does constipation lead to diarrhea?

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Shyman asks:

I had a backed-up problem recently. Then I ate tuna casserole, and an hour after eating, I sat and crap flew out of my backside fast-paced like. My question being: is constipation then diarrhea -- without laxatives -- normal? Or did the food I ate evacuate my bowels?





Dear Shyman,

While it's tempting to blame the tuna casserole, it probably was not the immediate culprit. It usually takes food at least several hours to a day to make the journey to freedom.

There are lots of things that could be going on. IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) can sometimes cause symptoms like alternating diarrhea and constipation. Could be something bad you ate during the day prior to the diarrhea.

If this happens infrequently, I'd put it down to one of those poop mysteries that will likely never be solved. If it seems to happen on a regular basis, go to the doctor and let him figure it out.

But don't be so quick to blame tuna. I love tuna. My tuna casserole would NEVER give you the runs.

Good luck!

Please be advised that I am only a Poonurse. I am NOT a medical doctor. Any advice I give should be taken moderate skepticism. Please consult a REAL medical doctor if you feel you have a serious medical condition.

-- Poonurse

Poonurse is an RN with 25 years experience in labor and delivery. Her qualifications include seeing a lot of poop, and owning a computer. Also, she works in Michigan, which she calls the asshole of the universe, so that's another bit of credibility.

Got a question for her?












85 Comments on "does constipation lead to diarrhea?"

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points

boweltroubles......The best advice anyone can give you is to haul your ass to a specialist. If you have a problem with your innards it is better to find out sooner than later. A gastroenterologist can take a peek inside and possibly cure you quite easily. Don't delay, do it now!!


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Eat chilies and feel the burn!!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

Sharticle's picture

I'm 26. As a kid and teenager, I used to get occasional diarrhea and constipation. More often constipation (and sometimes it was verrry difficult), but it never really alarmed me. It wasn't that often, and I always got through it without laxatives. Occasionally there would be a bit of blood which scared me half to death the first time, but my doctor checked me out and told me it was due to a few internal hemorrhoids. That doesn't really happen anymore.

Now, all of a sudden I'm dealing with frequent diarrhea. It comes in spurts (no pun haha), but it is worrisome to me. Starting a couple of months ago i would get the runs almost every day. That lasted about a month an a half, I upped the fiber, and then it just magically went away. Now it's back. Not everyday, but at least a few times a week. I fart way more often, when it happens too, and I get cramps on occasion with it.

What the hell is going on with my garbage-shoot? Is my ass rotting out or something?

sittingpretty's picture
Comment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points

shartcycle, oh, I get so tired of this, but I will say it again. If one has asudden change in normal for that person bowel habits, one needs to take sudden change to the doctor. How the hell do I know what is wrong with you? All I can see from here is a bunch of letters and punctuation. What I do know is your change in bowel habits warrents a visit to the doctor every time. Over and over. Doctor. Doctor. Doctor. GO TO THE DOCTOR! Please. Grrrr. I feel the same way you do, Pump.
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...And their flesh like dung. Zeph. 1:17

...And their flesh like dung. Zeph. 1:17

Bilgepump's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorh 3000+ points

Its MISTER Pump, if you please.


_______

The proper order is kiss me, then go smell the other dog or cat's butt. I cannot stress this enough.

"One of the founding members of the Front Page Hyena Pack, and runs as its alpha male when the urge strikes him, which is often." Daphne (one perceptive chick)

sittingpretty's picture
Comment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points

Pardon me, Mister Pump. Did you wake up on the wrong side of the toilet this morning?
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...And their flesh like dung. Zeph. 1:17

...And their flesh like dung. Zeph. 1:17

Bilgepump's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorh 3000+ points

Nope, thus far, for 48 years, I've managed to wake up on the dry side.


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The proper order is kiss me, then go smell the other dog or cat's butt. I cannot stress this enough.

"One of the founding members of the Front Page Hyena Pack, and runs as its alpha male when the urge strikes him, which is often." Daphne (one perceptive chick)

sittingpretty's picture
Comment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points

Then, did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, then?
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...And their flesh like dung. Zeph. 1:17

...And their flesh like dung. Zeph. 1:17

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points

I forgot to take my Viagra last night, rolled out of bed during the night and woke up on the floor.


