of Magnesia. Another thing that works for me is Power Pudding, which is chopped prunes, prune juice, whole bran and applesauce. It is routinely used in the assisted living that I retired from, for the elderly. It is very gentle and has worked every time. I also keep stool softeners in my arsenal. Having suffered from migraines since age 21, which sometimes put me to bed for 48 hours with the opioid use (I suffered a mini stroke at age 26, which is when I was diagnosed with migraines through an EEG exam). So I had many years before the diagnosis of fibromyalgia and daily opiod use to deal with the side effects. If nothing is working, I have had to use an enema. I hope my openess helps someone.

    1. I couldn’t decide which comment of yours to comment on 😉. Thanks so much for this, Cheryl. I’m grateful you were brave enough to share. It will certainly help people. Which is why I wrote this.
      Every. Single. Creature. Poops.
      So even if it’s embarrassing to talk about, we’ve all been there. Add in medications within this community and it brings pooping issues to a whole new level. My Husband Bri had three major surgeries close together. After the first surgery, he wouldn’t use the pain meds anymore-he couldn’t handle the severe constipation that the opioids caused. So it’s just life. Like you, I suffer w migraines. Add in the chronic pain and opioids just save any quality of life I have left. I cannot give them up or I’d be bedridden. So I had to find a different solution. Thank you!!!! Thanks for all these great suggestions! I’ve read that Metamucil is a pretty healthy solution. As is your power pudding. But blech, do I ever hate prunes LOL. Nasty little critters work though! I truly appreciate you reading and am grateful for your suggestions. Your openness WILL help ❤️ Love, Stace

      1. I didn’t mean to comment twice! It had to do with me logging in to wordpress! I don’t like prunes either, but you know what…..mix up the power pudding, then add more applesauce, then a little whipped cream on top. I even got my 18 month old granddaughter to eat it and it worked for her too! Or I put more bran buds on it to give it some crunch! I am allowed 3 pain pills a day, but I usually only take 2 and sometimes can get away with just 1. I would be sitting in my recliner all day if I didn’t have it available, though the gabapentin has helped a lot too. When I am out of damp NoCa I do much better. I need to move!

      2. No worries! I figured it had something to do with that. I just wanted you to know I saw both and was grateful for the suggestions. You and me BOTH!! We’re bound here due to Bri’s job, for at least another 13 years. But I SO wish we could relocate to the water. I’m the opposite of you, I get such relief by the ocean. We just simply cannot afford a summer home, so I just have to wait. I use Tramadol every single day. Like you, I’d be bed bound (again) without it. I already spent 18 months of my life in bed-I don’t want to go back there!!!!

  3. I use many things to deal with this issue. I take Metamucil each morning after my coffee. I have a Contigo reusable glass that has a good lid that only opens with the use of a straw, so I can take the straw out and shake the metamucil several times. I also put more than 8 ounces of water mixed with the metamucil along with lemon juice. I have problems if I forget to do the metamucil. I also use stool softeners, enemas if I really have a problem and Power Pudding. I discovered Power Pudding at my last job where it was used extensively for the elderly. Look it up for a recipe. I keep the ingredients on hand including small cans of prune juice, small containers of applesauce, prunes and Bran Buds. I put bran buds on my yogurt that I eat about every day. I drink a lot of water. The opioids dry me out, but so do the gabapentin and amitriptyline that I also take. I have started keeping track so that if more than 2 days go by I use Milk of Magnesia and if that doesn’t work, an enema. It can become bad really quick, especially if I am sitting or lying in bed a lot. Having suffered with migraines for about 30 years before the diagnosis of fibromyalgia, I have a lot of experience with opioid induced constipation.

  4. I’ve been having intestinal issues for about a year now. I have had all the tests. Boils down to inflammation. I have been trying all kinds of OTC remedies. Nothing has really provided lasting relief. While I have eliminated almost all sugar from my diet, it has not helped with the pooping issues. I may have to overhaul my diet further.

