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Do you wake up multiple times at night to have a bowel movement?

Sporadic sleeping has been my norm for so long that I often forget my sleep pattern is abnormal. I have a J-pouch. My body has decided that it's going to release most waste in the middle of the night. I wake up about three times per night (e.g., 11 pm, 2 am, and 5 am). My truly restful sleep usually starts at about 5 am. My body has adapted, but it was rough at first. Do you have this problem?

Yes.
No, I sleep at least 6 hours straight at night.
Sometimes.
Posted by Jake McCoy ·

Comments (77)

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Wow, that's awesome! I guess you can always increase your dosage in small increments if you want to experiment. I only wish more people would be open to the Metamucil therapy (if situation permits), we would not have all these posts with problems such as butt burn, loose stools, leakage and urgency that are solvable for some. So happy for you...

Originally Posted by Meatball:

Jake McCoy, that's fantastic...I'm happy it's working for you!  I couldn't live without the stuff. I only WISH I could take merely one teaspoonful to get results, I have to take so much more each time...keep me posted on your progress!

I'm still using it with success!  I use about 3 heaping teaspoons per day.  I could use 6 heaping teaspoons per day for even better results, but I'm going to hang tight at this dosage for awhile.  In my use of psyllium husk years ago, I was using the capsule version and not seeing much success.  It was probably because my fiber dosage was lower with the capsules.

 

Jake McCoy, that's fantastic...I'm happy it's working for you!  I couldn't live without the stuff. I only WISH I could take merely one teaspoonful to get results, I have to take so much more each time...keep me posted on your progress!

 

One word: METAMUCIL.

Meatball, thank you for being so demonstrative. It prompted me to give Metamucil another shot. I tried to get the Trader Joe's brand, but they were out of stock. So, I went to Costco and got the psyllium husk powder, Kirkland generic. I sat there and did calculations with the capsules. You are right about the capsules not being enough fiber. Specifically, I have to pay about three times as much to get the same amount of fiber. By the way, the price on Metamucil powder was at least twice as much per gram of fiber.

 

Anyway, I got home and took about one teaspoon of the psyllium husk at about 3 pm. I got instant results after only one teaspoon. My next two bowel movements were healthy looking and full. Last night, I woke up only once.

 

These are preliminary results. However, I wanted to let you know because my body has not responded this positively to a remedy in a long time. Thank you.

 

-Original Poster

 

Hi Everyone...so I will answer questions asked of me about my Metamucil (or equivalent) post:

 

Maddie18...I would definitely check with your doctor on that one. I don't have obstructions, so it goes through nicely.

Jake McCoy: Yes, I've tried the capsules. It's just not enough for me, even when I take four or five. I find it easier and more effective when I take it in powdered form.

Catinthehat: It is definitely NOT recommended to take it the way I do. I can see where some people might choke. It works quite well for me, however. It is easy and fast. And considering how much I take, I just don't have the time (plus I don't like it) to put it in water and drink it down. The way I do it is fast and simple. Plus I actually do like the taste. But it is definitely not the normal or standard way to take it.

 

 

 

Originally Posted by Catinthehat:

It is available in caps by several companies, just look in fiber section of store. I'm a little concerned about swallowing dry psyllium with water. It is not recommended because it can swell up in your throat. see info here   http://www.drugs.com/mtm/metamucil.html

This applies to psyllium husk as well as metamucil which is just psyllium with sweetener and flavoring added.

I've found out that you can get your greatest savings with convenience with the psyllium capsules especially when out an about. Since it's in a capsule you never taste it and you can pay a 1/3 rd of the price with buying stores brand Target/Walmart etc.. over the known Metamucil. Like any larger size pill (Calcium, Multi etc.) just remember to drink with more fluid. 

Originally Posted by Meatball:

 I put a teaspoon of the dry stuff in my mouth, and chase it down with a gulp of water. Then I do it a again...I take several heaping teaspoons at a time. 

Have you tried a capsule version of psyllium husk?

Originally Posted by Meatball:

So glad it's working for you Liz........ Good luck to you...

Thank you for the extra information. I have wondered about taking it that way with a spoon but, I hadn't got round to convincing myself that I'm an idiot for not thinking it would be safe.... yeah, true...

