21 answers

TMI Alert: Serious Postpartum Constipation!

I'm just fed up with this situation after having tried almost everything I can think of, so I had to come here and kvetch/ask for advice. I'm six weeks postpartum and I've had constipation ever since my first post-birth poop! Now, I have a history of constipation, which has caused me to have quite a problem with a small tear in my ... you know, area. It's horrible! It's embarrassing, scary, gory, and revolting, but the worst part is, I can't seem to figure out what's causing the problem. Obviously, it's dietary related, but I'm doing everything right! I'm drinking about 10 to 12 cups of water a day and eating tons of fiber. I take stool softeners and now I'm having to resort to drastic measures. Last night I took a half dose of milk of magnesia on the advice of my obstetrician. I have started taking fiber supplements and Fiber One bars as of this morning. Next, I'm going to start swigging prune juice like it's going out of style, and I HATE prune juice.

It's not that I can't poop...I poop every day and today I pooped twice. It's just that the tear makes every poop painful and bloody, like I'm passing broken glass! Ack! It's so bad. And the only way the tear is going to heal is if the poop gets soft. But nothing I'm doing is helping. I really expected the milk of magnesia to give me diarrhea but it didn't. The poop was as hard as ever.

Sigh, I'm sorry to be so disgusting. I'm revolted just talking about it, but I'm at my wit's end here. I go back to the OB tomorrow and I'll talk to him in person about how bad the problem is. I just don't know what to say or do about this anymore. Sometimes I get so frustrated that all my healthy eating isn't helping that I go out and get something unhealthy, because I figure that if healthy eating won't fix the problem, I might as well at least enjoy myself. That kind of thinking led to me getting a sausage mcmuffin the other morning. I immediately regretted it and changed my attitude!

If this doesn't stop, I'm going to have to keep dropping foods from my diet, which sounds really unhealthy to me. First, the prenatal vitamin has to go in case that's making the problem worse. Then I've cut way down on my meat intake, and next I'm going to have to cut out dairy. I can't tell you how upset the notion of cutting out food groups makes me. I don't think it's safe or healthy, and it surely isn't enjoyable. Nor is it sustainable over the long-term for me. I'm an omnivore through and through. I don't have a problem with severely reducing my meat and dairy intake, but I will never be a vegan. I need to be well-rounded.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks for all this wonderful advice! I'm going to make a list of it and take it to the OB with me today. To those of you who recommended seeing a specialist, yes, it was my plan to ask my OB for a referral today.

Also, I realize I was vague about what my diet consists of apart from saying it is high in fiber. Specifically, I've been eating and drinking the following: prune juice, apple juice, Fiber One breakfast bars, fiber chewable supplements, black beans, refried beans, apples, grapes, raisins, nuts, flax seeds, lentils, and brown rice. I also take a stool softener.

Last night I took a full dose of milk of magnesia and followed it this morning with prune juice, apple juice, water, two fiber one bars, and a fiber supplement. Half an hour later, I had my first soft stool in a month or more, but it still bled since the site is so damaged. But, if I can keep this up, I'm hoping that things will start to heal up.

Thanks again!

Featured Answers

The vitamin is definitely making it worse (the iron). Not enough liquids -- 10-12 cups of water a day seems like a lot but try drinking more, even if it's not just water (like a little coffee, OJ, maybe even a beer or glass of wine). Eat broccoli if you can, even with a little cheese on it, and as much as you can (bowl a day works GREAT). Any leafy greens that you might like really help too. I had a hard time too (pardon the pun) and stool softeners that my doc suggested never seemed to help. I too, didn't eat much meat but there is no way I could cut down dairy because I LOVE milk and cheese. The things I mentioned are what worked the best for me. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

I have been costipated like this my whole life until i had my son. It reset something & I have been good ever since, but before that, what I found that worked for me rather than all the pills & meds was a good diet (which you seem to be doing) & taking a swig or two every morning from a little green bottle. It is called magnesium citrate & costs about a dollar at walmart. It is located in the stool softener section usually bottom shelf. It is carbonated & taste like strong sprite. It is used by hopspitals to clean you out for exams only to do that you take a larger dose. It helped me. best of luck.

