Multiple Sclerosis and Constipation

MS and Constipation

Yes, We Are Really Talking About The Dreaded Constipation

The much dreaded topic is here unfortunately, constipation associated with Multiple Sclerosis. I find it almost insulting that most of my life, prior to my MS diagnosis, I suffered from IBS, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and it seemed that there was never a time especially when high levels of stress would appear, that I spent a great deal of time running to the bathroom. Now I get excited when anything makes the colon decide to work. I guess this year has been the worse due to the three exacerbations that overwhelmed my system and the increase of PRN medications that has made this issue become all to common for me. Well, that and the aging process, but never the less I had to talk with my doctor about this problem. Nothing I was doing on my own like eating a high fiber diet and drinking lots of water  was doing the trick.

Since having MS, this problem has appeared it’s ugly head only getting worse with age. Of course it is not from decreased mobility because this year I really tried hard to maintain a daily exercise routine which walking was the major function of this routine. Then with the elimination of high fat foods and sodas from my diet one would think that the constipation would improve but it only got worse. I had seen commercials on television about a new drug on the market to treat this problem and thought ok, I hate adding yet another drug to my daily regimen but if it helps then I will give it a try. My doctor and I spoke about this option but he felt that maybe going a different route first may be best. Being a nurse, it was clear that taking laxatives was a big NO NO because your body soon desires this drug to help with elimination, so I’ve been very careful to avoid taking anything like this unless it was absolutely necessary. The formula that was provided by my doctor consisted of three different things; in the morning hours, you take 2 heaping tablespoons of Metamucil Smooth along with 1 capful of Miralax, then at night take 1 to 2 Philips tablets. Of course you still must eat a high fiber diet and drink a great deal of fluids with these, but found it to be a good fit by following this advice.

I started Aubagio this past week, and one of the side effects stated was diarrhea and again got excited thinking that maybe I would be able to stop taking this other stuff, but no such luck.  This was one side effect that never took place so I continue following my original routine. One of the things though I have noticed since having MS is when I do get a stomach virus or flu and diarrhea does become an issue, then it important to get to the bathroom when the first awareness hits me or leakage will be a huge issue. Bowels are just like the bladder when it comes to Multiple Sclerosis, you can have leakage from both so being prepared is critical especially if you are out and about and a restroom is not within a quick reach. Medications can play havoc with our systems especially if you require some like muscle relaxers or pain medication because they slow the smooth muscles response and our metabolism  therefore delaying the elimination process. Remember that most of our immune system is in our gut so when we have chronic diarrhea or constipation,  we can develop an illness, so we need to try an maintain a “normal for you bowel movement”. Stool softeners may be all you need to help with your problem and not a full blown treatment such as what I am doing.  I strongly suggest that you speak with your physician in great detail about what your bowel elimination problems before starting any over the counter treatments. Just don’t suffer too long with constipation before seeking help.

MS Blogger and Multiple Sclerosis Activist shares her journey living with MS, tips for others living MS and her husband, Steve, offers his insight as a caregiver for MS.
  • Tandem Harbour

    After years of being plugged up, a bowl of chopped melon a day, especially watermelon – works for me.