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Chronic constipation. Almost nothing works! Help.


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#1 joad

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 09:52 AM

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Hi. I'm turning 25 this weekend and I've had mild constipation for most of my life. Usually I haven't had to use any laxatives or fiber to get things going.I'm going to try to keep this as short as I can but I feel I need to explain my situation and how it has progressed to get proper advice and tips.But in either case, here is the short version first:

- Got non-painful IBS-D after fasting, fiber and digestive enzymes helped- After food poisoning induced violent diarrhea in Hong Kong, got worse chronic constipation- Constipation became even worse after a round of antibiotics for an infection- Tried different diets, paleodiet keeps excessive bloating/gas away, fiber makes things worse, only thing that keeps things moving is polyethylene glycol 3350 AKA miralax- Only breastfed as a child in the hospital but not at home, didn't get much colostrum which is important for healthy gut flora- Mom had me on antibiotics for every frickin infection, killing off my gut flora even more- Maybe this has something to do with my gut flora? Dunno- Help, advice, tips are all appreciated

In the past few years my constipation has gotten progressively worse. In 2009 I had a sort of IBS-D after fasting, it wasn't violent or painful by any means but ended up causing malabsorption, unintentional weight loss and acid reflux. I started using fiber and digestive enzymes for that, which seemed to do the trick and my stools became even better than before.Then in 2010 I went traveling to Hong Kong to study chinese and got food poisoning from a chicken burger at McDonalds. I had powerful diarrhea and vomiting, couldn't even keep water down so I had to go to the hospital. After a day under observation, things started to calm down and I went back to my apartment. But after that episode I ended up having severe constipation, a kind I've never before experienced. My stools were small, like the size of the tip of my thumb, and covered in mucus. I also had painful bloating and alternating diarrhea. I began to feel very weak and promptly booked a flight back home. The next day I was on a plane going home and almost fainted at my transfer airport, because I felt so weak and shaky.But eventually I got home safe and sound, and felt like #### for about two weeks. I ordered a colon cleansing product called Colonix, which actually worked great and got me regular again. My bowels never returned to normal, but I was doing OK for a couple months. The constipation was worse than before but manageable, and I wasn't even using any laxatives and fiber made me even more constipated. As a few months passed it slowly began to get worse, where I'd have occasional bouts of severe constipation amid the manageable constipation, requiring laxatives for relief. I used a tea containing senna stimulant laxatives which was effective, but not good for long-term use.Then I had an infection and took some antibiotics, cephalexin to be specific ... big mistake. Now I was constantly severely constipated and didn't even feel the urge to poop and senna laxatives had no effect. This is basically my situation now. The only thing that keeps me regular right now is polyethylene glycol 3350 (miralax). And even when I use that, I still don't feel as if my bowels are completely emptied all the time.I eat a decently healthy diet. I have very little gas, only minor bloating and basically no pain 90% of the time. But after a few days off PEG, the symptoms start to get worse. I've been on PEG for 2.5 months, taking 14 grams per day and that has helped a lot. But I don't want to form a dependence as I've heard that may happen, and obviously I'd like to get things back to normal where I don't need any laxatives. PEG is also toxic to most gut bacteria.So basically I'm wondering what could be causing this?One idea I have, after doing extensive research is that it might have something to do with my gut bacteria. As a child I only received mother's milk while in the hospital, from another mother as my own mother couldn't produce milk. This means I didn't get much colostrum which contains the immune system information and starter cultures for healthy gut flora. My mother also put me on antibiotics a lot when I was a child, wreaking more havoc on my gut flora. This situation was then worsened by my food poisoning induced violent diarrhea and after that by cephalexin, which people with bowel problems shouldn't take, according to the label, which my doctor forgot to mention or didn't know.Could this have something to do with my problems? I'm on probiotics right now and fermented foods seem to help occasionally, but from what I've read, oral probiotic cultures never establish themselves permanently in the intestines. I'd have to get a fecal transplant for long-term effects.Thanks a lot if you managed to read this and provide some input!


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#2 steeddog

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 10:24 AM

Sounds like a daily regimen of probiotics would be helpful. Having been constipated all my life, I had to wait 45 years before I was told by my nutritionist to take magnesium daily. If you try it, start slow...1 200mg capsule in the morning, one at night. I use Solaray Magnesium, 200mg. The label just says magnesium on the front, but I think it's magnesium oxide. You can take this forever, it's not like becoming dependent on laxatives.Hope this helps!

#3 joad

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 11:41 AM

Sounds like a daily regimen of probiotics would be helpful. Having been constipated all my life, I had to wait 45 years before I was told by my nutritionist to take magnesium daily. If you try it, start slow...1 200mg capsule in the morning, one at night. I use Solaray Magnesium, 200mg. The label just says magnesium on the front, but I think it's magnesium oxide. You can take this forever, it's not like becoming dependent on laxatives.Hope this helps!

