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Date of last update: 10/15/2017.

Forum Name: Gastroenterology Topics

Question: SMA, back surgery, chronic constipation

 sarahpc - Sun Aug 02, 2009 11:21 pm

I am a 17 year old girl with SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy) diagnosed at 9 months old and ever since my back surgery (regarding my scoliosis) I have been dealing with chronic constipation. I never used to get constipated, but now I get constipated very often. Is there a reason why I’m always constipated now? Could it be because of my back surgery?
I’m usually constipated for 3-4 days at a time, and I find it very hard to urinate when I’m constipated. I usually end up taking laxatives because I can’t bare the pain and uncomfortableness anymore. Even when I’m not constipated, my abdomen is always very swollen (especially on the left side) and hard. I was wondering if I can do anything to help my constipation other than eating lots of fruits and vegetables. Thanks.
 Dr.M.Aroon kamath - Sat Oct 17, 2009 2:52 am

User avatar Hello sarahpc,
From your description i tend to believe that you have a chronically 'loaded' sigmoid colon.At this point, if you start consuming too many laxatives on a regular basis there is a likelihood of ending up with what is known as a 'cathartic colon'.

I would venture to suggest the following strategy...
You will perhaps need periodic DRE (digital rectal examination) to look for a loaded rectum (which i suspect you may be already having) and digital evacuation of this should be done.
Following this you should continue with the general measures such as high fiber diet,lots of oral liquids etc.
Periodic DRE and digital evacuation may be done as per your doctor's discretion.
Good luck!

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