    1. Wow. I didn’t realize inflammation could do that. It really just screws up the entire body, doesn’t it? I had a pretty clean diet before, but I was really starting to get scared. It just wasn’t normal. I eventually would have done the endoscopy and colonoscopy-but every time I have any tests, they always come back normal-it makes me nuts. So I decided to try a radical dietary change first. Once I got sick from Ben & Jerry’s, it was kind of clear that it had been food all along. Despite just having every allergy test known to man done and turning up no allergies. I was instantaneously ill after eating that. It was crazy. I used to eat B&J a lot!! Doc was suggesting taking Miralax and Senna both like twice a day……Cheryl just had a bunch of suggestions, too. I’m grateful she had the courage to comment on here. Despite not a ton of people commenting, there are a lot of people reading this post and saving it. So I know it hits home for a lot of people. And people like you and Cheryl who comment are helping others, too. Thanks Ellen!! I will keep you in my thoughts ❤️

  5. Good on you Stace. Meds will disrupt the gut for sure. I laughed when I heard a doctor say (some years ago) that sugar should be controlled like a drug. After some years of abstinence from granulated, and the last year+ from the less offensive maple syrup….I have to agree with the doctor.
    Sugar, is an addictive substance that changes brain function (cravings) and destroys gut biome. Like heroin, it’s first affects are pleasurable, but will require more and more to achieve that pleasure level as time goes by.

    1. At this point, what doesn’t upset our bodies?!? Ugh. Bri teases me and calls me frail, I hate to admit how much truth there is in that. I was actually thinking of you and Robin as I wrote this; you’ve mentioned a few times about her “tight” diet…..
      As for the sugar thing. It has been led to Obesity, Diabetes and Cancer and is beginning to be studied in relation to Dementia. It’s damages know no bounds. And you’re right, it’s totally addictive. I find that if I have a bunch of unhealthy carbs or a sugary treat, I crave more-even the following day. As soon as I’m more diligent and don’t eat it, *all* the cravings disappear. I don’t think most people realize that. Thanks for commenting, Mark!!! Hope Robin is well ❤️

  6. It’s awful you had that happen with the ER trip and following tummy problems. It’s great you’ve tackled the issue head-on in this post. As someone who’s had enough tummy troubles for a lifetime too, it’s not easy. It’s such a taboo subject shrouded in embarrassment. I struggled with chronic constipation for nearly 10 years and was too embarrassed to tell people, going back and forth to the doctors and getting fobbed off time and time again. I tried everything, and nothing helped at all. I now know my large bowel had decided to die anyway so it was all for nought and now I have a stoma, but I definitely think it’s worth going through all the potential triggers and the tips and tricks you can try to see if anything can make a difference. As you’ve said with dietary changes, and it’s great you’ve found the benefit with your changes! Interesting about the testing not reflecting how you’ve actually got in with experiencing the effects of some food. Shame it had to be such a delicious B&J ice cream that resulted in such luckiness!

    Good point about the meds. I’m lucky in finding that Tramadol hasn’t affected my stoma (thankfully!)

    I would just add that obviously everything works differently for everyone but chronic constipation that’s ongoing can be very dangerous. Be careful with trying to hard to go because it can result in prolapses. And never give up, because if you’ve tried everything you can and nothing helps and the doctors aren’t listening, it could be something else that’s going on (case in point, my dead bowel, though that wasn’t technically why I ended up with a stoma).

    Anyway, enough rambling. Great post, Stace!! Poop-tastic!

    Caz xx

    1. It’s awful it’s so shrouded in hushed embarrassment. Even Jesus pooped!! Wow! What an ordeal for you, Caz. How frustrating!! I think what you’re saying, too, is very important…..and I wanted to try to make sure I emphasized that: if it doesn’t correct with some radical changes, it’s time to see a Specialist (again). So while I’m certainly very happy it resolved, I would have had the tests had it not. It’s very serious, like you said and can poison the body. It’s not something to let go.
      Oh Tramadol, how I love thee. It’s the only way I stay vertical. It had never been a problem, thus far (8 years) I just think the fragile Fibro body got knocked out of whack from the ER…..who knows? I’m also 45 now, so things change as we age!! Anyhow, thanks so much for reading and commenting!! As always, you made some really great points!!!

