Concerns about alternating constipation and diarrhea after surgery


So I am 2.5 weeks out from my last surgery to fix partial blockage due to adhesions at the resection site. I had major diarrhea for 4 days and am now constipated for 2 days. Doc said I would be all over the place and this is normal. I am still scared, though. I don't want to go back to the hospital. I haven't had any fevers or vomiting or nausea. My pain is minimal and mostly at the incision. I am still taking Vicodin a few times a day. I am eating small meals and have gas. Not a lot of cramps.

Anyone else experience these back and forth after their reversal??

Hi there Fable3, yep I seem to be in much the same boat as yourself. Yes, it is a little scary when things are moving back and forth like this, but I'm taking the advice of the surgeon and my own doctor when they tell me it will take anything up to six months to get back to normal outputs. I was also warned that a lot of the intestine has been bruised after all the work and can result in localized pains as it makes its way through. I was taking Difene, a painkiller, but haven't had to use it since Friday. All I keep getting told is to chew, chew, chew! So I'd say not to panic just yet, but if you're in doubt go and see your doctor.

We'll have better days ahead, I know! So stay positive.

Has anyone out there had any problems with indigestion?.........I seem to get some mild indigestion about an hour after eating, but it does eventually go away.

Take good care, Colm
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Thank you so much! It's relieving to know someone else out there can understand or has experienced what I am going through. I was worrying until this morning when the BMs started right up again. I increased my water intake quite a bit and have started eating Activia yogurt with probiotics. Let's hope the diarrhea doesn't come back as bad as it was before.

I have my post-op appointment scheduled for next week. It's going exactly like the doc told me it would with the ups and downs, but it's still unnerving after all I've been through.

I don't have much indigestion as in heartburn or cramps. I do have a lot of gas!!! Poor my husband and son... lol... I eat small meals throughout the day. I'm still taking 1-2 pain pills each day. I tend to get sore in the afternoon after walking or doing some light housecleaning and late at night when I'm laying down to bed.

Thank God for this board... you and Darla and many others... or I think I'd lose my mind...
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I too have this carousel-like ride. The constipation, in turn, causes a bout of diarrhea. So now I take Movicol every morning as a stool softener, and this keeps me regular unless I get a full-on blockage. I block up very easily. In February, I was admitted to the hospital three times in one month. Yes, all to do with adhesions. My insides are now one big block, all glued together. The original surgery was in 2003 due to colorectal cancer. My hospital visits are quite unpleasant; all they can do is give me a saline drip plus antibiotics and nil by mouth for three days or until the blockage clears. There is nothing more that they can do for me surgically. I sincerely hope that none of you folks get as bad as this.



Hey there, lady! Glad to hear you're back (and not backed up)...well, not today anyway! I am with you, friend, on the BM bandwagon! Man, I have never talked so much and worried so much about my bowels in my entire life as I have the past year and a half!

You know, when you have a baby, its early life revolves around eating and peeing and pooing, and all the "new moms" talk about is colic, and gas, and what "color" it is...etc, etc. You wonder, "Will I ever get to talk about any 'fun' stuff again?" And then, as the munchkin gets older, it's all about the potty training and how they take off their diapers and empty the contents on the floor; or find new uses for their waste like "Painting with Poo...the OTHER Picasso" and the likes! More talk about bowels and poo. And then, our sacred loved ones, as they reach their "golden" years, blaze down the hall at the local assisted living center exclaiming, "I got the TROTS, reaaaaaalllly bad!" Again, more bowel sounds! Come to think of it, we spend a large span of time in our lives speaking of our bodily excrements even if we don't have other problems like ostomies and reversals and all that "goes" with them! I love my hubby dearly, but sometimes he can get on my last nerve with all the bowel's like, "Can we not speak about my bowel habits today whilst at the dinner table, dear?!?" I've often thought about totally blowing his mind by starting off our table time conversation with, "Let's talk about some hot, steamy sex!" but I don't know if that would even steer him away from his morbid curiosity over, "How many times did you go today, honey?!?"

Anyways, that's my rant for the evening!

It is perfectly normal for you to be a bit anxious about the bowel carousel; even if you've been reassured that all is normal; after your "surprise" complications in the "extended stay suites!" I currently have one gear on the bowel carousel...HIGH! Still living in the loo!

I'm very thankful that you are on the mend...and we need to keep you that way!

Keep us posted!
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It's been about a year and a half since my reversal and usually control the ups and downs, but I have been having a lot of trouble for the last week or two. Can't figure out what is different.

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Hi Fable, Darla, Lucky13, Adabar, and Colm,

Hope this finds you feeling better. I had another scare tonight. Thought I was getting another blockage. Then, our dearly departed Carol came to my rescue yet again. I pulled her Blockage Card from my purse and did everything it said to do. Luckily, it did "pop out" and I am okay for another day. However, I am going to stay on pureed and liquid foods for a while. Thinking about returning to the hospital to clear a blockage is so frightening to me, I'd rather starve than take the chance of getting one again. Anyway, I was so exhausted after clearing my potential blockage that I just wanted to close my eyes and go to sleep, but Carol wouldn't let me. She said, "Get up and remind everyone on the site to try these methods before letting the blockage get so bad you HAVE to go to the hospital. I can't figure out how to get the Blockage Card on a good place here, so I am just going to put the link in the body of this reply and add it and the diet Card to my photos. I don't know what else to do to get the word out there and remind folks there are some methods that may just work before calling the doctor. So here it is as well as the diet card. I can't believe I ate coconut last night and tonight. What an idiot!