Plus taking it everywhere with you, such a  simple but great idea.

cheers

Liz

So glad it's working for you Liz. And don't worry if it's not the brand "Metamucil". Actually, I purchase the store brand of sweetened psyllium  husk, as I go through a container so quickly and it's not cheap. It works exactly like the name brand. You should see the way I take it, it's insane: I put a teaspoon of the dry stuff in my mouth, and chase it down with a gulp of water. Then I do it a again...I take several heaping teaspoons at a time. I do not have time or patience to put it in water; I want to get it done quickly. To me it tastes like the old school Tang, not bad at all! I carry a small container with a spoon in my purse so I have it at all times, and have learned how to take it discretely when we're out. Your body will tell you if you're not taking enough. As soon as I experience some butt burn and loose stool, I think back of how much I took that day, and it usually wasn't enough, so I adjust accordingly. It's so simple. And it has been such a lifesaver!  Good luck to you...

Originally Posted by Meatball:

One word: METAMUCIL. As I've posted before, for me (and of course everyone is different), it has given me my quality of life back. I take it every day...lots of it...more than the recommended dose...after every meal, and at bedtime. I no longer have: butt burn, leakage, urgency to go, watery stools. I only get up once at night, sometimes not at all. I can eat and drink ANYTHING and EVERYTHING I want. The Metamucil bulks up in the gut, making your stool more normal. I'm reading how so many of you are going through so much trouble trying to avoid certain foods, taking different drugs, experimenting with every new product or suggestion, to no avail. I do not have to do any of that. Ever. Try it, folks. I hope it works as well for everyone out there as it has for me!

I absolutely agree but as I couldn't get Metamucil here, I opted to try psyllium husk. From memory, this looks very very similar to one part of the ingredients included in the Metamucil product. Could you have a look and let me know?????...I'm just curious but if it is, this is a cheaper option which would then be a substitute for some people.The only real difference is it doesn't mix into a solution as easily as Metamucil and I have to use my stirring spoon to empty the glass to get the entire initial teaspoonful...which is rapidly expanding.

 

I have only been using this for the past 2 weeks since seeing people recommend Metamucil, or psyllium, and I am astounded and so very thankful to have found this. It is every thing people have said it is for helping with many of the problems associated with J pouches. I wish I had known this 30 odd years ago.

cheers

Liz

One word: METAMUCIL. As I've posted before, for me (and of course everyone is different), it has given me my quality of life back. I take it every day...lots of it...more than the recommended dose...after every meal, and at bedtime. I no longer have: butt burn, leakage, urgency to go, watery stools. I only get up once at night, sometimes not at all. I can eat and drink ANYTHING and EVERYTHING I want. The Metamucil bulks up in the gut, making your stool more normal. I'm reading how so many of you are going through so much trouble trying to avoid certain foods, taking different drugs, experimenting with every new product or suggestion, to no avail. I do not have to do any of that. Ever. Try it, folks. I hope it works as well for everyone out there as it has for me!

Originally Posted by Michelle1964:

I just have a general question for anyone who may experience this. Often I am in so much pain after a BM that I actually need to take Oxycontin. It feels like I'm passing razor blades. I know to avoid fruit and vegetables as these seem harder to pass but sometimes there seems to be no rhyme or reason to the pain. On a side note, I cannot eat anything without bolting to the bathroom. I am a 51 year old woman, 5'2" and weigh under 100 lbs. I have not been able to weigh over 100 lbs since my surgery in 1999. Luckily my husband of 30 years loves his wife on the "slender side" although he'd prefer a healthier weight (as would I). Any suggestions on how to gain and keep a few pounds?

My son is also quite underweight.  His dietician suggested high-calorie smoothie every day.  I use the FairLife whole milk which is lactose free but has lots of protein.  I use frozen strawberries and banana and a scoop of lactose-free vanilla icecream.

 

Thru a consult at the big area Cleveland hospital. (You know who I am talking about) I was going to the bathroom multiple times at night even when I had a temporary colostomy bag and was trying to work.It as like my bowels were on a different shift. I also had my large colon removed. Anyhow I added benefiber to my only one cup of coffee. I was drinking lots of water and was told to switch to gatorade it moves slower. Avoid bubbles in soda  it equals gas. Milk and yogurt were no no. I kept a food and bathroom diary to see what worked. I am on maximum dose of Imodium and lomotil. I never eat past 6 pm and can not drink water ever. I learned lettuce is a no no. Beans, spinach,broccoli are all no no

I was in the bathroom 21 times in 24 hours. Codeine also works for me after meals. I only have half of my small intestine so I am extremely careful on what I eat. Unfortunately I have been on chemo for 25 months which aggravated my diarrhea. I can go some nights with no bathroom breaks but due to the chemo now I am back in the bathroom more.

