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MS and constipation

BRACKNAGH Have been diagnosed with RRMS 3 years ago. Am on Tecfidera and use Gabapentin for pain relief. More recently I am having desperate problems with constipation and have to resort more often than desired to use of strong laxatives which I fear may cause my bowels to become lazy. Anybody have any tips how I can control or handle the constipation better? My diet is average but wonder do I need to seriously visit it and try to avoid certain foods. Thanks in advance.

Hi

From my experience, let me just say that dealing with constipation can be difficult but absolutely essential.

First, sort out your diet, make sure you are including lots of soluble fibre in your diet (wholemeal, bran fibre, porridge etc). Plus plenty of varied vegetables. And whole foods such as lentils, beans, chickpeas. Also fruit, again, mix up the types you eat, dried and fresh. Probiotics are also a good idea. Drink lots of water.

Diet on its own might be insufficient to make a sluggish bowel (typical of MSers) work, so laxatives. Not the hardcore, use when desperate type, but Laxido/Movicol everyday or Senna, or lactulose, or a combination of them all.

If you have a period of severe constipation, try glycerin suppositories or micro enemas. You can get all of this lot on prescription.

I have recently discovered that severe constipation over years can actually stretch your bowel, which means it can hold more poo, and thus the problem becomes worse. The more constipation blocking up your bowels means more constipation will result, thus a cumulative problem.

You could get a referral from your GP to the local bowel and bladder service. You could also ask to see a dietician.

I spent absolutely years being far too shy and embarrassed to discuss my chronic constipation with anyone, professional or otherwise. (Yes, honestly me - I can now discuss everything with the whole world!) My constipation was so bad I have ended up with a colostomy and that isn’t the end of the problem. I still have sluggish bowels. I still have to take laxatives and still have constipation alternating with diarrhoea.

So, let me be a lesson for everyone. Don’t be embarrassed, get help to sort out your bowels!!

Sue

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Hi

Sue’s given you good advice on diet. I also find eating a lot of meat can makes things worse, so I tend to eat fish or fake meat. The bowels tend to be more active after eating, so it could be worth sitting on the loo ten or twenty minutes after eating. And invest in a Squatty Potty (if you want a giggle, you can see an advert for it if you search youtube for ‘This Unicorn Changed the Way I Poop - #SquattyPotty’)

Dan

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try linseeds sprinkle on your cereal, quite without a strong taste and they work!

i know that if i eat white bread there’ll be trouble.

i’ve always eaten wholemeal but recently there hasn’t been room in the freezer for a spare wholemeal so i’ve been eating white and now i’m struggling to poo.

i can’t wee if i’m constipated and told the bladder nurse who said ‘well there’s a limited amount of room in the abdominal cavity’.

eugh, i hate knowing the details about my gubbins.

my guilty pleasure, which everyone else is disgusted by, is fresh figs.

tasty (imo) and healthy too.

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I too use Linseed seeds. 1 and a half dessert spoon fulls in my cereals every morning and half a sachet of movicol every other night. Plus drink loads of water throughout the day. It works!

I use Movicol, 1 a day drunk in a lot of water/diluting juice, I also drink at least a litre of plain water per day. They certainly help me maintain some regularity but more importantly they help make the passing easier.

It can be difficult to get the balance right easily taking too much or too little can mean a disaster one way or the other. It took me a couple of months to get get myself regular with the use of Movicol. Whilst I said I take one a day I do often have a day or two off, usually at the weekend. In all it is 5-6 sachets per week. I get them on prescription.

In my quest for solutions I tried linseeds and Chia seeds, both helped a little but not as well as the Movicol and I don’t use them now as it would probably be too much.

I have also had a referral to the Bowel clinic but after filling in a questionnaire and diary we have only conversed by phone. They are in my phonebook should I need them and they’ll always be helpful with advice and soothing words.

Good luck in your quest for some normality but keep trying things, you’ll get there and you’ll feel much better about it when you do.

Thanks for all the helpful comments. I hate Movicol but sounds like I will have to persist with it. Lots of water seems more pleasant. Thanks again.

Movicol comes in a flavour labelled ‘Plain’. It tastes of nothing but water. I was given some by my pharmacy because they had none of the ‘sugar free lemon and lime’ variety and I absolutely hate and detest anything ‘orange’ flavoured. I then asked the pharmacy for the Plain variety again, and they said it had to be specifically prescribed by the GP because it costs more. I did this and now I have Movicol Plain variety all the time.

Sue

drink lots of water, make sure you have good fibre in your diet, and PRUNES, the old fashioned remedy. works for me everytime, mind you i am not pleasant to be around lol as they kind of give me wind. but boy they work.

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In addition to all the good advice above try a slice of rye bread everyday. Definitely helps me poop everyday.

Aww I feel your pain it’s horrible

i took so many different pills and laxatives

the answer my friend is Pitted prunes ( cut them up to the size of a pea and sprinkle them onto your breakfast it’s guaranteed to make I trump a lot but it works much better than anything you buy over the counter at your local chemist

let the prunes work their way around your digestive system

i have them every morning and it works every time guaranteed

Hi there Please ask for a referral to your local continence nurse. For some of us, the nerve supply to the bowel is so affected by MS that no matter the diet or the laxatives, the constipation remains a constant and there is a device called peristeen that your continence nurse can recommend. I’m quite evangelical about it because it has made such a difference to my life. No more nasty laxatives or anusol !!! Just a bag, some water and … well the desired outcome lol

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Folks

Update on my previous post about problems with constipation. Had read somewhere Magnesium tablets maybe of help. So along to that famous High Street store (HB) I went and bought some Magnesium Citrate tablets. Started with 2 a day and after 3 days constipation problems eased somewhat and after a week were nearly too helpful so reduced to just one in morning. They seemed to be a good help to me and am hoping situation continues.

Have not made significant changes to diet but know that also helps as meals I ate involving any amount of white bread or red meat seem to really cause me problems.

I am however convinced Magnesium tabs have been a great help and long may that continue.

Regards

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Glad your sorted i also take magnesium,1 at night and it helps me such a lot.

Are you on any medication for the bladder? If yes, double check whether this is causing bowel problems . It was with me. Changed bladder tablets, and this combined with porridge and prunes for breakfast, plenty water during the day, a reasonably healthy diet, largely means the bowel is ok.

derek

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mrsJ Am so surprised at how effective the Magnesium is with me. Pity our doctors do not be as helpful in suggesting its use. The cold and wet winter in the UK has left its mark as seem to be experiencing more muscle pain at the mo.

yummmm figs. the nectar of the gods. I buy sainsburys prepacked organic as i cant always get them they are lush and moist. I used to have a fig tree in my garden one year she gave me 10 fruits for one year with others for the next year. I shall miss that tree. boy they make me go lol.