Constipation and Rapid Weight Loss - DESPERATE For Help

Hello everybody,

This is the first place I've found online where actual sensible advice and information is given. I really, really hope you can help me...

I've been suffering from chronic constipation for nearly 2 years. I've lost just over 3 stone but in the last 3 months the weight's just falling off me. I'm 5'10" and weigh 8 1/2 stone, not a good look at 45!

I've been through all the laxative available on prescription and if I take 8 sachets of Cosmocol in 24 hours I'm lucky if I get one tiny poop, after that I just pass nearly clear water and my stomach and back hurt like crazy.

I've had a colonoscopy but they had to stop part-way through coz the pain was so bad it pulled me right back from the sedation. Not a fun thing. I was then offered a CT scan but the bowel prep they gave me had no effect during the time I was taking it. Then on the morning of the scan I was sat on the loo passing clear water and couldn't make it out of the house. I've removed sugar, wheat and gluten from my diet with no real result. If I'm lucky I'll have one small very soft bowel movement every 7-10 days. My GP says I don't have an impacted bowel but there just doesn't seem to be anything I can do.

I'm really sorry, I must sound like a right whinge bag but I literally feel like I'm going crazy with all this. I get the most crazy bloating and gas but even after keeping a food diary I struggle to work out what foods upset me.

I've had to give up my job because I'm so weak. I don't take any mess that could cause constipation.

PLEASE is there anyone out there who's had/ got similar symptoms. I feel so let down by both my GP and hospital.

26 Replies

  • I'm not going to be much help as I'm new to ibs but the fact that hour losing so much weight and you don't have the diarrhoea should surely flag up concerns by your gp. Has he asked you this question as it was the first thing my gp asked. I've put on weight with mine and I get d and c . It's sounds horrendous for you I hope you get it sorted.and someone else on here will have some advice I'm sure X

  • Hi hippylongstocking

    I agree with your previous correspondent that weight loss with constipation should be a concern by your GP. You've been suffering too long, I think you need to change GP's or is there another in the practice you could see?. You really need that CT scan and help with this. Good luck. X

  • Thank you very much for your and Deb131's replies, it's just a relief to find somewhere that I can talk to people who understand what it's like to live like this.

    I've actually just split up with my partner and so I have swapped GP's. I should get my first appointment this week and hopefully I can start over.

    Thank you.

  • Hi hippylongstocking

    Good luck for when you see your new GP. Let us know how you get on. I can recommend Movicol and Lactulose for constipation. They're very gentle but effective and you can get them on prescription. I'm sorry you've split with your partner. Stress can play a big part in bowel problems but you need to know what is wrong with yours first and then it can be treated. All the best X

  • Thank you very much for your reply. My previous GP's have given me senna, isphagula, lactulose, Movicol and Cosmocol. None of them work. The best result I get is with the last one although all I get then is one miniature soft BM then it's back to the water with the odd bit in.

    I'm blown away by all the comments I've received on here and I definitely feel better for knowing that there's people out there who understand. It seems to be impossible to explain to anyone close to me how awful long-term constipation makes you feel. I feel dirty, heavy, tired, lacking on energy and just plain horrible. I find the pain, which is always on my left side is frequently so bad that I'm lucky if I can sleep for an hour a night, which just makes things worse.

    It's a real viscious cycle isn't it?

  • Oh yes hippylongstocking constipation can make you feel really lousy. I do if I haven't been for 3-4 days so you must feel even worse!. Add to that not sleeping and life is really miserable. Hope your helped soon. X

  • Let's hope your new GP is more helpful than the last one! When the bowel prep before the CT scan didn't work, were you offered an alternative & another appointment? Or because they would have classed you as a "no show" did they just discharge you? As Misty14 said, that CT scan is essential so they need to help you find a way to get it done. You can't be the only person for whom the prep didn't work.

    Meanwhile, you've tried all the prescription stuff but have you tried psyllium husks (I think it's also called isphagula?) or flaxseed? I'm guessing you probably have but I thought it was worth mentioning them.

    I really hope you get sorted out soon.

  • No luckily they didn't discharge me but my consultant is worse than useless. I've rung the hospital every day since 27/8 to try and speak to him and even his secretary has been nagging him but he just doesn't bother! I'll be very glad when all my hospital appointments are moved.

    Unfortunately I tried isphagula and it was the worst thing I ever did! It packed my gut out so much that I didn't have a BM for 9 weeks and had to sleep sitting up for part of the time. That was over a year ago so now I know when I'm close to that stage again and I take the max dose of laxatives until there's even the smallest BM. I end up totally battered and exhausted afterwards - and then off I go again...

    Thank you very much for your reply though. I hope very soon I won't sound like such a moaner and I'll actually have some positive thoughts to pass on to others.

  • I have a couple of thoughts. Laxatives are thought to aid constipation by drawing water into the bowel and in so doing bulking up the stool. This bulking up is supposedly meant to trigger the responses that lead to bowel emptying. This clearly isn't happening in your case, and the fact that your bowel movements are very watery is clearly a sign that the laxatives *are* drawing water into the bowel.

