Constipation vs Bowel Blockage whats the difference?

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cptmac
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Constipation vs Bowel Blockage whats the difference?

Postby cptmac » Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:33 pm

As a long term survivor, every other year I get constipated - and then I freak out.

But I take a laxative and things clear up.

But how do I know when to see a doctor.

I felt I might have had a blockage because I felt a bit of pain in my upper abdomen. I was passing gas. I hadn't had a BM for 2 days unlike my usual 1 or 2 a day. I took a laxative and things seem to have cleared up.

So what are the symptoms of a blockage? How do you know when to go see a doctor? What's the difference from feeling uncomfortable vs pain and needing to go to the ER? Is there a difference between a partial blockage and a full blockage? Could I still have a blockage after taking a laxative?

Thank you.
cptmac
As long as you're alive, there is hope.
dx 7/04 stage IV
colon resection 8/04
liver resection 9/04 with HAI pump installed
Stage II trial w irinotecan as systemic and FUDR for direct chemo to liver via HAI pump
Cured since 9/04

crikklekay
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Location: Richmond, VA

Re: Constipation vs Bowel Blockage whats the difference?

Postby crikklekay » Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:55 pm

During treatment we were always told that after 24 hours without a bowel movement try Colace, then is the next day still no movement go with Miralax. If still no movement after that then call the doctor.

As for the difference, while I have not suffered it myself my husband was diagnosed because of an emergency ER visit with a blockage. He told me it just steadily get worse and nothing works. The pressure and bloating build up until it's unbearable, and the more you eat/drink the faster it will be because all that you put in will start to back up. Feeling nauseous and vomiting combined with the bloating were key signs too. I'm not sure if severe constipation can mimic a blockage, his doctor thought it was severe constipation and he needed to be in the ER on an IV drip so his "system could rest". He started feeling bad on Wednesday and by early Saturday AM we were in the ER, so it was a pretty swift decline. I wish I had better words to describe it, but by the time we were in the ER he could barely stand and was vomiting everything up.
Caring for DH John, 41
DX: Colon Cancer, Sigmoid colon
Tumor type: Adenocarcinoma
Tumor grade: G2, Moderately differentiated w/invasion of visceral peritoneum
Stage IIIC
Positive lymph nodes: 6/22
Chemotherapy: FOLFOX (6)
12/17 ER and emergency surgery
02/18 Hospital w/ MSSA infected port, PICC line inserted, abdominal CT scan clear chest CT scan showed septic emboli & blood clots
03/18 Hospital w/ CDIFF
04/18 Chest CT scan clear
06/18 Colonoscopy Clear
08/18 CT Scan Clear, NEMD

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cptmac
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Re: Constipation vs Bowel Blockage whats the difference?

Postby cptmac » Wed Nov 07, 2018 2:25 pm

Thank you so much for that response. It helped relieve my anxiety immensely. The fact that I had a BM.

When you say your husband tried everything, I'm assuming he tried Colace and Miralax?

Thank you....
cptmac
As long as you're alive, there is hope.
dx 7/04 stage IV
colon resection 8/04
liver resection 9/04 with HAI pump installed
Stage II trial w irinotecan as systemic and FUDR for direct chemo to liver via HAI pump
Cured since 9/04

erinnatacha
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Re: Constipation vs Bowel Blockage whats the difference?

Postby erinnatacha » Wed Nov 07, 2018 3:00 pm

My blockage was so painful, I was hyperventilating. And, I couldn't stop throwing up. So, perhaps keep those things in mind but it is always good to check with the doctor to get their opinion.

Capercrohnieileo
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Re: Constipation vs Bowel Blockage whats the difference?

Postby Capercrohnieileo » Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:41 pm

I just had a partial obstruction (in small intestine as I don't have a colon anymore) after my J tube surgery a few weeks ago and I was vomiting massive amounts of bile, very nauseous and severe pain.
Severe Crohn's colitis jan 2015
Developed fistulas feb 2015
Open total proctocolectomy with end ileostomy (bye bye colon and rectum hello barbie butt) because of fistulas, Crohn's and crc risk May 5, 2017
Gastroduodenal Crohn's Nov 1, 2017
Severe Gastroparesis (delayed gastric emptying) Nov 9, 2017 GES showed 70 % remaining in stomach at 4 hrs. Normal is <10%
Jejunostomy (J tube) surgery Oct 17, 2018.
Didn't go so well. Small bowel obstruction found Oct 26, 2018, day 46 of this hospitalization.