_______
Eat chilies and feel the burn!!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

sittingpretty's picture
Comment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points

LOL. cHIEF USES HIS STICK TO KEEP HIM IN BED. hahaha
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...And their flesh like dung. Zeph. 1:17

...And their flesh like dung. Zeph. 1:17

Anonymous Coward's picture

hi, im only 19 and ive had poop problems as long as i can remember, i even got put in hospital when i was about 6 i was so backed up, but now i will easily go 7-14 day without poop, pain like no other right through my gut into my back, then, once im able to go, (most resulting in me going into shock), i then have acid runs for a day that leaves me red raw. i had a 9 pound baby 16 months ago, it took me 2 weeks to be able to do a poo, i swear it hurt more than having a baby, i go through this at least twice a month,
any advice ? i was told to change my diet and give up caffeine(i was going through 4-6 litres of CokaCola a day) i did for weeks with no improvment, PLEASE HELP, MY BUM HURTS

sittingpretty's picture
Comment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points

miralax, ac, every day without fail. Try it.
_______
...And their flesh like dung. Zeph. 1:17

...And their flesh like dung. Zeph. 1:17

Anonymous Coward's picture

Okay, this is it and I am so sorry to remain at least for now, another anonymous coward.
I've been looking at this site for several weeks and I cannot tell you the relief I find in the fact that people are writing all about their shitting issues,
not necessarily the kind of relief I am looking for. but great nonetheless.

The kind answers, advice and remarks from pooh nurse are particularly enlightening.
She should get the medal of honor or something equivalent in poop world.

Okay, here's my story.
I am a 62 year old self employed artist/craftsperson. As is my husband. He is survivor of a triple bypass and has diabetes, by the way. ( stress)
It is a constant struggle to remain solvent,I mean a BIG TIME teeth gnashing struggle, completely devoid of vacations and that kind of thing.
although we are moderately successful, at least to the outside world....We live primarily by doing commissioned work, which is a bitch.

I am the main caretaker for my 90 year old mother, who requires a certain amount of tlc, although she tries hard to remain independent and lives in her own apt.
My son and his family live next door and don't always see eye to eye. (I'm being polite).
earthquakes... politics.. the usual stuff.
In short, my life is incredibly stressful.
I have had gut problems for as long as I can remember, usually involving periods of constipation.I have a very slow moving gut. even when I'm not in the midst of some horrible bout , stuff comes out a couple days after it goes in at best.
I had a colonoscopy about 8 yrs ago and was found to have diverticuli.
I eat fairly well, but have not always. Pretty good on the fruits, vegs, whole grains and water. Walk 2 or 3 miles a day.

I don't like to take laxatives, but I will drink a cup of Get Regular yogi tea now and then if I am in dire straits. It has always worked....UNTIL NOW.I am afraid of laxative dependency and have a bad track record of over reacting to all drugs. Everything moves SO SLOWLY that I am still stoned many hours after I smoke pot.(not necessarily a bad thing, just an example) I had a panic attack last time I took an antibiotic. I just don't do well with medications. they always have some rotten side affect.I do like to smoke some pot now and again, but that's about it except for a smattering of vitamins and some extra fiber and probiotic if I remember. I could probably take all kinds of other stuff as most of my boomer cohorts do, but since I avoid the medical thing unless I think I am dying, that's not happening.
My doctor (I think I'm dying) suggested Miralax and I cannot make myself swallow something that sounds like anti freeze and is made from plastic. I bought some, but I just stare at it.
What if I became dependent and had to swallow plastic every day for years?

I have used fleet enemas with some success UNTIL THIS CURRENT EPISODE. And I have also used fleet suppositories.
I have no qualms about sticking stuff up there.

I stayed with my mother about a month ago as she recovered from some surgery.
I was feeling sorry for her and for myself and ate lousy... this just means a salad with a pile of nuts on it,actually two piles, whole grain bread on the side but slathered with butter, a bunch of mini snickers, a croissant filled with chocolate.and a couple bagels cinnamon and sugar coated with cream cheese in the morning. I don't like the taste of her water and all she seems to drink is some disgusting orange and mango juice and very weak coffee,
So I just didn't drink much of anything for 24 hrs.only peed twice. I slept on her couch and my usual insomnia was elevated to precipitous heights. I was doing crosswords and listening to the ipod at 3am and decided to eat a big bowl of popcorn that was on her counter.
When I got home I was incredibly dizzy and had chills, went to bed more or less for a couple of days.
And ever since, have not had a decent shit. this is almost a month.

