Crohn’s and Constipation

Crohn’s and Constipation
Crohn’s disease often is viewed as a “bathroom disease,” because having frequent bathroom trips is associated with Crohn’s. That is not always the case for those suffering with this debilitating disease. When those bathroom symptoms become bothersome, this includes diarrhea or in some cases the exact opposite, constipation, and it’s hard to have bowel movements (BM). What is constipation and what are the symptoms? Constipation is a condition that occurs when someone has fewer than three bowel movements in a week. Often BM stools are hard and dry, making it difficult or painful to pass. It’s important to know that not everyone has the same bowel movement habits. Some people have several BMs daily, some have just a few per week. Constipation can cause a variety of secondary symptoms, such as nausea, abdominal bloating, cramping, and a feeling of fullness. When I was first diagnosed with Crohn’s, I was making up to 25 trips to the bathroom daily. I had the hardest time trying to control having to go so many times, and staying hydrated was a struggle. A lot of that changed when I had a hemicolectomy. One section of my colon was so diseased it was wreaking havoc and I was getting obstructions. After that portion was removed, I still was making numerous trips, although fewer. Fast-forward two years, and now I live with the opposite problem, chronic constipation. My doctor told me that although it's less common, the reason for my constipation is Crohn’s disease. After some testing, my doctor found a large section of my colon is moderately inflamed before the anastomosis site and has stopped moving. Although there really isn’t a way to get that section to start functioning normally again, there are some ways to help. Whom does constipation affe
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  1. Marge says:

    I have had chronic partial obstructions in the past. They happen suddenly so I would not say it is constipation. The doctor believes it is motility and a stricture. Since I started drinking Plumsmart after every meal, just a small amount I am having fewer obstructions. Some people drink 8oz at once, I could not handle that. The magnesium added to the juice helps your muscle contract. It is an expensive juice but after 5 hospitalizations to go “nothing by mouth” in a two year period, I feel like I have my life back. Due to the stricture I adhere to a very low fiber diet.

  2. Lisa Burks says:

    Hello Marge,

    Thank you for both taking the time to read my column and posting a comment here. I always appreciate feedback! What I was meaning towards Obstructions and constipation was more of a symptom to watch out for because of the fact it is a symptom of them. You’ve had 5 obstructions in two years?! That is 5 too many! I have had 3 in the past two years, and boy they are hard and pretty painful! I’ve dealt with one total colon obstruction and two functional partial obstructions. Moreso now is my issues also stem from motility. My intestines just don’t want to contract/function anymore. I’ve actually never tried Plumsmart before. It makes sense since prunes are a good way to help with digestion. I dont think I could do 8oz of that juice either. NPO is not fun!! Im so glad to hear that lately you have been feeling better, and I hope that lasts for a long time! If you get more strictures and obstructions is your doctor considering surgery to remove those areas of the intestines? My doctor also wants my on a low fiber diet. He called it a low residue diet. Keep on fighting my fellow Crohnie Warrior!!

    • Marge says:

      My doctor does not want to do surgery unless I have an obstruction that will not resolve NPO. More surgery means more scar tissues and that can lead to adhesive related strictures. My inflammation is under control with Humira. I am so low residue I eat white rice and white tandoori bread. Also, nothing raw. I also avoid cooked veggies that cause gas. My last tip is maternity leggings-haha. They are so comfortable when things are moving slowly. Good luck to you!

      • Lisa Burks says:

        It’s good that your doctor is conservative when it comes to having surgery. Some doctors are gun-ho on sending their patients out to have resections or colostomy’s. I’ve actually never heard of Tandoori bread or using maternity leggings before, I might have to have to look into that. It’s good to avoid raw veggies for sure!! I don’t do too well when eating that sort of food. I used to take Humira but it just didn’t provide enough relief or preventing obstructions. I was switched to Remicade infusions and although it hasn’t been enough to put me in remission, it has decreased the degree of inflammation in my small and large intestines. I hope your Humira continues to work for you! Good luck to you too!!

  3. i have crohns about a foot of my small bowel removed now i find out if i take pill instead of capsules i have constipation badly i would like to know if this happens to other people with crohns

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