Original poster here...

 

I randomly came across something that has improved my situation a little bit. When my first bowel in the morning is mostly diarrhea, I take Imodium and about 16 ounces of water first thing in the morning. I also eat a banana and a Premier Protein bar.  This also serves as a pretty good prep for my morning workout.  I find the effects of this routine kick in later in the day and continue throughout the rest of the following night.  If I don't have diarrhea in the morning, then I don't take any Imodium in the morning.  I find that if I take Imodium as a regular thing, my body does not respond.

 

By the way, the standard diet changes don't work consistently for me.  (Or maybe I'm not doing it right.)  Eating earlier (e.g., before 5 pm) does nothing for me except causes me to have less energy.  However, there are definitely certain foods that are guaranteed to give me gas and/or diarrhea.  Broccoli and Chipotle's mild salsa are at the top of that list.  Otherwise, a particular type of rice does not matter for me.  A particular type of bread does not matter.  Metamucil does not do much for me.  Costco's mixed nuts unsalted actually help me, and apparently I'm not supposed to eat a lot of nuts. So, go figure.

 

Mucinex has worked for severe congestion and coughing. It also has allowed me to sleep for more than 6 hours at a time.  The HUGE downside is that I always mess myself in the middle of the night, and I wake up having to perform clean-up.  I will only use Mucinex if my cough is so bad that I can't sleep at all.

Since I discovered Metamucil, I take it several times a day, and especially before bed, then get a good night's sleep. It slows things down. Also, don't eat before bedtime. Good luck.

One other drug I mentioned elsewhere is Pseudoephedrine, which is used to treat nasal congestion. It works at reducing inflammation in the nasal cavity and reduces the production of mucus. This has a similar effect on the bowel and I find it gives me a period of greatly reduced bowel movements. It has side-effects and contract-indications so please read up on it first if you haven't had it before or if you're not familiar with it.

 

In drug information I've read, it is often used with an antihistamine and it occurs to me that some of these excessive bowel movements may be due to a small allergic reaction in the small intestine. I learnt very early on to NOT eat shrimp. Several years after my surgery, I had shrimp at a formal dinner and 10 minutes later, I was having floods of biblical proportions and spent most of the night perching on the porcelain. I never had this problem when I had my large bowel and I have since found that there are several things I need to avoid. My theory is that the allergy was so mild that it was unnoticeable when I still had a full working colon. Some of the simplest things can set it off. I drink low-fat milk now to reduce the fats in my diet  and this decision was more age & weight related initially. Now I find if I have a large amount of dairy in a meal (ie lasagna with Bechamel sauce) I pay for it with stomach cramps, gas and very frequent bowel motions. I have now found I have a reaction to foods with Palm Oil in them and many processed food items now contain palm oil as it's a cheap alternative to other food grade oils.

 

There are several other possible things similar to this, such as gluten intolerance, histamine fish poisoning, (among the most common toxicities related to fish ingestion), chemical additives or preservatives, very very mild ciguatera poisoning... all these in minor doses would have had the small bowel reaction masked by large bowel coping mechanism. You may have only noticed a slight difference in the final stool and you may not have noticed anything at all. In addition, as you grow older, you may develop food intolerance. I never used to be lactose or noticeably lactose intolerant. With the reduction of dairy in my diet, this is now the case and I have to be careful.

 

One possible way to determine an intolerance, is if you have more mucus than normal in your bowel motions.

 

Also, I apologise if any of my terms are a little crass, rude or insulting. I'm an Aussie and we do have an odd way of referring to things at times.

I tried the lomotil type medications at first but they just gave me painful cramps so I don't take anything like that.  I don't require pain meds so don't take them either, although I do know things like codeine (tylenal 3) slow things down quite significantly.  Like I said in a previous post, I take a regular small dose of Ciproflaxin which has worked best for me...without it I start to get run-down.

Originally Posted by NMGuy:

Unfortunately,  Lomotil and Imodium stop my small bowels up, it is very painful.  Can't take them anymore, I'm sensitive to them now, maybe used them too much?  I also really have to watch prescription pain killers, they can have the same effect?  Anyone else experience  this?

My j-pouch was a result of overuse of antibiotics and the GI doc's standard Merck's manual approach to treat GI patients. Turns out I was one of the 10% that had the symptoms due to those meds prescribed to treat and increasing the dosage only increased the symptoms. 