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cptmac
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Re: Constipation vs Bowel Blockage whats the difference?

Postby cptmac » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:02 pm

Thank you Capercrohnieileo and erinnatacha . Did you try laxatives or anything to relieve it or did you call your doctor straight away?

This truly does help lesson my anxiety. I really appreciate you sharing.
cptmac
As long as you're alive, there is hope.
dx 7/04 stage IV
colon resection 8/04
liver resection 9/04 with HAI pump installed
Stage II trial w irinotecan as systemic and FUDR for direct chemo to liver via HAI pump
Cured since 9/04

Lee
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Re: Constipation vs Bowel Blockage whats the difference?

Postby Lee » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:10 pm

cptmac wrote:So what are the symptoms of a blockage? How do you know when to go see a doctor? What's the difference from feeling uncomfortable vs pain and needing to go to the ER? Is there a difference between a partial blockage and a full blockage? Could I still have a blockage after taking a laxative?

Thank you.


For me, I get a blockage about once a year. Wish I could determine "why" it happens, random. For me, starts out light waves of pain, that grow in intensidy. After about 2-3 hrs, I'm doubled over in pain. Nausea kicks in. Sometimes I throw up. For me, generally start to finish, last 6-8 hrs, when I"m passing gas or BM, I know the worst is over, pain is going away or has totally subsided. Next 24 hrs, tummy feels like it's been through a meat grinder.

Have not been to the ER yet, but do have paperwork that describes my symptoms and what should be address.

Once I thought I was going into a blockage, stopped eating, liquids only until I start passing gas or BM. 12 hrs later, I'm confused, finally take my temperature, WOW, it's up there, I'm actually sick!!!! 48 hrs, I'm fine. I've never had a fever with a blockage. Learn something never everyday.

Yes, one of the side effects of being a cancer survivor,

Lee
rectal cancer - April 2004
46 yrs old at diagnoses
stage III C - 6/13 lymph positive
radiation - 6 weeks
surgery - August 2004/hernia repair 2014
permanent colostomy
chemo - FOLFOX
NED - 10 years and counting!

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cptmac
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Re: Constipation vs Bowel Blockage whats the difference?

Postby cptmac » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:19 pm

Lee do you do anything to have a BM? I don't like to take medicine unless I have too.
cptmac
As long as you're alive, there is hope.
dx 7/04 stage IV
colon resection 8/04
liver resection 9/04 with HAI pump installed
Stage II trial w irinotecan as systemic and FUDR for direct chemo to liver via HAI pump
Cured since 9/04

Lee
Posts: 5723
Joined: Sun Apr 16, 2006 4:09 pm

Re: Constipation vs Bowel Blockage whats the difference?

Postby Lee » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:31 pm

cptmac wrote:Lee do you do anything to have a BM? I don't like to take medicine unless I have too.


No, I just suffered through it, butt I stop eating and try to avoid liquids, as I can/do throw them ups. Again, I've never been to the ER for this. I always tell DH what is happening. Somewhere in our medicine cabinet, there is paper work addressing this problem. Also keep the same paperwork with my ostomy supplies, Because it generally clears in mostly in 6 hrs. I don't feel the need to go to ER. Personally, I think that would do me more harm than good.

If I felt I was in serious blockage mode, I would be calling a Dr.

Good luck, it can be a challenge at times.

Lee
rectal cancer - April 2004
46 yrs old at diagnoses
stage III C - 6/13 lymph positive
radiation - 6 weeks
surgery - August 2004/hernia repair 2014
permanent colostomy
chemo - FOLFOX
NED - 10 years and counting!

kiwiinoz
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Re: Constipation vs Bowel Blockage whats the difference?

Postby kiwiinoz » Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:00 pm

Hi CPTMAC

I'd say you have constipation as you'd "REALLY" know if you had a blockage. Just like Lee, I'd get them several times a year and I'd go from feeling fine and functioning as a normal human being, to being doubled over with pain, taking pain killers which didn't help, to asking my wife to take me to the ER yet again. I'd have to have 2 hits of morphine to reduce the pain, as one was never enough, and even then you'd still be sore and aware of the pain, but it was somewhat removed.