Yeah I've been on probiotics for a while now and they haven't been very effective. I had better results with Sauerkraut to be honest, but I'm still taking them.I did use magnesium citrate in 2010 but it didn't do much for me. But I guess I could try some different types of magnesium and see if it helps.Thanks for your reply.

#4 SharonPH

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 12:00 PM

HiA couple of things I have never tried before, but I have heard works, are golden flax flakes, and digestive enzymes. You are SO young you poor thing to be going through this! I am 58 and have developed severe diverticulosis (no one really knows what causes them) and constipation is something I am trying desperately to get under control. I have ended up in the hospital with a suspected infection (diverticulitis), but I did not have an infection (confirmed by CAT Scan) and I think the pain has simply my IBS flaring up (I had it really bad in my younger years, but have not been too bothered by in a years). I know my constipation is either a contributing cause or a result of it, but I MUST get it under control! I have been ill for a couple of weeks with another attack, and plan on introducing digestive enzymes in a few days. I too am on a probiotic, but I plan on changing to a stronger one, and one that has been proven to help people with IBS (VSL3). The digestive enzyme I am going to try is Integrative Digestive Formula by Advanced Bionutritionals. I am also using Miralax until I get things under control. Good luck!Sharon

#5 joad

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 01:50 PM

HiA couple of things I have never tried before, but I have heard works, are golden flax flakes, and digestive enzymes. You are SO young you poor thing to be going through this! I am 58 and have developed severe diverticulosis (no one really knows what causes them) and constipation is something I am trying desperately to get under control. I have ended up in the hospital with a suspected infection (diverticulitis), but I did not have an infection (confirmed by CAT Scan) and I think the pain has simply my IBS flaring up (I had it really bad in my younger years, but have not been too bothered by in a years). I know my constipation is either a contributing cause or a result of it, but I MUST get it under control! I have been ill for a couple of weeks with another attack, and plan on introducing digestive enzymes in a few days. I too am on a probiotic, but I plan on changing to a stronger one, and one that has been proven to help people with IBS (VSL3). The digestive enzyme I am going to try is Integrative Digestive Formula by Advanced Bionutritionals. I am also using Miralax until I get things under control. Good luck!Sharon

I have a warning about Miralax that doctors forget to mention: it's toxic to gut bacteria. Both to many good strains and bad strains of bacteria. When you flush your gut with Miralax, for colonoscopy prep or something, it's supposed to have the same effect as a course of antibiotics. Taking probiotics can be helpful but it will only repopulate your gut temporarily, if it works at all, then the bacteria die off eventually.http://mic.sgmjournals.org/content/45/2/275.full.pdfBut of course if nothing else helps keep you regular, then it's likely your gut bacteria may already be in really bad shape or entirely gone, and the benefits of Miralax outweigh the downsides.One thing I've been looking into is fecal bacteriotheraphy, where you basically transplant the gut flora of a healthy person to the patient, in hopes to restore the patients gut flora. This sounds pretty disgusting but it works. Actually it's the only known cure for ulcerative colitis and Crohn's, and it has been effective at treating some cases of chronic constipation. Too bad not many doctors, even specialists, know about this procedure in the West, because it's relatively new. It's only commonly used in Eastern Europe and a few clinics in Australia. Although many people have done it themselves with some healthy poop, water, a blender and an enema.Here's a Wired magazine article on the issue:http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/12/fecal-transplants-work/

#6 SharonPH

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 03:48 PM

I have a warning about Miralax that doctors forget to mention: it's toxic to gut bacteria. Both to many good strains and bad strains of bacteria. When you flush your gut with Miralax, for colonoscopy prep or something, it's supposed to have the same effect as a course of antibiotics. Taking probiotics can be helpful but it will only repopulate your gut temporarily, if it works at all, then the bacteria die off eventually.http://mic.sgmjournals.org/content/45/2/275.full.pdfBut of course if nothing else helps keep you regular, then it's likely your gut bacteria may already be in really bad shape or entirely gone, and the benefits of Miralax outweigh the downsides.One thing I've been looking into is fecal bacteriotheraphy, where you basically transplant the gut flora of a healthy person to the patient, in hopes to restore the patients gut flora. This sounds pretty disgusting but it works. Actually it's the only known cure for ulcerative colitis and Crohn's, and it has been effective at treating some cases of chronic constipation. Too bad not many doctors, even specialists, know about this procedure in the West, because it's relatively new. It's only commonly used in Eastern Europe and a few clinics in Australia. Although many people have done it themselves with some healthy poop, water, a blender and an enema.Here's a Wired magazine article on the issue:http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/12/fecal-transplants-work/

Well that figures! I have not used the Miralax for a week, but I had to use it today because well.. you know! Anyway, I am going to order VSL3 today... it has billions of the healthy bacteria, and maybe if I spread it throughout the day, it will help. I HATE taking the Miralax, but until I get things "working" properly.. it is a necessary evil! Things for the heads up!

