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Thread: Megacolon

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    So. California


    I'm wondering how many of you, after years of using senna/laxatives, have the dreaded megacolon. If so, what are you doing to manage it or improve it?

  2. #2
    Obstructive megacolon is most common in those with neurogenic bowel who have used very strong stimulants (senna, bisacodyl tablets, etc.) and osmotic laxatives routinely for many years. It has also been seen in some who use routine enemas.

    In my experience, if this should develop, people with SCI may be able to get along with stronger and stronger stimulants for a while, but many eventually find that they need to resort to a fairly proximal colostomy to manage it in the long term.


  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    So. California
    KLD, thank you. How do we avoid megacolon? My son is a c6/7 and has been using senna for 10 years. What other options does he have BUT to use a laxative. He has a very healthy diet, drinks lots of water, stands 2-3 times per day, exercises, etc. However, he cannot have a daily bm without a laxative. Developing megacolon is a real concern. Thank you for your input.
    Last edited by Mombo; 07-14-2014 at 09:19 AM.

  4. #4
    A KUB (kidney,ureter,bladder) X-ray can get a good picture of your intestines and tell you if you have a mega colon

    have you had a colonoscopy?


  5. #5
    something to remember is everyones bowel habits are different. nothing says he needs to go daily. rep
    c4/5 inc funtioning c6. 28 yrs post.
    sponsored handcycle racer

  6. #6
    I have been using Senna for 31 years and have had two colonoscopies. The most recent the end of 2012. I have not been diagnosed with Megacolon. I also agree with fuentejps that everyones bowel programs are different. What I don't understand is when you are in rehab after your injury if Senna and suppositories are so bad for you why do they recommend them?

  7. #7
    Honestly, from what I have read - the really concerning Megacolon is quite rare as a complication. I used to worry about this just like you are, but after much reading and asking every doctor I can find I no longer worry about it.

    Worrying about UTIs causing sepsis, pneumonias, and pressure sores --- now THOSE are better places to focus our worrying energy! Not this..... It's good to be knowledgeable about every risk with SCI, and always check in with your doctor (ideally SCI physiatrist) when you have any major changes in bowels, but everything in life after SCI is a balance on risk and quality of life benefit.

    My father sees a physiatrist who is a director of a SCI rehab program in one of the best Rehab hospitals in the country. This doctor has told us multiple times that this worry about Megacolon is overblown and is not worth avoiding senna/colace for. We have also heard this from a gastroenterologist that specializes in SCI bowel issues. The only thing that we have heard is that Miralax is slightly preferred rather than the common senna/colace combination. But we were not told that he should switch to Miralax based on their preference if the senna/colace is working. Right now he takes a couple senna/colace a day, and occasional Miralax.

    So if your son currently has a stable, reliable bowel program..... I wouldn't change a thing. Many on this board would give anything to have a stable, reliable bowel program. And it sounds like your son (and you) are doing everything right. Nice job.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    So. California
    Thanks for all the input! I think I will take your advice and not worry too much about it since there are few options. He is doing pretty good and I'm thankful for that!

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