Maybe try more fibre and water to see if that keeps you regular, if your system can handle it?

Kiwi
Stage IV Rectal Cancer (39 Year old male at dx)
pT3N0M1 (wish that was M0)
Diagnosed 05 Dec 2012
LAR 05 Jan 2013
VATS 27 Feb 2013
FOLOFX April 2013 - Sep 2013
Clear Scan 03 Dec 2013 - 27 Feb 2018
Port Out 26 March 2015

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cptmac
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Re: Constipation vs Bowel Blockage whats the difference?

Postby cptmac » Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:11 pm

So if you have a blockage, everyone seems to take pain meds. Would it be bad to take a laxative if you had a blockage?
cptmac
As long as you're alive, there is hope.
dx 7/04 stage IV
colon resection 8/04
liver resection 9/04 with HAI pump installed
Stage II trial w irinotecan as systemic and FUDR for direct chemo to liver via HAI pump
Cured since 9/04

Capercrohnieileo
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 12:42 pm
Facebook Username: Jayne Olson
Location: NS, Canada

Re: Constipation vs Bowel Blockage whats the difference?

Postby Capercrohnieileo » Thu Nov 08, 2018 9:02 am

cptmac wrote:Thank you Capercrohnieileo and erinnatacha . Did you try laxatives or anything to relieve it or did you call your doctor straight away?

This truly does help lesson my anxiety. I really appreciate you sharing.

I was in the hospital so I had a dreaded NG tube.
Severe Crohn's colitis jan 2015
Developed fistulas feb 2015
Open total proctocolectomy with end ileostomy (bye bye colon and rectum hello barbie butt) because of fistulas, Crohn's and crc risk May 5, 2017
Gastroduodenal Crohn's Nov 1, 2017
Severe Gastroparesis (delayed gastric emptying) Nov 9, 2017 GES showed 70 % remaining in stomach at 4 hrs. Normal is <10%
Jejunostomy (J tube) surgery Oct 17, 2018.
Didn't go so well. Small bowel obstruction found Oct 26, 2018, day 46 of this hospitalization.

Ron50
Posts: 667
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2006 7:04 pm

Re: Constipation vs Bowel Blockage whats the difference?

Postby Ron50 » Thu Nov 08, 2018 5:07 pm

Hi cptmac,
Constipation is my constant companion. At one stage I was on Targin (oxycodone //naloxone) for chronic pain. I really thought that the constipation would kill me. My cancer surgery was the full sternum to groin cut so I have problems with adhesions. My nephrologist told me that the naloxone is put in with the oxycodone to prevent opiate induced constipation . He said it rarely does. I was advised by a pharmacist to take two dulcolax and two coloxyl with every dose of targin. He also said that I should drink more water but limit my fibre intake as it does not help with medicinally induced constipation , in fact it makes it worse. I'm out to 21 years next January, My neph also said that there was a lot of conjecture about becoming laxative reliant. He said that apart from immune suppressants the drug he most prescribed is laxatives. He described constipation as a potentially dangerous condition.
I take coloxyl stool softeners morning and evening. If I struggle to have a bm I take a sachet of movicol (same as scope prep) first thing in the morning. I also have a stock of miralax mini enemas if things get bad. I have learned that there are things I cannot eat. Worst for me is cheese , it is my kryptonite. As much as I love it I avoid it. I took myself off the targin and avoid any meds with codeine. Best of luck Hugs Ron.
dx 1/98
st 3 c 6 nodes
48 sessions 5Fu/levamisole
no recurrence cea <.5
numerous l/t side effects of chemo

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Maggie Nell
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Re: Constipation vs Bowel Blockage whats the difference?

Postby Maggie Nell » Sat Nov 10, 2018 8:58 am

Ron50 wrote:
I have learned that there are things I cannot eat. Worst for me is cheese , it is my kryptonite. As much as I love it I avoid it.


What an accurate description!

I had a partial bowel obstruction yesterday and within minutes went from feeling really good to thinking I should burn my journals so
nobody reads them. Last time I eat roasted chook from Safeway. :cry:
DX April 2015, @ 54
35mm poorly diff. tumour, incidental finding following emergency r. hemicolectomy
for ileo-colic intussusception.
Lymph nodes: 0/22
T3 N0 MX


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