#7 SharonPH

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 03:50 PM

Oh yes... I think for now, I will skip the fecal bacteriotherapy.... but who knows... down the road, anything is possible! Thanks!

#8 joad

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 05:25 PM

Oh yes... I think for now, I will skip the fecal bacteriotherapy.... but who knows... down the road, anything is possible! Thanks!

Yeah, I completely understand and I have the same reservations. Things have to get pretty bad before you become open minded enough to seriously consider that option, even though it could potentially solve your problems. It's a novel approach. But I'd rather do that than have surgery, any day.

#9 JillC

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 08:51 AM

Hi. I'm turning 25 this weekend and I've had mild constipation for most of my life. Usually I haven't had to use any laxatives or fiber to get things going.I'm going to try to keep this as short as I can but I feel I need to explain my situation and how it has progressed to get proper advice and tips.But in either case, here is the short version first:In the past few years my constipation has gotten progressively worse. In 2009 I had a sort of IBS-D after fasting, it wasn't violent or painful by any means but ended up causing malabsorption, unintentional weight loss and acid reflux. I started using fiber and digestive enzymes for that, which seemed to do the trick and my stools became even better than before.Then in 2010 I went traveling to Hong Kong to study chinese and got food poisoning from a chicken burger at McDonalds. I had powerful diarrhea and vomiting, couldn't even keep water down so I had to go to the hospital. After a day under observation, things started to calm down and I went back to my apartment. But after that episode I ended up having severe constipation, a kind I've never before experienced. My stools were small, like the size of the tip of my thumb, and covered in mucus. I also had painful bloating and alternating diarrhea. I began to feel very weak and promptly booked a flight back home. The next day I was on a plane going home and almost fainted at my transfer airport, because I felt so weak and shaky.But eventually I got home safe and sound, and felt like #### for about two weeks. I ordered a colon cleansing product called Colonix, which actually worked great and got me regular again. My bowels never returned to normal, but I was doing OK for a couple months. The constipation was worse than before but manageable, and I wasn't even using any laxatives and fiber made me even more constipated. As a few months passed it slowly began to get worse, where I'd have occasional bouts of severe constipation amid the manageable constipation, requiring laxatives for relief. I used a tea containing senna stimulant laxatives which was effective, but not good for long-term use.Then I had an infection and took some antibiotics, cephalexin to be specific ... big mistake. Now I was constantly severely constipated and didn't even feel the urge to poop and senna laxatives had no effect. This is basically my situation now. The only thing that keeps me regular right now is polyethylene glycol 3350 (miralax). And even when I use that, I still don't feel as if my bowels are completely emptied all the time.I eat a decently healthy diet. I have very little gas, only minor bloating and basically no pain 90% of the time. But after a few days off PEG, the symptoms start to get worse. I've been on PEG for 2.5 months, taking 14 grams per day and that has helped a lot. But I don't want to form a dependence as I've heard that may happen, and obviously I'd like to get things back to normal where I don't need any laxatives. PEG is also toxic to most gut bacteria.So basically I'm wondering what could be causing this?One idea I have, after doing extensive research is that it might have something to do with my gut bacteria. As a child I only received mother's milk while in the hospital, from another mother as my own mother couldn't produce milk. This means I didn't get much colostrum which contains the immune system information and starter cultures for healthy gut flora. My mother also put me on antibiotics a lot when I was a child, wreaking more havoc on my gut flora. This situation was then worsened by my food poisoning induced violent diarrhea and after that by cephalexin, which people with bowel problems shouldn't take, according to the label, which my doctor forgot to mention or didn't know.Could this have something to do with my problems? I'm on probiotics right now and fermented foods seem to help occasionally, but from what I've read, oral probiotic cultures never establish themselves permanently in the intestines. I'd have to get a fecal transplant for long-term effects.Thanks a lot if you managed to read this and provide some input!



#10 JillC

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 08:54 AM

I agree with the others, continue with a Probiotic and possibly add a Digestive Enzyme. To treat constipation I have found the following works:1. fiber, Fiber, FIBER - get a basic fiber supplement to add to your breakfast every morning2. H2O - at least as many ounces of water as 1/2 your body weight every day3. Listen to your body... and obey when you feel "pressure", don't delay!4. Give Your Bowels a Break with a Colon Cleanse.I have come across a fabulous site for digestive wellness issues, contact me privately if you would like that information. I hope this is helpful.





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