    This leads me to wonder whether there is something neurological/psychological going on, so much so that the bowel isn't letting go. For instance, constipation is often associated with depression (and anxiety with diarrhoea). It doesn't always work that way but the correlation does exist. Things like psychodynamic therapy may help you uncover some of the underlying causes if that is the case, and then CBT may help you address them.

    You may also find it helpful to get a proctogram. These help to assess how well the muscles in your anus and rectum are working. If they are performing poorly, there is a device you can buy (others on here have talked about it but I can't remember the name) to help strengthen them.

    Finally, you can also get a virtual colonoscopy which is basically a CT scan of your gut. As with the ultrasound, you need to have an empty bowel beforehand, but now that you know the troubles you've experienced in the past, you can speak to the doctor and work out how best to address this.

    Good luck and feel free to ask further questions in the future.

  • Ignore my point about the virtual colonoscopy - I read ultrasound when you quite clearly wrote CT!

  • Pm me

  • Hi Hippy

    A few things that helped my daughter who had/has similar problems. Milled Linseed on Gluten free cereal every day. It's not recommended for those with diverticulitis though so you may want to see if a proper diagnoses is forthcoming first. When things are really blocked up she uses Glycerol suppositories to get things moving again.

    Secondly, relaxation. Sounds a bit pompous but this has made a massive difference. When we are anxious the body releases all kinds of hormones (including adrenaline) that mess up the working of the digestive system. My daughter has periods of illness and then has a day or two of intense relaxation, meditation, listening to music and sleeping. These help a lot.

    If you associate food with pain then you may inadvertently be developing an eating disorder. My daughter was and she lost so much weight we had to put her on food supplements. Talk to your doctor about vitamin levels at least if not how you might replace some of the other nutrients you clearly aren't getting from diet. A referral to a dietician will also help with this one.

    Finally, rule out parasites and bacterial overgrowth by having relevant tests done. These were overlooked by my daughters first consultant and one of them was causing a lot of bloating because the bacteria feed on undigested food that isn't moving anywhere in the gut and release gases. It doesn't go away that easy but is treatable.

    These are just a few of the things that helped my daughter. Your case sounds a lot more complicated but some of it may help.


  • I was born with what was called in those days, a lazy bowel. It meant that I get constipated very easily. My Grandmother used to give me a spoonful of liquid paraffin every morning. It tasted vile, but it worked. I think the oil smoothed the sides of my bowels, lining them so that my stools could work their way out without getting stuck. It is an old remedy and not too well known, also, how much fibre do you have in your diet? Fibre should make your bowels work. If you are passing water, I would look are your diet, make sure you are eating enough calories for an adult and also make sure you have your fibre too. Kiwi fruit is rich in fibre and many veg and fruit are. check them out. I think a visit to a dietician might help. Good luck.

  • Hi patricia here I to had a colonospy it was so painfull constipation can be so bad I feel for you babe but I would go to yur gp becouse you are losing weight & its not dyria I to have lost loads of weight with dyria then they sed I had ibs & it was never that it was coeliac disease that attack your autoimmune system so get a proper dynosis dont do wat I done for ten yrs ignored it & carried on suffering take care patricia

  • I really can relate!! Awful situation isnt it? I dont know from one day to the next if its going to be constipation or diaheara!! Sick to the back teeth of it!!

  • I too have constipation and very low weight, not lost rapidly but gradually. Am 61 and in size 6-8 clothes, not good for my age. Doctors have not found anything conclusive, so I struggle on trying to alleviate the symptoms. I have found magnesium tablets help with constipation, and dulcoease (instead of liquid paraffin which is not recommended nowadays), They do though I think take water into the bowel which is why they soften the contents. Avoid too much fibre which can make the problem worse, and impact the bowel if you have a blockage. The exception is linseed (flax), which is good in small quantities. Hope you get some help.

  • this is dreadful - I am speechless - all I can say is you will have to go back to your doctor there MUST be something they can do for you - he who shouts loudest gets heard -

  • Hi. I am so sorry you are suffering. I can relate. My weight got drastically low (88 lbs) 5and I had to get nutrition through a PICC line (tpn). I am now maintaining 101 pounds through diet and proper nutrition. That is the only thing that has helped me. I have an app on my phone so I can get everything I eat and keep track of calories, protien, fat and fiber. The app has really saved me because I can visually see when I do not get enough calories and/or protien. Unfortunately, it is very easy for people to say "eat". When your stomach feels so yucky, it becomes somewhat of a mind game because you still have to eat but you know it's going to upset your stomach. The thing that has really helped me is adding 3 tablespoons of coconut oil to my diet. I put it in smoothies and add it to foods. I have gastroparesis (delayed stomach emptying) along with ibs and the coconut oil has helped me with constipation (because it's a natural laxitive), as well as heartburn. I also did some research on magnesium supplements. I purchased an item called natural calm natural vitality from Amazon. I have not tried it yet, but I've read good things about it. Here's the link for info. I purchased from Amazon.

