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Painkillers & Constipation

(162 Posts)
RebeccaJames Sat 23-Mar-24 16:30:21

I am so sorry for the topic - but could I have some advice please?

I have been prescribed painkillers for a knee injury and I can't go to the toilet! They said this might happen (and the info with the tablets says it is very common) so prescribed stool softeners but they're not working for me.

How do you cope with this?

I haven't been since Thursday morning and have just been on the toilet for 45 minutes without success!

Primrose53 Sat 23-Mar-24 16:35:42

I think it’s co-codamol (sp?) that causes constipation in our house. Drink plenty of water and eat some fruit.

Jaxjacky Sat 23-Mar-24 16:40:21

Lactulose works very well.

MissAdventure Sat 23-Mar-24 16:43:01

Lactulose is a gentle way of shifting "things" now, but it's really best to keep on top of the problem by not allowing it to get to this state (take it from one who knows!)
A nice Epsom Salts bath may do the trick.

Bea65 Sat 23-Mar-24 16:43:36

Try cooled down boiling water...have you tried prunes or figs? I take co-codamol daily and sometimes find myself in your predicament..also pure orange juice can help assuming you have the fybogel sachets ...i don't like the taste but combined with above, they should work ..also dark chocolate!

RebeccaJames Sat 23-Mar-24 16:46:01

Thanks so much everyone. I've never had this problem before. I just can't go.

MissAdventure Sat 23-Mar-24 16:47:53

It's awful isn't it?
I'd never had constipation before, either.

A big bar of chocolate sounds like the nicest way to get things moving.

foxie48 Sat 23-Mar-24 16:49:12

Earlier in the year following an accident I was on Oxycodone, gabapentin and maximum dose paracetamol, also couldn't get any exercise. I found lactulose worked well, but I took it regularly until I was off all the painkillers. Also try to up your fibre intake and keep well hydrated. It's horrible but you will get it sorted.

BladeAnnie Sat 23-Mar-24 16:50:50

I take zo-morph which, if I'm not very careful, causes horrendous constipation. I take softeners, fibre supplements and senna at night. I also drink plenty of water and a glass of orange 🍊 juice every day. This seems to work for me but we are all different aren't we?? Hope you manage to find something which helps you

RebeccaJames Sat 23-Mar-24 16:56:07

Thank you. It's awful. I really need to go but nothing happens!

VioletSky Sat 23-Mar-24 17:01:29

I'm so sorry, been here recently after lower intestinal surgery, not fun. I had to stop taking the painkillers, and it took quite a while for it to pass.

I really would recommend a squatty potty step stool, it did help

DamaskRose Sat 23-Mar-24 17:04:42

I used to think that constipation was “just” not being able to go. I learned better when I was on a high dose of painkillers, it’s awful! Lactose worked for me and I really, really hope something (anything!) works for you RebeccaJames.

RebeccaJames Sat 23-Mar-24 17:12:37

I'm just worried that it's now 5pm and the problem of not being able to move my bowels could go on all night and stop me from being able to sleep properly!

I'm so uncomfortable - the more stressed I get about it the less I am able to go! I've been straining without success.

Really appreciate all of your advice.

MissAdventure Sat 23-Mar-24 17:16:17

Try not to get stressed, and do a few of the things mentioned.
You may sleep well, relax, and find that things happen tomorrow when you get up.

The position you take when trying to empty your bowels makes a big difference too.

You need your feet up high enough that you are squatting, in effect, to help you do what needs to be done.

MissAdventure Sat 23-Mar-24 17:23:27

Just seen that violetsky already suggested to squatty potty thing.

You could go for a walk, if you can.
That may help.

Nell8 Sat 23-Mar-24 17:28:59

When I was on co-codamol and other painkillers I became very bunged up and lactulose didn't help.
I used glycerin suppositories to loosen things up at the exit point. It can be very painful and cause bleeding if you struggle to pass a hard stool. It's important to resist the urge to go to the loo before the recommended waiting time. You may have to try a couple of times to get a result.
Once things got moving I used Sennokot at bedtime plus drinking lots of water and eating sensibly.
Good luck. Constipation is a horrible thing when you're feeling rough anyway.

Sweetpeasue Sat 23-Mar-24 17:36:00

I have to take painkillers too and I really sympathise with you in this state. As MissAdventure says- best to keep on top of the problem early with stool softners. I use Movicol/Laxido every day -you will find out how much you need with time , but don't be afraid of them -Ive found them gentle enough. Much better than finding yourself where you are now.
Keep up with plenty of fibre in your diet and water is a must.
Last resort -glycerine suppository can set things going. Use as instructions on box.
Really sorry for your pain-it can be agony- and hope you get some relief soon. Warm water and drinks will help. ( Noticed you were on loo for 45 mins- be careful not to strain if you're not getting results)
Obviously if you feel concerned or worried something serious , I'd see GP or nurse.

Biscuitmuncher Sat 23-Mar-24 18:01:39

Chemist told me to soak some prunes in boiling water, drink the water and then eat the prunes

foxie48 Sat 23-Mar-24 18:02:36

If you are still struggling tomorrow, do you have a local dispensing chemist that is open on a Sunday? If so have a chat with the pharmacist. When I was in hospital I had to have a suppository and it worked very well, no tummy pain and a good result. You may need that extra help initially.

Hellogirl1 Sat 23-Mar-24 18:06:11

Lactulose made me really poorly, Laxido sachets work better for me.

valdavi Sat 23-Mar-24 18:09:10

Walk as much as you can, drink lots, orange juice & prunes are great, get in touch with your GP as you may need something more than stool softeners, or a higher dose.Don't sit on the loo for 45 mins, that's wishful thinking, if you can't go after 5, get up & walk about for the next 25 minutes would be more helpful.

LucyAnna Sat 23-Mar-24 18:09:40

2 or 3 soft prunes / a few soft dried apricots / 2 kiwi fruits / a large pear, or pear juice / Wholemeal bread with banana / chia seeds - these all work for me (not all together!) Also, going for a walk (maybe not possible with a knee injury), and drinking lots and lots of water. Fybogel usually works to. I fully sympathise as I have this problems due to my meds. I’m vegetarian and eat a lot of fruit and veg, but even so…..
Good luck!

Sallywally1 Sat 23-Mar-24 18:26:37

A high fibre cereal can help, I like grape nuts. I also got some stuff called smecta from amazon it’s a powder you mix in water. That can be helpful. I think it is not good to strain; I ended up with skin damage that way! (She said sensitively)

Ziplok Sat 23-Mar-24 18:26:51

It’s awful isn’t it, when you can’t go? Lactulose can help. However, drinking lots of fluid, eating fruit, veg, porridge oats and plenty of walking should also help.
Have you tried massaging your tummy a bit, as this can sometimes help, and perhaps a hot water bottle - both of these might help relax the bowel.
I do hope you get relief soon.

Lomo123 Sat 23-Mar-24 18:30:41

You have my sympathy. Only thing that worked for me was sugar free sweets, I took them before bed and had to go in the early hours of the morning.