      1. Absolutely – “Even Jesus pooped”, I love that 😂😂😂
        I think if we can laugh about it, the whole thing loses some of it’s shame and embarrassment. I make jokes about my Gucci poop bag a lot because that’s what helps me get over embarrassment a little, to laugh at the situation and yourself and take away the impact it has.
        I’m glad you find Tramadol tolerable, too. I’m not sure where either of us with be without it by the sound of things then. Do you mind me asking how many you take per day, or do you vary it? You of course don’t have to answer, I’m just curious what works best for you. I was always so, so reluctant to use it but it got to the point where I couldn’t manage otherwise so this keeps me out a wheelchair when going out, and keeps me able to do the day to day things. I never thought it did anything at first, especially as it doesn’t take away pain by far, but I noticed it’s value more when I compared not using it to using it. It’s a shame there’s so much taboo over that too and the so-called ‘opioid crisis’, which actually refers to those using it who don’t have pain and chronic conditions, not those who do. xx

      2. I totally agree about using humor to get through. There’s so much we can’t control about being sick, that how we approach it and fight through it is often one of the only things we can control. So, like you, we laugh about it. I LOVE the Gucci take!! LOL. Gucci should totally design poop bags!!
        I don’t mind you asking at all!!! The last time someone guilted and shamed me for taking pain meds, I decided I would never allow myself to feel that way again. Pain meds are how I manage not to be bedridden and how I still manage to be a Wife and Mom-to still sometimes walk my dogs. We should never be made to feel that way. The whole bs opioid crisis launched on chronic pain patients is criminal. I’ve never once “gotten high” off them and they never eliminate all my pain-they just make it tolerable. And the whole push towards taking Suboxone makes me furiously insane. Once you do that, even if it doesn’t work, it can leave you unable to get pain meds in the future, because you’re now listed in medical records as an addict. It is not fair they don’t explain that to people!!!!. I have been on the same doses of Tramadol and Oxycodone (5mg) for 8 years!!!!! Okay-sorry, rant over. That whole subject gets under my skin.
        SO. My max daily dose of Tramadol is 300mg. So up to 6 pills a day, 50mg each. I also have Oxycodone, 5mg-which I use on my really bad days. I was prescribed an extended release Tramadol, but what I didn’t like about that, was that on my good days, I couldn’t lessen the dose and on my bad days, I couldn’t use Oxy. So I now stick w the 50 mg dose. I try to take as little as I can; the least I can take is one pill in the morning and two at night. Although that sometimes backfires and the pain gets ahead of me…..For the most part, it’s two pills, three times a day.
        Like you, I hated the thought of pain meds and initially, was terrified of becoming addicted and constantly needing higher doses. Neither of those things have proven to be true, as the dosage has stayed the same for 8 years. But now, I take it and give thanks. Like you just said, too, I feel it much more when I don’t take it. I hope that helps??? The stigma around pain meds and opioids *really* needs to change. I have yet to hear of any of us abusing them or using them to get high. It’s just not factual. Have a great day (night?), Caz!! Thanks for giving me a giggle ❤️

  7. Thank you for sharing Stacey. As always you hit it out of the park with wonderful topics that affect us all. I’ve had so much problems throughout the years and have trued so many things. Thank God I’m doing better by eating more fruit and vegetables and hot lemon water in the morning and at night before bed. Stacey my daughter has a wonderful food blog. Check her out. Food By Mars. Aside from her marketing job she’s a photographer, food blogger and nutritionist.i think you’d like her website and her meal plans. The a look.

    1. Bri swears by the hot water and convinced me to try it!! It has a lot of great benefits!! Thanks, Sandy!! It’s so true-Fibro is directly linked to digestive and IBS issues, so while most of us probably struggle (pun intended 😉), it’s never something I see other Bloggers write about. Wow! Good for your Daughter, she’s very accomplished!! Congratulations! I will definitely check out her site!!! Thanks for telling me about it!!

Leave a Reply to Stacey Chapman Cancel reply