I prayed so hard tonight as I lay in the hot bath massaging the area around my stoma, then bringing my knees to my chest and rolling back and forth. Finally, a little poop the size of a Lima bean popped out and man, it was as hard as a brick! I would have deserved another trip to the hospital for eating coconut today, but I asked God to please, please, please forgive me and I would be more careful in the future. I am always starving since I got out of the hospital on 2/7. I don't know what that is about, but having that NEG tube down my throat and not eating for 4 days there and 7 days once home may be the cause. I'm always thinking about food. I have my first appointment with one of the top 10 colorectal surgeons in the nation on 4/5/12 to see about a reversal. I am excited and then I read that there is still a chance for blockages AFTER a reversal and I get scared again. I thought a reversal would mean no more bags, no more blockages, and no more pain. However, the majority of postings talk about problems even 2-3 years after reversal. It makes me wonder if it is worth it? But getting this hernia repaired and this scar tissue removed MUST be done even if they don't/can't reconnect me. Well, it was good getting this message out as Carol wasn't about to let me go to sleep before doing it. Take care, my friends, and like Fable said, "You all have been my lifeline since I joined this site. I really feel Carol literally saved my life more than once with her advice first on my depression, then on the blockage. For someone who has not had a blockage, there are no words to describe the fear of getting another one. God Bless Us All!

For whatever good it does, Loretta, please know that in my 6 years having a reversal I never had an issue with blockage or pain. Keep an open mind, and TG you are seeing a top colorectal surgeon. Trust in his or her judgment and also remember that Carol has influence where it counts.



Give yourself some credit on this may have eaten coconut; but at least you were able to recognize the potential blockage and take the steps you could at home to prevent another disaster!

Now that things are calmer....try and get some rest. Your body is weary and overworked from the trauma. If I were there, I would fix you some chamomile tea and put on some soft, relaxing music for you to absorb as the spirit of sleep eventually creeps in and returns your mind and body to slumber.

I'm with PB regarding blockages following a fact, I was just asking my surgeon about post-reversal blockages today while I was at my post-op visit. He told me that blockages are MUCH less common following the reversal process; and also told me that I could return to eating berries, nuts, seeds, anything but apple peels or oranges with the membranes attached....the really difficult things for even "well" people to digest! I will start out with very small amounts of some of these foods; adding maybe 1-2 new items per week in small portions. I know it's scary....but we can't let the FEARS of life keep us from LIVING life! Small steps. Subtle victories.

Thank you for posting those priceless pieces of info that we should all read and heed! An ounce of prevention is worth many pounds of heartache and pain and blockage trauma! I really hope that your meeting next month with the colorectal surgeon will confirm you as a great reversal candidate; and that he/she will be able to settle some of your fears and give YOU some HOPE for your future.....a brighter, light-filled future!

Rest now, sweet lady. Sweet dreams and God bless.


Past Member

Thanks, Darla, for those comforting words. Just reading them made me heavy-lidded. You should be a sleep therapist. I felt much calmer and fixed my own tea (thanks for the idea). I am REALLY glad to hear about blockages being less prevalent post-reversal. That has encouraged me a lot to go through with the process if I am a candidate. I go to the heart specialist this afternoon to see if my heart is up to it. It was last year. Let's hope it still is. God bless you for hanging in here with us pre-reversal scaredy-cats! Your experiences are just more helpful than I can say.

Past Member

That is great to know, PB. Thanks for the info and the well-wishes. You were the one that made me look far away if I had to in order to get the right surgeon the first time.


Hi Loretta, great advice from PB once again. Thank heavens you managed through your recent ordeal and may you never have a repeat! Take good care, Colm

Past Member

Thanks Colm,

PB has sure helped a lot of us through the years. Hope you are healing well. I am always excited to read your and Darla's posts. The voices of recent experience in reversal. Take care and may none of us have to experience a blockage again.



Darla, I had a cookie with coconut in it and after I ate it, I used an expletive and prayed to God I wouldn't have a problem. It went right through me. Coconut does not digest... No one with our conditions should eat coconut! The surgeon has told me I can eat almost anything as long as I chew it to death. I was told to stay away from raw cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage. Red meat is really hard for the body to digest and can take two days to pass through your system.... Stay well! Jean


Hi Jean!

Oh yes, I am way afraid of "quotle coconut!" hubby got some Samoas (Girl Scout cookies) that are loaded with coconut and offered/tempted me with one the other day....I politely declined.    I am being extra cautious about introducing new foods into my system, post-reversal....only a couple per week.    I still haven't done any heavy hitters like steak, meatloaf, cauliflower, broccoli, etc.    Those will come much later, if at all!    Hope your recovery is still flourishing.....sounds like it is.    Please keep me posted!    Blessings!    Darla

You can be glad you didn't eat that cookie. That is exactly the cookie I had!

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