Constipation and BPH

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I am 63, with chronic urinary retention (CUR) due to a streched bladder, currently doing self-cathing to protect my kidneys. I am also taking doxazosin ( alpha blocker) and just started Finasteride (to shrink my prostate hopefully). My PSA for the last 9 years has been about the same, around 3.

I have been noticing for years that my BPH symptoms are related to the occurrences of my constipation and I am easily constipated, especially due to the fact that I have redundant (tortuous - extra long - loopy - twisted) colon, which I was told after my colonoscopy 5 years ago. Every change in diet, every change in daily routine, will make me constipated and gassed bloated and I sufffer BPH symptoms, which is for me means more hesitancy, more urine retention. The harden stool and the gas trapped in the colon will push and/or pinch on the urethra just like an enlarged prostate would. Once I had a very bad constipation and I almost had a complete urine shutdown (AUR). I always find immediate urinary relief once my constipation and bloating subsided. Now I wonder if I have been suffering from constipation more than from enlarged prostate and therefore any prostate surgeries may not do me any good.

Anyone else with similar problem ? Especially with redundant colon ? Please share your story.

Hank

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  • Posted

    Hi Hank,

    I have also noticed that constipation can effect BPH/LUTS for the reason you give. Frequently, I my bladder will expel more urine after a bowel movement as further evidence. 

    It sounds like you've tried the higher fiber diets which can intially cause more gas and bloating but longer term may be the answer. Have you tried a vegetable based diet like DASH? Vegetables tend to be associated with softer stools. 

    How much relief do you find when you're not constipated? Is it enough to go off self cathererization with acceptable PVR's? 

    BPH/LUTS can have multiple causes so it's sometimes hard to figure out if you get rid of "x", will "y" work.

    If you're trying to figure out if a prostate reduction surgery will work given both a stretched baldder and constipation, you might try urodynamic testing after administering an enema to at least eliminate one variable. 

    Jim

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    • Posted

      Thanks Jim,

      I have not found the perfect diet yet. However, I found out that vegetables in general are good for my constipation, except for beans which gave me gas. As far as CICs, when I am constipated, I would do it more times during the day. Otherwise, I only do it just before bed and once more around 3,4am because night time retention is usually higher.

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    • Posted

      Hi Jim,

      Do you know any simple procedure that we can use to empty our colons, that is similar to how we self cath to empty our bladders ? Right now, all I think off is going through a pre-colonoscopy procedure, perhaps taking laxative like MiraLax with only liquid foods for couple of days. Hank

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    • Posted

      I don't think it's necessary to go through the pre-colonoscopy procedure. On occasion, I've used OTC Fleet Enemas. If the problem is primarily lubrication, the mineral oil Fleet should be tried first. If the stool needs softening due to it being very dry, you might have to use the standard Saline Fleet Enema. You could also just get an enema bag at the drug store and make your own solution. 

      The problem is you don't want to get into the habit of using enemas, laxatives, etc, because your body can become dependent on them.

      Best thing is to find the right diet approach. Diary, for example, is constipating for many people. I still find a diet ample in cooked vegetables seems to work best. 2-3 prunes a day also helps. 

      Jim

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    • Posted

      Hank,

      You could also research the appropriate Yoga exercises. When I practiced Yoga there was one exercise that gained control of the abdominal muscle where you could sort of give yourself an internal massage. It took time to master but not that difficult. I would think that would be a great help in getting things moving along. 

      How many bowel movements do you have a week? When I eat low fiber, I'd average every day or every other day. With inactivity sometimes once every three days. When I was on a plant based, low fat diet, I had two bowel movements a day. That means less transit time and less constipation.

      Jim

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    • Posted

      Thanks Jim,

      I'll look into Yoga and enemas as you suggested. I like to go at least once a day but when I am constipated, not much comes out and they are hard and dry. I would like to flush my colon at least once just to see how much urinary relief I will get. Hank

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    • Posted

      Another thing: when I am constipated, it is more difficult to CIC also. I mean it takes more time for the catheter to find the bladder. Hank
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    • Posted

      Hi Buzz,

      It happened to me once and I thought it was just a coincidence. What would you do, take a probiotic every day ? The strong ones are expensive. Hank

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  • Posted

    I, too, have found a correlation between BPH symptoms and constipation.  But slightly different from yours.  I was using a fiber (don't remember which) and had no problems.  Then a bowel irritation showed up on my colonoscopy.  After a trip to Mexico it became inflammed and I had to quit the fiber, dried fruits, etc because they worsened the inflammation.  As I searched for something to make my bowels regular, I bounced from diarhea to constipation and each brought on increasing BPH symptoms...frequency, urgency, hesistation, interruptions.  

    I've asked several doctors who said they didnt know of a connection.

    My guess is that pressure on bowels moves the prostate into a bad position. 

     

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    • Posted

      So you had a bowel irritation as a result of a colonoscopy ?