  My brother who had chrohns with complete colostomy, lomotil was his standard maintenance drug. But when I took it I had headaches, moodiness and such, so I changed to Metamucil (AM/PM) and that gave me a more natural binding w/o the headache and added a simethicone tablet for the gas the fiber adds. I still take Imodium as my standard go to in both AM & PM and when I know my system might get compromised because of outside food sources. I'm seeing lot's of suggestions from others at this sight and have been copying down new products that could also help with changes in those areas future concerns, but still staying away from the pharmaceutical prescriptions.

Have you been scoped or had a barium at all? One of my surgeries was to have the reservoir flap removed; again I was the only one out of 300 J-pouch patients to have it removed, but it was keeping me from constantly having normal movements, and only when I took lots & lots of gatorade and pain meds would the dam break (from painful pressure) and all the contents flowed. Took 10 months for them to know the barium had to be done after eating not standard with x rays which usually means prep is clean colon right? But the doc listened and I ate in Xray and they found the blockage area.  

Unfortunately,  Lomotil and Imodium stop my small bowels up, it is very painful.  Can't take them anymore, I'm sensitive to them now, maybe used them too much?  I also really have to watch prescription pain killers, they can have the same effect?  Anyone else experience  this?

Following on from the suggestion of a hand held shower, I can't agree more. While on the subject of ick, I also keep a small bucket in the shower area with me. Our toilets are not set up for squatting and as age advances on, we lose the ability to successfully squat. (Try living in Asia and undergoing the horror of only having a squat toilet where you are, and needing to go, right NOW!)

So, I find on a frequent basis I'll go to the toilet, get in the shower and find I have to go again. Instead of getting out, going and then getting in the shower again, I squat and use the small bucket then empty that into the toilet. With the shower on, it's easy to rinse and clean both the bucket and myself. You will also find that the different stance and angle will help empty the pouch. (The other option, if this does help, is have a small step in the toilet with you to place your feet on when going. It'll achieve the squatting position while you are sitting.)

 

In addition, I take Imodium and Lomitol (or their generics) both in the morning with breakfast and in the evening before dinner. I take 2 of each at the same time as the Imodium helps the body to remove excess fluid from the bowel where-as the Lomitol works on decreasing the peristaltic movement.

I also always have my own home made muesli, with no added sugar, on a morning with a good helping of rolled oats and oat-bran. Natural muesli, not toasted which ; helps to create a binding of the solids in the bowel; also absorbs excess fluids and slows the motility. If I can, I also have with my evening meal brown rice, rye or grain bread or wholemeal pasta to also help bind that meal also. Try to cut down on the processed foods as they turn to a sticky sludge which I find is harder to evacuate from the pouch.

I have made a  few comments on several posts this week dealing with incontinece and frequency of bowel movements. You can find these other posts when checking out my profile and they are listed indicating several other useful threads on these matters,that other people have also made excellent suggestions..

Also, I noticed the comments about "seems like you still need to poop after going".  Yes, this is true for lots of folks.  I highly recommend a hand held shower for times you feel clean out has not been achieved.  The high pressure vibration mode on some handheld units will stimulate a excellent purge (every time) of every pouch out there.  Sounds gross, but the same shower can be used to clean the  shower/bath afterwards.  This method decreases poop frequencies buy a large amount.  I don't do it every time, but you will begin to recognize a incomplete dump/purge of your pouch.  The hand held shower has increased the quality of my life dramatically.  I can now eat spicy/gassy/hard to eliminate foods without worry.  I can now eat whatever is served me when I go out on the town.

20 years after surgery.  I wake up every approx. 3 hours and poop.  Early AM is also best sleeping time.  My body has adjusted to this problem, I don't like it, but nothing I can do about it.  Ambien helps but does not eliminate totally, but you can't take Ambien every night.  Less food helps some, but you can't starve every night, and liquids also beg to be pooped also.  Timing your eating just adjusts the sequences, and is hard if you want to live and eat normally like every body else.  All I can say is I no longer have the expectation of a 6-8 hour sleep, my body has just adjusted.

