Constipation and hard stools

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Hello everyone I'm from the United States hoping someone can give me some advice. I was hospitalized with Diverticulitis about 2 weeks ago. I spent about 6 days in the hospital where they found I had an abscess that needed to be drained. I was sent home 4/23 and the doctors literally told me I could eat whatever I wanted as long as I kept my fiber intake high. I believed this though a friend of a freind who is also a doctor said I should be careful. I ate very spicy foods and salty meats two days after I got home, though I was also eating vegetables and and keeping my fiber intake high. A little over a week ago I started having some mild constipation that got worse. I realized it was an awful idea to eat the things I did and went on a liquid diet for 4 days. I started going to bathroom at a regular pace 3-4 times a day but my stools were still hard Then I went to a soft diet with no fiber intake for about 4 days. However once I went to the soft diet which consisted of vegetables (broccoli,carrots, greenbeans) meat (Chicken breast, and broiled fish). The constipation came back and its awful! My stools are extremely hard, I'm going more than regularly 5-7 times a day. Everytime I go I know there is more that wants to come out (sorry for being so foul but its a foul subject). Can anyone please offer me any advice? Should I go back on the liquid diet until I start having soft stools? I thought 4 days would be enough. Should I go back to the hospital (which I dont want to because the health system here is a mess, and the only issue is the constipation and hard stools I feel ok otherwise). I've been getting out and trying to walk and get exercise but im starting to get nervous please help! and thank you in advance to anyone who takes the time to respond to this!

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  • Posted

    I would got to your Drs for a stool softener. It helps me my Drs gave me a antispasmodic tablet to take before meals because I felt I still needed to go all the time this has worked for me Good luck hope you feel better soon
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    • Posted

      I actually just tried taking an over the counter stool softener this evening, It's only been about half a day and not much relief so far. I'm hoping something comes of it. I'll take a look into the antispasmodic tablets as well. Thank you for the suggesstion Susan!

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    • Posted

      I believe I have had DD for years but only diagnosed last year it as taken me about 6 months to get were I am today. I still can have a off day but doing a lot better. So hang in there
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  • Posted

    Hi

    Susan is correct about the stool softener.  Here in the UK is is prescribed once Diverticulitis is diagnosed.  I think the name in the US is Metamucil.  It is certainly available on the internet.  It is a natural vegetable husk mixed with 12oz water  which bulks and softens the stools, makes them easier to pass and has a mild laxative effect.  I would give it at least a week to start working.  What ever you do, don't let it stand, but gulp it all down straight away.  That way it will go straight down and start to thicken in the place it should.  It is not one of those violent emetics!! 

    After an attack such as you have had it will take time for your bowel to heal and settle back into a normal rythym, and that may be different to before.  It can take a few weeks, or even months.  I go 3 - 6 times a day, one small hard, followed by one normal soft in the morning (like a plug has been released and then normal flow), plus one normal soft in the evening and the odd few small, sometimes hard motions.  I take my softener once a day in the morning, but if I feel particularly bunged up, I will take a 2nd after 12 hours (about twice a week).  Some people take 2 a day, but I found that was giving me the runs.  You really should try and drink lots of water though.

    I too feel sometimes that I can't empty properly, but straining is a bad idea.  So is getting into a laxative/binder cycle.  Liquid only after an attack is standard, but if you think about it, not much is going in, there is not much to come out, and there is not much fibre to bulk and soften it, hence what I describe as bullets!  So I don't think returning to a liquid diet will necessarily help.  The thing about this diet is everyone is different, and we each have to find what suits us.  Hence very little helpful information from the medical profession, just suggestions, and the posts on here about what works for each of us.

    I suggest you keep a food diary and note what effect various food have on you, so you can work out what helps, and what to avoid.  For me it is gluten and full fat, for others it can be dairy, red meat, nuts, popcorn, spices - all sorts in fact.  I have a lot of my fibre now in the form of my supplement, home made blended soups and vegetable purees.  I avoid skins on potatoes and apples and cook any other vegetables quite well.  As you are feeling OK apart from the constipation, it sounds like you are recovering pretty well.  Hopefully this will be your first and last attack, but if you are in any doubt you should seek medical help.  Best wishes

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    • Posted

      I don't take fybergel because I am ok going to the toilet at the moment. I have it in the house just incase I need it. I can't take antispasmodic as well as fybergel. I have albran on a morning brown bread and lots of veg. This seams to work for me

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    • Posted

      Hi Susan

      You certainly sound as though you are now starting to manage your diet and medication much better.  It might help jarrett how long it has taken you, to give him an idea.  As I have been managing for 16 years, all I can do is say that it does get better with time, and what I do that suits me.  We all have ups and downs - me included - even after all this time.

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  • Posted

    Felinia and Susan

    Thank you so much for the helpful advice! Yes metamucil is the US product and I will absolutely give this a try as a matter of fact I'm going to go pick some up shortly. What you said about returning to the liquid diet also makes sense, You need food in to make a "real" bowel movement happen. I'm going to start the metamucil today, keep a food journal as well, today I will have some broccoli, roasted turkey, and some beef bone broth and see how things go. I really appreciate all the help, and will keep everyone informed how things go. Maybe our discussion will help someone else! It's just the start of this journey for me and thankfully I have some great guides to help me along the way!

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    • Posted

      My pleasure. You might like to trawl through this forum for a post made by julia1040 about diet, and all the replies to it.  There are lots of ideas and advice on foods from both sides of the pond.
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    • Posted

      Broccoli is not a soft diet food it is very hard to digest as is many other vegetables. I had to take an actual stool softener (not Metamucil which can take a while before it starts to help)to help me to go. Have patience each thing you try medication or diet takes a while.
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  • Posted

    So I tried the metamucil for a few days and wow the difference it made was tremendous! Stools are not exactly soft, however I no longer have pain during bowel movements. I take it about twice a day and I'm sure things will begin to improve even more. Thank you so much to everyone on this forum, I have an appointment with my colon doctor to make a plan from here. I will continue to look on here for good foods and other strategies. Thank you so much everyone!

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    • Posted

      Hi

      I'm glad we could help.  With Diverticular Disease and Metamucil, once you are fully recovered, it is normal to have several soft bowel movements daily.  As you have discovered, that is better than constipation, and an emptied bowel is a good bowel - less chance of a build up of impacted matter and re-infection.  It can take some time - weeks or possibly months - for all the pain to subside and a normal rythym to establish.  After my 1st attack 16 years ago, it took 4 weeks.  I was then fine for 6 years before my 2nd attack, and lived a totally normal life, particpating in competitive sport and working full time. 

      As your doctor friend advised, I am careful, but have a diet high in soluble fibre.  Metamucil is part of that, and I have lots of home made blended soups and vegetable puree.  Hope your recovery continues.

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