I have tried almost everything imaginable. and nothing works. And when it does, it's twenty minutes to crap out something the consistency of putty.
so there have been a bunch of these putty producing sessions.. oh and it's about an inch long when I finally manage to squeeze something out.IF I follow this inch of putty turd with a fleet suppository, I can occasionally produce a bit more.

Lots of pain in my lower right side,sometimes very intense. and lately pain down into my right thigh near the gut pain.
My Doctor says I must have a colonoscopy once more, especially since my sweet little mother is a three time colon cancer survivor.

I have avoided this since I am, as previously mentioned, self employed, have horrible insurance, with a 5k deductible and 4k out of pocket after that.
This would pretty much wipe out my savings. After much research I have found a place that will do it for less than 4, not our usual hospital which charges more like 7 .
I still don't wanna do it, but have concluded perhaps I must. My doctor told me to cut back on some of the raw vegetables and to STOP using the tea and the suppositories.
I had to teach a class yesterday and in the morning I was in acute pain. I didn't think I could spend 8 hours imparting knowledge to 6 people with this massive gut ache, so against my doctor's advice I once again used the fleet suppository. after about 15 min.it produced the best crap I've had in a month. not great but pretty darned good as crap goes.

So these are my questions. Should I just have the colonoscopy or should I consult a gastro guy first to see if he has a clue. My Doc is a gp.
Do you think I have colon cancer? Yeah, I know you can't know.
Do you think it was an attack of diverticulitis osis? Still confused.
Do you think using 20 fleet suppositories over the past few months (10 in the past two weeks) could have made my rectum unresponsive and unable to function on its own?
I keep reading not to overuse.. but no one says what overuse IS. Can you define?
most other medical info sites are so marginally informative...
Can this all be due to STRESS????
I have a decent commission to do, but since I have been unable to shit, I can't work on it .
I feel like if I work on it while I feel this lousy all I can possibly produce is a hunk of junk and this particular thing will be in a public building for 25 or 50 yrs. I want it to be good,
but I cannot think straight.
Ergo I haven't been working, less money , more stress, less shitting.
Do not know how to break this cycle.
PLEASE HELP.
and I apologize for being so utterly verbose, as well as cowardly.

MSG's picture
Comment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points

At a minimum, you should see your GP; even if he doesn't know everything about your symptoms, he will know womeone who does. Since money is an issue, simply tell your doc that you need to know the cost of every procedure beforehand, and that where choices can be made, they should favor lower costs. Whether he has to do a colonoscopy or not, he can presumably find out if you've really held in all your poop that long, or perhaps it went out in concentrated form in smaller amounts. Don't let it go, though; see the doc.

eliotnyc's picture

Try Miralax for 10 days - you should go regularly and 90% of the discomfort will be gone.

karen90028's picture

Hello there I recently went to the ER for abdominal pain follow by loosing unconcious. While in the ER I wanted to go to do #2, I was constipated and it hurted like I couldn't push it out. After contipation came diarrhea, I went like 3 times on diarrhea. Now 4 days I have only ate some chicken soup and some eggs. I finally started eating regular but small portions.. 4 days and I haven't gone #2 yet. Please advise I'm really worried that I haven't gone #2. thank you

Anonymous Coward343's picture

We have had a stomach virus that will not go away, for almost a year it keeps coming back. My FIL had to go to the emergency room 3 wks ago he almost passed out from the pain. It starts the same way, poop gets thinner (size wise) and smaller until it stops, head ache, abdominal bloating and excruciating cramping, then eventually evil burning lava poo. you will get sweats, or chills and dizziness. They were inundated with people in the ER with it multiple family members. A customer of mine's family had the same thing. Were in central NJ. Anyone else having the same thing should complain to the CDC and your local hospital and Health Dept.

Anonymous Coward's picture

Hey,
All my life i have had consipation problems where once a month I randomly throw up, faint and have a massive fever. Its so horrible, I'm 18 now and hoping to go to university without worry but Im actually terrified that this could happen at any random time. Today I was in so much pain I couldnt stand and just had to lie on my bathroom floor for about 15 minutes. It keeps happening so often now I'm afraid to leave the house. I have been eatting a very strict diet of fibre, fruit, exersise and water but it depresses me that this is still an on going thing :( Someone help me! My bowels move nearly every day now but I still keep getting this insain pain and fever every week :(

MSG's picture
Comment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points

Have yourself checked for POTS disease/syndrome. One of my best students had it and had to withdraw from school. Obviously, I don't know that's what you have; but if you haven't been checked for it, it couldn't hurt.

