Codeine and Docusate

I have suffered from Chronic diarrhoea for 18 years since I had my gall bladder removed.

I have taken every pill and potion that exists to no avail. I eventually paid privately to see a Gastro Enterologist as I was at my wits end.

He did an endoscopy and a colonoscopy and discovered that I have a particular aggressive form of IBS d.

Still more pills and potions but no luck.

However a few weeks ago I was in hospital having a knee replacement. At first I was given morphine for the pain but once out of recovery they gave me codeine for the pain instead.

Codeine is a well known "bunger upper" so they gave me a stool softener called Docusate to counteract the codeine.

I found this very helpful in coping with the diarrhoea and was given lots of each to bring home (obviously the codeine was given for the knee pain)

I was reading a forum recently in America where this combination was the treatment of choice for IBS d sufferers.

I am due to see the Gastro chap shortly and I am going to discuss it with him. In the meantime has anybody here come across this phenomenon or have I missed the posts?

I am new to this forum so any help would be appreciated. Thanks

16 Replies

  • Funny, after I had my gallbladder taken out over 30 years ago, that is when my problems began with suffering from IBS-D. I have tried just about everything both prescribed and OTC. One thing I observed is when I ate some hard cheese, like cheddar, I would have a normal stool. Medications haven't work for me long term and Metamucil eventually didn't work. Taking codene daily will not be healthy for you, doctors won't continue to prescribe this and you will become used to it so when you are in pain for something in the future, you'll need something stronger.

    I was having a conversation with someone on feeling tired and I know I am somewhat anemic. She said that I should take an iron pill. I said, that other than it making my stool black, I would get constipated. Can you imagine the irony? Well, so what, it's better than diarrhea all the time. I started taking one iron pill in the morning and haven't had diarrhea since.

  • what sort of iron tablet do you take? i am keen to try them but don't they give you tummy ache? is there a brand you would recommend and how many do you take?


  • Thanks for that . I've got to go to the chemist tomorrow to pick up my meds so I'll get some iron tabs too. Many thanks I'll give it a try😀

  • Hi I've been on codeine for about 8 years I must admit it seems to be my only lifeline . I've had ibs-d for 16 years after the birth of my twins it started and can honestly say it's hell but without the codeine it's unbearable ! Good luck anything that works is a bonus ! Xxx

  • Thanks for that

    I'm glad the codeine has helped you keep well

  • I discovered by accident that when I take one or sometimes two co-codamol, the ones that dissolve in water, my IBS-d was helped and I was calmer when out. Because I don't take them every day and only take two at the most, constipation doesn't become a problem. Perhaps it is psychological but I had the least troublesome few days away on holiday that I have ever had and I believe it was thanks to my fizzy co-codamol.

  • Thanks for that I will mention it to my consultant keep well

  • Yes I too had my gallbladder removed and have been on codeine phosphate ever since but i do still get problems ibs d.

    now starting something else doctor referred me to a dietician re fodmaps and now started on a course of tabs called citalopram for anxiety will let you know if helps if you want.fingers crossed

  • I am already on Sertraline and Clonazepam for anxiety but it does nothing for my diarrhoea.

    I am also investigating FODMAPS but still suspicious about the gallbladder removal as a trigger.

    I am asking my consultant if he will do a Sehcat scan (Try Googling ) as it is supposed to detect bile problems.

    Thanks for your post. keep well.

  • I was on Sertraline for a short time and my diarrhoea went through the roof! It's evil and if you google it it's described as 'the drug from hell'. I also had really strange 'head zaps' and no sex drive whatsoever. I later found out all very common side effects! Considering it's supposed to lift your mood these all seem to be major symptoms to make you totally depressed! Bin them!

  • My IBSd started 18 years ago but I've only been on Sertraline for 8 so I'm not sure it's connected

  • Watch the citalopram, i am on them also but they tend to make Ibs d worse however i take one or two imodium in the morning and citalopram at night before bed. Co codomol are good but very addictive.

  • hi

    Long term codeine not a good idea. my dr said codeine bad for ibs patients but better than painkiller zydol. I take codeine only if bad ibs pain to get to sleep.


  • Maybe codeine isn't good for IBS c. I have IBS d.

  • Hi fantastic julyann, to take Codein on a regular basis is definitely not the road to go down, it is highly addictive, I understand what you say about the Codein, as I am the same as you and recently I had to take them and yes it was bliss not running to the Loo but honestly don't rely on them, it will be a slippery road and another problem for you to deal with.

    I hope your knee feels better soon

    Take care

  • Unfortunately, I am allergic to codeine. :(

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