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Constipation and Diarrhea? What the….???

Hi, I’m JimBob.  More about me:  Male, 36, diagnosed with Colitis in 2005.

My Colitis Story:

Just wondering if anyone else has similar problems as my GI is out of ideas and I can’t seem to sort it out. Basically, for the last 2 yrs, I’ve had only a couple of minor flares. That’s the good news. The bad news is that no matter how good my diet is, I seem to be constipated and only able to go every 3-4 days. The problem is that when I finally go, it’s A) urgent with about 30 secs warning, B) runny, no solids. C) I have to go again twice in the next 2 hrs for the same thing to ’empty’. This sees me getting up at 5am just to make sure I’m ‘done’ and ready to leave the house at 7.30am for work.

constipation colitis comic

I’m on 2-3 movicol each day and have tried stool softeners etc etc but I cant shake this routine.

I keep fit and run everyday I don’t have the runs and have a pretty good diet.

Really grateful for any help if anyone else struggles with this.

My Colitis Medications:

Over the years, I’ve been on pred, azathioprine, methotrexate, mesalazine and remicade. Remicade is the only one that sorts it out but the NHS (uk) has just decided to stop giving it to Ulcerative Colitis patients, which is a bit crp to say the least.

Submitted by “JimBob” in the Colitis Venting Area

8 Responses to Constipation and Diarrhea? What the….???

  1. Paul Willoughby September 24, 2011 at 10:55 am #

    I have experienced some constipation while having UC – last year when I injured my back and was taking pain medication, it stopped me up for 3 days. That was the strangest thing for me. I don’t know what to tell you if it’s a chronic problem. In some ways you’re lucky that you aren’t hit with the urgency on a daily basis. In other ways, I understand the anxiety because you never know when it will hit. Good luck.


  2. Heidi September 24, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    This is how my UC is. I get so inflamed that I get super constipated and end up having very thin ribbon stool. Its incredibly painful and I end up losing alot of blood. Eating tons of fruit doesn’t even help it. The only thing that helps when I get this way is taking lots of fish oil. Just don’t overdo it because that can send me into diarrhea mode.

  3. Nanda September 24, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

    Yh I totally agree with Paul about not being hit with the urgency on a daily basis, it can really kill your social life! but again can be frustrating when you dont know it will happen!
    All i can suggest it for the constipation and for you to empty your bowels much quicker in the morning is to drink 2 glasses of warm water first thing in the morning, then go have a shower etc and i guarantee you it will quickly clear you out! I have a problem with constipation and this is what i do every morning and it has definitly made a difference!

  4. JimBob September 25, 2011 at 2:26 am #

    Thanks for the replies.

    Having had both, i agree this is better than the regular runs for sure. The downside is on the days you do go, you’re stuck in the toilet for 2 hours. I’m driving to a meeting with my boss on Thursday morning. Its a 2.5 hour drive and i have to pray that it not ‘the day’ as i don’t know how i’d explain disappearing for 2 hours!! (I haven’t told work about my UC)

    Paul – I’ve had the same thing with pain killers to and now i’m adamant that unless I’m near deaths door, I’m not taking anything more than paracetamol. There’s quite a lot of literature on anything opioid based having a big constipating effect.

    Nanda – Hot water is about the only thing i haven;t tired. I’ll give it a go, thanks.

  5. William September 25, 2011 at 9:38 pm #

    I had a similar issue at first and because I was eating well, I did not think I needed to make any dietary changes. What I did not realize is that just because a food might be healthy generally does not mean it will not cause issues for UC. When I my doctor sent me to a nutritionist, I was not the most receptive because my perception was that diet was not proven. Well, it turns out there has been some research done on diet. You can find some of it here.

    Good luck!