Hates his bowels's picture

I have issues with my bowels as well. All started a long time ago, when I was little. I went with my grandmother to Nova Scotia, and, due to my OCD, was terrified of using the toilet to poop. Eventually, I couldn't take it anymore and used the washroom. My bowels have never worked right since then. I'll sometimes have normal poop, but more often than not, I will be struck with constipation, occasionally ending in diarrhea. My family thinks it is IBS (it apparently, ahem, runs in the family), but even if I am hit with the need to go, I am never unable to find a washroom in time, as my body is physically unable to go until I am on a toilet

Could it be something else, or is my OCD causing my brain to mess with some of the symptoms? I have talked to my doctor. He just says I need to drink more water. I don't have a good diet, so it is the main reason why I am unsure if it is IBS (I eat fruit so rarely that it once made me vomit when I only had an apple for breakfast, for example)

Hates his bowels's picture

Damnit, forgot something important:

The other reason I am uncertain is that one of my meds has a small chance of causing chronic constipation. The doctor completely dismissed that when I told him, not even willing to entertain the idea that a change in meds may at least make things not as bad

badshits's picture

Hi, I too have OCD, I found that my tablets made my diarrhoea. worse and made me very light headed. I suffer daily from stomach cramps and abnormal poop patterns,had a colonoscoopy some years back and all to no avail ("probably IBS") So I put my problems down to anxiety and IBS, so maybe your it's OCD and the increased anxiety isn't helping you bowel issues?, thats my ten-pence worth anyways, good luck

sneakers's picture

Yeah, I'm 14...and stuck with IBS. It sucks with school. My stomach has been killing me all week. The hard thing with IBS is I don't know when its the IBS or something serious when my stomach starts to hurt. And since my moom knows I have IBS, when I do have something like the stomach flu she just tells me it's the IBS and makes me go to school.

Ugh, it's awful. My stomach hurts so bad and I can't sleep....haven't been able to sleep allllll week....so I'm searching the web.

poo man's picture

About a week ago I had constipation for 3 days then I took some ex lax + prune juice = the trots! then I was constipated for another 3 days again... so I drank more prune juice and got the trots again. today I got the shits again. I hope tomorrow goes "regular". overall the trots are a lot better then constipation though. butt the combination is quite an unfortunate pain in the ass very literally.

eldred's picture

Holy shit, no pun intended, I have been backed up for about 3 weeks now and I eat like a crazy man. I'm afraid when its time it's going to be a volcano of joy because I think I'm going to explode. I really need to shit like you dream about. All I do is think about how I can't believe I haven't shit yet.

poop-sickle's picture

So I have similar issues to a few of those above. I will have durations of endless constipation. Like I eat sufficient amounts, but hardly go! It is SO annoying...
And then suddenly, I'll eat something and it is like-POOF-I hit a magic button that makes my insides feel the urge to completely crumble.
I'll have this KABOOM of bad cramps. Like hunched over in pain cramps. And then I will have to use the restroom on and off for a few hours. YUCK. Can it just come out little by little, like must it come out ALL at once. That is so inconvenient. AND not to mention, PAINFUL. This happens to me once-twice a month. SOMETIMES around the time my "friend" visits, but not always. IT really sucks. I tell my Dr.'s but they tell me to drink plenty of fluids, exercise and eat better. I EAT FIBER BARS. I exercise. NOT talking cardio, but I am no couch potato either. AND I basically live off water. There is no reason for constipation honestly. I just wanna be regular. It would be nice.

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points

poop-sickle, Fiber bars are candy with added fiber, try eating natural foods that are rich in fiber; prunes, apples, pears, whole grain breads, etc.


_______
How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

Traveler Woes's picture

During the second to last week of June (the 20-26th) I was in New York, sightseeing. On Thursday the 23rd, I woke up with a very painful stomachache, and didn't eat breakfast that morning. For the next week or so, I continued to experience stomach pains and gas. The weird thing was, I WASN'T CONSTIPATED. I was pooing like normal. Finally, yesterday (July 1st) I had had enough, and went to the doctor. The doctor said I was "full of stool," and prescribed a laxative and a stool softener. I didn't take them last night because I was still on an herbal remedy my parents had made me, and I wanted to make sure nothing interfered with the medicine, I planned to take them tonight. But today, I didn't poo all day, and an hour ago I had diarrhea. It wasn't an "explosion," but a good amount came out. This is very weird, can someone please help? It's never happened before, and I don't have IBS (at least I don't think so...) And should I still take the laxatives? .__.

pretty girl poop's picture

Help! I feel like I need to have diarrhea but it's nothing. My colon feels like its about to explode out of my butthole. I feel pressure down there just nothing helps!!