This is pretty much what my experience has been for the last couple years. Might be coinciding with starting regular use of Metamucil 2x/day. Take down was 20 years ago. I usually start out with about 4-5 hours of sleep. My big frustration lies in waking up feeling the need to go, get to the toilet and can't. Go back too bed, lie down, and immediately feel the urge again. I then usually stay up for awhile and do some reading until I have success and then get some good sleep towards the morning.
Originally Posted by Msshoe:

If I can get a solid 5 hours of sleep without going to the toilet, I consider myself lucky.  I usually average 2 hours of sleep at a time.  Sometimes I have to go 15 minutes after the last time I went. Towards the morning I tend to be able to sleep a bit longer, but then I have to get up to go to work and keep an appointment etc so I can't sleep any longer.  As noted by many respondents  my husband is very loving and understanding even though he always seems to wake up when I get up to go to the toilet. 

 

Hi all. It seems for the most part most people wake up 2-3 times a night, just like myself, even though you try and "empty out" before bedtime. It seems the pouch has a mind of its own and no matter what you do it wins in the end. But it is quite bearable and if the total hours of sleep is enough to keep you in mental and physical shape for the next day then I can live with it. Things could always be worse!

...Lionel

I find that some foods slow things down for me...like apples, unsweetened apple sauce, some types of fiber like nuts and trail mixes.  I think that sometimes fiber gets a bad rap, because some types of fiber are good at slowing the pouch down because they also absorb water (metamucil).  Obviously some foods with fiber are to be avoided like those that cause gas or irritation...I love strawberries but they irritate my system if I eat them a couple days in a row. I'm curious if other people know of "slow foods" that work for them?

Answering on behalf of my son-13 years old, had surgery 7/10/15, they did all procedures in 1 surgery. When he wakes up 2 times its a good night! 4 or more and he is exhausted during the day. Thanks for all the life experience everyone is sharing. It really helps!!! Getting better , looking forward to better days.

I always wake up once, rarely twice. But the problem is not waking up, it's the not waking up in time! I wear pads and almost always have a mess to deal with. I was taking opium tincture that helped a lot, but then I had a grand mal seizure. The doctors said that it probably contributed to the seizure. I usually take 1/2 of a Xanax to help me fall asleep again.

I usually get up once during the night, sometimes more and sometimes less. I have been told if I eat earlier then I could maybe avoid it, but I'm generally unwilling to let this control my social life and work life, which generally include dinners out with friends and colleagues. Especially after 10 years with UC. I have found an immodium before bed helps. So maybe try that. And I keep the lights off when I wake up to go to the bathroom, so that I don't get woken up by the lights and can just go back to sleep. So you could try that or a nightlight in the bedroom/bathroom for your route. Honestly, it only bothers me when that number becomes more than 2, which is either when I drink or have pouchitis. Good luck!

@Michelle1964, your condition sounds like pretty bad case of pouchitis. I have pouchitis also but it was never as bad as you describe.  Even though it's tolerable I find if I don't take Ciproflaxin regularly I get run down and dehydrated.  I'm at the point where I take a very low dose, only half a pill a day, but I do take it pretty much every day and my doctors have left it to me to use it as needed, they just refill my prescription when I need more.  I'm wondering if you are on any kind of medication...sounds like you should be, to get things settled down?

If I can get a solid 5 hours of sleep without going to the toilet, I consider myself lucky.  I usually average 2 hours of sleep at a time.  Sometimes I have to go 15 minutes after the last time I went. Towards the morning I tend to be able to sleep a bit longer, but then I have to get up to go to work and keep an appointment etc so I can't sleep any longer.  As noted by many respondents  my husband is very loving and understanding even though he always seems to wake up when I get up to go to the toilet. 

I just have a general question for anyone who may experience this. Often I am in so much pain after a BM that I actually need to take Oxycontin. It feels like I'm passing razor blades. I know to avoid fruit and vegetables as these seem harder to pass but sometimes there seems to be no rhyme or reason to the pain. On a side note, I cannot eat anything without bolting to the bathroom. I am a 51 year old woman, 5'2" and weigh under 100 lbs. I have not been able to weigh over 100 lbs since my surgery in 1999. Luckily my husband of 30 years loves his wife on the "slender side" although he'd prefer a healthier weight (as would I). Any suggestions on how to gain and keep a few pounds?

Originally Posted by Danie:

I'm up three sometimes four times a night no so much because my pouch is full but because of painful gas buildup since I haven't learned how to pass it safely! It's been over 10 years so I don't think I will ever be able to let it go anywhere else than the throne!

I feel your pain! I've not "tooted" without being on the throne since my surgery in 1999. I've had the odd accident during the night and I'm very blessed to have such a wonderful, loving husband who has a great sense of humor!

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