      There is only limited space in our body cavity so organs will affect each other. Hank

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    • Posted

      The colonoscopy merely found the irritation.  After that each time I used the fiber the inflammation flared up, making me think that the fiber or roughage like dried fruit, might be the cause.

      Without the fiber I bounced from constipation to diarhea, each time 

      seemed to trigger increased BPH symptoms.

      Now one of the ways I reduced my BPH problems is to use a non-abrassive laxative and avoid constipation.

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    • Posted

      Thank jjjj,

      ".each time I used the fiber the inflammation flared up, making me think that the fiber or roughage like dried fruit, might be the cause.."

      I agree with this. I think dried up fiber can scratch and irritate the linings of the colon. Worse of, it could block your colon. It is why they suggest extra liquid while taking extra fiber. But too much liquid can cause other urination problems. So it is a fine line we have to walk on.

      I think I have the same thing from my last colonoscopy. It showed some blisters. Hank

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    • Posted

      I agree.   

      So now I am using mineral oil, like my grandparents used.  Plus avoiding pepper, strong spices, onions, dried fruit, too many raw vegetables, etc.   

      It seems like my colon has calmed down and my nocturia has improved. But its only been about a month.

      I'm not sure how healthy this is for my colon.

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    • Posted

      I also found out that these tend to cause constipation:

      1. Too low in salt diet

      2. Too low in fat diet

      Too high in salt and fat is not good either due to other things.

      Hank

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    • Posted

      I'm currently on a very low sodium, very low fat diet and have not issues with constipation. Not saying that this may or not be an issue with "jjj" but I would balance the benefits of such a diet against any possible risks. Adding salt to one's diet, at our advancing ages, is usually not a very good idea, while the opposite is. 

      The DASH diet, for example is also low in salt and fat and apparently is good for constipation. The caveat is that you have to drink adequate fluids. 

      Jim

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    • Posted

      TYPO: Please substitute "you" for "jjj" in my last post.

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    • Posted

      I started drinking a few teaspoons daily.  Somehow I don't mind that it tastes like engine oil.  

      I also use caffeine pills on occaision.  I take meds at bedtime, 0.5g rivotril seems to relax my bladder and put me in a deeper sleep, ambien eliminates laying there for a hour wating for sleep, flomax, etc.  

      I usually wake up feeling normal but say if I'm going to the gym and want to feel energetic I'll take a 100mg caffeine pill as a non-acidic alternative to coffee.    

      Its been a challenge to find all the right doses but last night was the 2nd night in a row that I only had to get up once!!!  

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    • Posted

      Excerpts from an article written by a UK MD on the internet:

      " ... First of all, it is important to understand what is happening in your bowel when you are constipated. Stool is a waste product containing toxins and bacteria that should not be stored in the body. However, if you are constipated, this stool is building up inside you. The food begins to decay and rot, and as the bacteria multiply, this produces more and more toxins.

      Your bowel is located right next to your prostate gland. This means that when there is an over-abundance of toxins in your bowel, these begin to leak into the surrounding tissues, directly impacting on your prostate gland.

      The prostate gland is usually a very effective filter, managing to protect semen from substances which could potentially damage them. However, when an excessive amount of toxins is entering from the bowel, the prostate is put under too much stress, and it struggles to keep these toxins at bay. An accumulation of toxins in the gland is like a poison, and the gland can quickly become inflamed and painful.

      Additionally, if the bowel becomes packed with stool, this can put pressure on the prostate gland and result in typical obstructive symptoms of BPH (Benign Hypertension Hyperplasia), including weaker urine flow and dribbling at the end of urination. It can also make it difficult to fully empty the bladder...."

      Hank

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    • Posted

      Hi Jim,

      DASH diet advocates low sodium (1500-2300mg), I think my sodium intake is within this range. If I go lower, I'll have low BP problem and will be blocked up unless I drink a lot. Regarding fat, I try to stay with healthy fat like olive oil or coconut oil. Hank

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    • Posted

      What makes you think coffee is bad for you ? I have been drinking coffee in the afternoon to reduce my nighttime urination (another wild suggestion by Jimjames smile ). I have been wondering whether or not I should take caffeine pills instead. Black coffee tastes bitter to me. Anything else added to make it better tasting is usu bad for you. Hank

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    • Posted

      "I started drinking a few teaspoons daily. Somehow I don't mind that it tastes like engine oil. "

      Did you try olive oil instead ? I am sure it does not taste as bas as engine oil. smile Hank

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    • Posted

      I had no problems until I got food poisoning in Mexico City 2 years ago. That badly irritated my bowel and soon my prostate was acting up.

      I consulted a gastro-interologist who told me to calm everything down by going on a soft, non irritatiting diet.  Coffee was one of the first things to go because it is acidic and has no nutrition.  At this point I'm ok having a half cup of light coffee with bfast but I didn't have any for a long time.  Like I said , for a wake up I use caffiene pills.

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