    Wishing you happy and healthy pooping.


  • Also wanted to add the fact that a good probiotic will also help. I have gone through quite a few before trying Align, which continues to be the best fit for my stomach.

  • I am blown away by the kindness and support I've received on here, I'm really touched. I gave up trying to explain how I felt to those around me because I think it's pretty much impossible for anyone who hasn't experienced this to understand or empathise. Words like constipation are commonplace and I truly believe that people and a lot of GP's just don't take it seriously.

    I am definitely going to try out some of the suggestions I've been given on here too. There's a lot that I hadn't heard of. I'm living with my Mum after leaving my partner and although we get on really well she's very dismissive of what she calls "pseudoscience on the internet" . The thing is she doesn't understand that I'm so desperate I'm willing to try anything if I hear that it's helped someone in a similar situation to me. She also thinks I'm actually anorexic or have some eating disorder. She has struggled her whole life with being overweight and she thinks about food an awful lot. When I could eat normally I loved my food but I'm aware that now I'm becoming like my Mum inasmuch as I'm spending a lot of time thinking about food but for completely different reasons. I am scared that this will end up with me being diagnosed with some type of mental health illness. I don't know what my fear stems from but I wish I didn't feel this way....

    Oh goodness, look at me! Off on a moan again! This was supposed to be a post full of gratitude for all you total strangers who have taken time out of your day to write to me.

    So I will end with that. THANK YOU ONE AND ALL! xx

  • It's odd that if you are eating, that you only have small bowel movement and rest "water". Doesn't make sense. One of the only remedies that work for me is Swiss Kriss over the counter herbal pills. I take two every night. I pray you get it figured out as I know all about the bloating, constipation, and gas. Go to a gastroenterologist.

  • You don't say if you have been referred to a consultant. If not you should insist to be referred. I was and had all the tests done, one been a Proctogram which should I have a bowel motility problem and various other problems that I won't go into detail. If you have such a severe constipation problem, fibre, probiotics etc won't help. There are 3 new drugs for constipation that you should be able to get on prescription. I tried them, but they are expensive as I paid privately. The best one is Pricalopride and then Linaclotide. There is another called Lubiprostone but have not tried. Look them up. They work where other laxatives don't. They work differently to normal laxatives. Besides all that the best thing for me is take high doses of magnesium citrate about 800 to 1000mg at night on an empty stomach with lots of water. There is also magnesium products specifically for the colon called Oxypowder, Mag07 and Colosan. These are excellent! Look them up on Amazon or the Finchley clinic.

  • Yes I've seen a GI consultant and had both an actual colonoscopy and a CT scan fail, due to the bowel cleansers not working ( I've been given both types offered by my hospital), I've seen another GI consultant because I have lots of small gallstones but I don't get any pain from them. Ive also seen a haematologist and a neurologist but they won't do anything until they get results from my CT scan-type colonoscopy.

    I'm very interested in the new laxatives mentioned. As I get to the point where I'm vomiting, then take what I'm prescribed at the moment, Cosmocol, I get no reaction at all unless I follow the instructions for fecal impaction and then only minor. Consequently I can only eat very small amounts of food at a time. I've always been a healthy eater but it's just beyond a joke now.

    I start with a new GP in a new practice this week so let's hope to goodness I get better treatment than where I was previously living.

    Thank you for your suggestions.

  • Has your GP referred you for an MRI scan or CT scan. I would ask for it.

    You obviously need investigation immediately with the weight loss you're experiencing. I had to go on holiday in Catalonia to find out that I had suspected Crohn's disease. I was in a lot of pain and my appendix had to be removed. It's difficult to get a diagnosis for this disease but it's best to get one in the long run as you would need to be on special medication for it. There is only temporary remission not a cure.

    I too was losing weight like crazy. My GP and hospital seen me before I went away and were telling me I had IBS. I suffered for 5 years and all along it was IBD. Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

    So I'd urge you to push and threaten if you need to, to have these tests carried out.

    Hope this reply is helpful.


  • Hi,

    I can relate to everything you say as I am going exactly the same thing. Slow gut transit, low weight, severe constipation. Feel dreadful most days due to severe bloating and fullness. Had colonoscopy but the laxatives to clear me out did not work so was not successful! I have been referred to a dietitian due to low weight and am sure they think I am anorexic - which I am not! I know I am underweight and would love to be able to eat without worrying about my stomach problems. The only laxative I find works for me ( and have tried them all!) is Dulcolax Pico liquid. (Not the tiny bottle as this seems to have different concentration and does not work for me bizarrely). This can be bought over the counter and is a stimulant to get bowels working. I find the laxatives that draw water into the bowel actually make my bloating worse.

    Let me know how you get on.

    Good luck...

  • Learn the recipe for a laxative juice to end constipation and give goodbye to swollen belly!

    I have been using this, and it isnt bad!:)

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