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Another side affect

Hi has anyone in the ITU support network experienced a continueing problem with their bowels to such a point that they can't leave home or have to starve themselves to enable themselves to be safe for a day out. I've had apart from all the usual symptoms mentioned an ongoing problem with my bowels and they just won't settle to any normal pattern. It's awful. Add this to the many other problems and it just doesn't bode well for any form of recovery. It is not a side affect I've seen mentioned. Help please

5 Replies

My system is irregular, to say the least. mostly, it is urination that causes issue for me - i had a catheter for around 2.5 weeks... as a result, I have trouble holding urine and have to go very frequently. My bowel movements have been irregular for years, I think I suffer from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). As such, I stay away from gluten which seems to alleviate the loose stools, but I still have to go a few times a day (meaning, not just eliminate once a day like normal people)...

I have to get out of bed at least 3 times every night... it is exhausting...

I'm sorry I can't give you any "help" resolving your issue, I hope someone can offer some helpful advice to both of us!


Hi Tia - I'm sorry you have problems with your bowels, as if recovery wasn't hard enough anyway! But I suspect you aren't alone, and bearing in mind what one goes through in ICU, it isn't surprising. Bodily functions such as digestion, bowel movements, and urination, cannot be relied on to work like they did before. But I think it does get better, over time. Have hope.

Speaking personally, I was nil by mouth for weeks and then peg fed for several more weeks, followed by nasal gastric feeding for several more weeks, and gradually having small amounts of pureed food.

So my digestive system really shut down, and it has taken ages (two years minimum) to get back to anything like normality. I still can't digest fresh fruit. This did affect the bowels (constipation)

would it help to see a nutritionist/dietician? I have to say, I was not impressed with the NHS nurses on this subject - who just gave me a diet sheet and told me to eat fruit!

so I eventually paid £100 for an independent consultation and that was much better - the nurse did a full 'diagnostic' and came up with a detailed, weekly, plan, tailored to my needs and circumstances. It was well worth it.

I hope this helps, and good luck with your recovery.


I'm going a lot more frequently but I put that down to my iron tablets and having a tube up my bum in my coma. I'm passing wind a lot more but my personality now is such that I have very little filter and just guff in front of everyone now, husband, parents, friends!!!

I think sod it, I'm alive and if I need to poo in a restaurant loo, so be it. I used to be really funny about it.

Are your stools loose or firm? Might be worth getting it checked out at the docs just in case it's not a related issue and could be something else entirely ie ibs, crohns, colitis etc.

Good luck!!

D xx


Many thanks all of you for your replies very helpful. I like the idea of seeing a dietician for some advice. The hospital ones just put me on that awful special food tasted truly foul. But it has helped to know I'm not alone in experiencing these problems. Keep well everyone and thanks


Hi Hun just read your post I get very conspitated since my time in ICU the doc gave me stuff to take but that was a disaster 😟 I'm relieved I'm not the only person with bowel problems ! Thanks for listening xx


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