I-No-Poo's picture

I just want to comnent for now that I feel everyones pain. For me it seems ever since I hit the later portion of my teen years. I need a bigger intake of fibre. I get constipated at least twice a month and it's not fun so I understand how everyone feels and my heart goes out to you. I am a male, but I am also very sensitive to others feelings and just going through it myself I feel for you guys.

Anonymous's picture

Hi. I've had really bad pains in my belly since like 5th grade and I'm 16 now. I've been the doctor soooo many times and they couldn't figure it out. My most recent doctor diagnosed my with constipation and did an xray that she said showed that I was really backed up. She put me on a bunch of medicine, stool softeners, stuff that makes me go and some suppository stuff. I haven't taken any of it yet because I was in the middle of transfering to an online school and I didn't want to have to go at school because honesly I'm not even comfortable going at home when there are people here. Also, I've never had trouble going when I need to and it came out pretty easy. Anyway, I had some steak the other night and it gave me the really uncomfortable diarrhea that burns like acid or something for the entire day and I was in the bathroom every like 15 minutes and my boyfriend was over. It was TERRIBLE. I didn't go again after that night till I tried some more steak, only like a half a piece, and it gave me the diarrhea again but this time there were a few solids too. Since then, a couple days, I haven't gone again. I tried to go today because I felt like I could but it just wasn't happeneing and when I pushed it hurt really bad in my left side. I have been sick lately too and my dad insists that I had a virus or something but I feel like hes wrong. Should I just take the medicine my docotor gave me or eat different or what? And I've been really nauseous, bloated, and having headaches and heat flashes like crazy could this be from whatevers going on with my body? and finally for the women on here, could constipation cause irregular periods or could all of this be from being on the pill?

Anonymous's picture

Hey guys, I have quite a lot of GI issues, the current being months of constipation now followed by horrible diarrhea. I will share with you what I do know as I saw some comments from people that are similar to what I have been/am going through. If you are female and you notice changes in your poo habits related to your cycle, by all means get yourself checked out for endometriosis. I had a really hard time believing that I could have endometriosis because I did not have the "classic" mindblowingly painful menstrual cramps that I thought were associated with it but many women inclusing myself have it associated with your bowels. Sadly mine had caused adhesions to form between my bowel and my uterus so the surgery has had a lasting impact on me. The pain and constipation (especially on the left side) should NOT be ignored. Please don't let your @ss docs tell you the pain is nothing. I ended up in the ER recently because of how severe the pain and constipation had become (especially on my left side). It turns out I have diverticular disease. I am 35 and not something the doctors seemed to consider because of my age but it definitely happens. I wish I understood the full reasoning behind my diarrhea now but I am guessing it is either stuff escaping through the constipated region or my colon is really irritated and has switched over to diarrhea after all the stress from diverticulitis. I have a small bowel study in a couple days and a colonoscopy/upper endoscopy so I am sure I will get more definitive answers then. Oh, I forgot to mention that I am also finding blood in my urine. The GYN is checking for infection but it may also be related to diverticulosis or something else entirely.

Anonymous's picture

I can totally relate! It could be the OCD, I know when I have an anxiety attack, it gives me diarrhea. It has something to do with anxieties effect on your nervous system. I am emetophobic (Fear of puke) so any slight stomach discomfort sends me into a panic that usually makes me more sick than I am. I am in a bout of loose stools after a 4 day constipation, I drank alot of apple juice while I was constipated so I think that's what caused it. When you're constipated, my doctor recommended stool softener, not laxatives. You could try that. Hope this helps!

Anonymous's picture

I wont go for a few days, then I'll have a ball of poop. Within a few minutes after leaving the bathroom I'll have a turd like a snake, and after that full blown Hershey squirts till I'm all cleaned out.

Sometimes when I have a big turd and I am in a hurry, I'll get some TP and push on that spot between your butthole and jigglybits. It coaxes it out.

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points

So most of your shitting is done after you leave the bathroom? How novel!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

Anonymous's picture

You should get your thyroid checked, a lot of your symptoms sound like mine, also check for allergies, celiac, and other autoimmune conditions.

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