  6. Vicki Thomas September 26, 2011 at 4:15 am #

    Since my last flare I’ve dealt with severe constipation as well. I’ve found that I need to add a big heap of ground flax seed, big spoonful of chia seeds and eat lots of fruit to keep things going. I drink a minimum of two liters of water everyday as well. I mentioned this to my doctor and he said basciallyt that my colon “doesn’t work”… I stay away from things like lettuce, spinach, dairy, gluten, corn, peas and most seeds. I’ve read that coconut oil can help with easing ulcerative colitis symptoms so I now cook with this instead of olive oil.
    Good luck this week with your boss – maybe you can tell him about the problem early this week so that you’re not stressed out about it?
    take care

  7. nily August 13, 2014 at 12:15 pm #


    so i have the same issues, i have colitis- i go through constipation issues and diarrhea . From what i have heard what happens in colitis especially when the rectum is involved and there is active inflammation the “proctitis” part of colitis can cause the constipation and yet causes this sense of urgency- if you have inflammation higher up in the colon as well like i do, you actually have diarrhea caused by that higher up but yet you have constipation caused by the proctitis aspect of colitis- they work against each other- so even though you are constipated you can still have diarrhea- so strange- i go through this everyday as well- what has helped me.. which may be horrible for some is caffeine- it always causes a bowel movement for me BUT… that is not the best option as it is a gastro irritant. i use to have horrible constipation problems like you say… not being able to go for 3-4 days- I HATE that feeling- i prefer to have the diarrhea over that although i hate that and the urgency as well. basically… the inflammation in the higher parts of the colon are causing the diarrhea and etc and the proctitis part is known to cause constipation in some people so they are both working against each other- sometimes you feel you have diarrhea and rush and go but nothing comes out= constipation– thats the proctitis working against that higher inflammation that caused the diarrhea- super annoying. if increasing ur fibre doesnt work, try some caffeine however be careful because you dont want to cause a flare up- everyones body works differently…!!! hope that helps? :)

  8. Joan H
    Joan October 24, 2015 at 1:08 pm #

    I haven’t written in a while. Seemed like the UC was under better control, although because of multiple food allergies and intolerances I haven’t been able to increase my diet much beyond plain chicken and plain rice. I did this for two years because I was in a flair for that amount of time, on numerous meds to try to get the pain and frequency under control. I finally said ‘This is so bad anyway, I’m going to add a slice of pizza every once in a while for a change’. But very rarely. Everytime I’ve tried to change my diet I’ve suffered with the pain, diarrhea, blood/mucus, frequency. Now my problem is constipation.
    I drink 2 L of water a day but haven’t been able to tolerate fiber foods. I haven’t been able to exercise much because of joint pain and low energy – I used to exercise almost every day (elliptical). The UC flare two years ago even took walking around the block away from me, but I’ve built that back up. I haven’t been in the hospital which I’m thankful for.
    Right now I’m taking miralax once to twice a day, milk of magnesia every week anyway, glycopyrrolate to regulate some of the bowel motility. And I still don’t go except every 4 – 6 days, where before it was frequency and diarrhea. When I do go, it’s what JimBob was saying in his post – it hits suddenly, extreme pain, urgency, getting in the bathroom and nothing happens and then on and off liquid stool for 2 hours, drenched in sweat and exhausted from the pain. I’ve gone on walks with my daughter and husband and had to be rushed home because I didn’t think I’d make it into the bathroom – it’s excruciating when that happens, and unpredictable. So I do the same thing – get up at 5a ‘just in case’ so I’ll be ready for work and then sometimes it happens when I’m dressed and walking out the door anyway. It’s as difficult to me as the diarrhea part of UC. Plus, in between movements I’m so nauseous from being ‘backed up’ and have so much abdominal fullness and rectal pressure I can’t eat and sometimes not even drink some days when it’s really bad. Sometimes I try to use foods that absolutely irritate my bowel (like ice cream or coffee) just to get it going.
    Is there a pattern that’s worked for anyone? Like, they talk in health care about a bowel regimen – lots of water, fiber (which hasn’t worked for me in pill form or potatoes, cooked apples and brown rice that I’ve tried), miralax every day and milk of mag every third day if that doesn’t work. Is there anything else anyone can suggest? Also I know milk of mag can make your intestine ‘dependent’ on it for motility so I don’t want to have to take that every 3 or 4 days…Not sure what to do, if anyone has ideas I’d love to hear them. This is very difficult to manage – Thanks – Joan

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