More Answers

I had a similar issue as well. NOT FUN...and embarrassing! One thing I didn't see anyone mention is a hemorrhoidal(sp?) cream. It was the only thing that seemed to help "down there". I can't remember how long it took...maybe a week or so? More TMI...apply a tad slightly inside too. Keep it clean and dry...those tucks medicated pads were soothing too. I know I dealt with it for awhile, but it eventually went away. And I think it was more of a tear too, not and actual hemorrhoid. Those stool softeners the hospital gave me NEVER helped...just made me gassy. I know you have to try to relax too...it just makes it worse when you are all stressed and "tight".

Something that "helps" me now with a BM is coffee! I didn't use to drink it much, but do now. I tell ya...if you need to go, drink a cup, and in less then an hour you should be in the restroom...soft stool and all!!! At least that's how it works for me! Good Luck! Hope your bumm feels better soon! You are not alone! :)

1 mom found this helpful

I think you need to drink a LOT more water. Consuming all that fiber without a commensurate increase in water will result in really hard poops. You don't mention what kind of fiber you're eating. I'd say stick to leafy greens, fruits, and vegetables that also have some water content in them. Cut down on the dry grains, like bread, the bars, and the supplements, because if you're ABLE to poop, I don't think your fiber intake is an issue. Also, reduce your iron intake, because that makes constipation worse as well (so yes, check your prenatal vitamins).

Another thing you might try are glycerin suppositories (if your doctor thinks it's ok - you didn't mention if you are nursing). And get more exercise - walk or ride a stationary bike. That will get your abs and intestines moving, which should also help.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

A friend of mine had this problem, and it turned out he had an anal fissure. He had to have a quick outpatient procedure to fix it, and he's been good ever since.

I've also suffered from constipation for most of my life, and recently discovered Trader Joe's Raisin Bran. Oh, my God! I don't know why it's so different than other bran cereals, but that stuff cleans me right out. My stepdad also has a real problem with constipation, and I bought him a box as a little gift and he's hooked now too.

Good luck...I can imagine how difficult this is for you.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm surprised your OB didn't prescribe a stool softener for you, postpartum - perhaps that could be an option?

1 mom found this helpful

I had a tear too and it took a couple of weeks to heal. Drop the prenatal vitamin, those are sooooo constipating. I couldn't even take them when I was pregnant. Are you taking colace to soften your stool? Eat Fiber One cereal the one with 55% of your daily dose of fiber. I think it is Honey Clusters. This helped me tremendously and it is the only thing that worked to soften the stool. Cut out dairy and cheese for a while (except you might want the milk for your cereal).

1 mom found this helpful

The vitamin is definitely making it worse (the iron). Not enough liquids -- 10-12 cups of water a day seems like a lot but try drinking more, even if it's not just water (like a little coffee, OJ, maybe even a beer or glass of wine). Eat broccoli if you can, even with a little cheese on it, and as much as you can (bowl a day works GREAT). Any leafy greens that you might like really help too. I had a hard time too (pardon the pun) and stool softeners that my doc suggested never seemed to help. I too, didn't eat much meat but there is no way I could cut down dairy because I LOVE milk and cheese. The things I mentioned are what worked the best for me. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

After having my kids my dr. gave me a softner like miralax.. ask your ob miralax is now over the counter. sorry
L.

1 mom found this helpful

Yowza.....that sound like torture! I am so sorry!!! You definitely sound like you are doing everything right!
How is your healthy fat intake? Sometimes we cut out too much fat for our bodies to function properly. I know this sounds nasty, but try drinking about a tablespoon of olive oil (in a glass of juice if you don't think you can hack it straight up) and see what happens.
Do you eat flax seed? That's a really great way to get things moving. You do need to make sure it's ground before you eat it, for the maximum health benefit. I buy mine whole and grind them in a cheap coffee grinder that I purchased expressly for flax. Be sure to keep it refrigerated, as the oils in flax are very volitale and WILL go rancid at room temp.

GOOD LUCK to you! Again, I am so sorry you are going through this!

Oh, and do you still have your cleansing bottle that they give you in the hospital? I used ten drops of tea tree oil in warm water in the bottle and that REALLY helped with the pain.

1 mom found this helpful

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