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Post Whipples surgery constipation


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Dear All,

My husband had a Whipples procedure approx 4 weeks ago and is suffering with constipation. Our GP prescribed Movicol for

this but just over 24 hours after he started to take it, he developed a rash on his legs and lower tummy area. Our GP doesn't

think it's Moviol related and the district nurses are keeping an eye on it. It's not itchy or uncomfortable. Has anyone else had

anything similar post Whipples or after taking Movicol ?

If anybody has any experience/great ideas for natural ways of dealing with the constipation, I'd love to hear about them. He

hates prunes ...

Many thanks.


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My husband didn't have whipples, but also found movicol no use, to be honest I don't either. I have crohns and was prescribed it before.

Anyway holland and Barrett have the stuff called cherry up or so

something, will check online and tell you correct name, that's meant to be good, also liquorice ! But you can get liquorice drink, worth a go?

Don't know if it's possible after whipples, but my husband had co danthrusate liquid, which made him go to toilet, prescription only so you could ask your nurse/GP?

Hope it helps


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Me again

It's called cherry active and about £10 a bottle, but you dilute it into water, and drink.

30ml at a time I think?

Can only try


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Thanks very much - as you say, we can give it a go. Anything to make him more comfortable ...

He hates prunes but I pureed some up with yogurt and honey and he still started to gag eating it !

I think he does like liquorice so that might be a good one to try too. My Dad swears by senna but I'm not

sure if my husband can have this, so I'll check with the nurses when they visit later.

Thanks once again for your suggestions.

Best of luck to you and your hubbie.

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Dear Hmac

I lost my hubby last year, but I still come on here and try and help as much as I can.

Senna - he will be able to take them, but they don't work on me that well so again, cherry active, or, looking at my notes, my Andy was given lactulose, but strong.

But that co danthrusate liquid was most effective.

Prunes are awful mind !

Good luck with it all, hope it helps


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Hi Helen- I suffered awefull constipation for a couple of months after my op,and tried a range of delights. I must say that the Movicol worked but i had to give it a few days and continued to take up to 4 sachets a day. Not the nicest drink. Again like the other reader senna can be very effective. Above all tell hubby not to worry,cos i became a bit pre-occupied with it and more likely suffered form psychological damage,worrying myself stupid!!! It will all be back to normal in a few months,trust me !

Best Wishes to you both Richie

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PCUK Nurse Jeni

Hi there,

Best to avoid lactulose if possible, as it can give terrible wind and cramps.

Richie is right about Movicol -it is good and well used in hospitals. Senna is good, as is co-danthramer.

Hot (boiled) water to drink is also good. Soapy bath! Hot and cold compress on abdomen.

Some old fashioned remedies, but they are effective.


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I think you have to heed to medical advice here as it's still a short time after your husband's op.

However, I would say Movicol never worked for my husband.

I agree with richie, maybe just relax about it, I know we too became obsessed with bowel movements, some of this caused by the medical professionals telling us that my hubby shouldn't go more than two days without going (he was not suitable for surgery). Does your husband actually feel constipated and like he wants/needs to go, he may not. Sometimes just sitting on the loo helps.

But also whilst people are talking about senna, etc, it seems as though there's a lot of emphasis on the constipation 'pushers' but don't forget the 'softeners' - eg docusate - you also don't want discomfort/pain when he goes. And all these medications work better the more fluid intake you have

Do you have a named hospital nurse? Or even your husband's oncologist? If this continues ask them for their advice.

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Dear Lynbo,

I'm sorry to hear that you lost your husband - words are rarely of little comfort. However, I am so grateful to people like yourself who still take the time to check this website and give advice when necessary. I could not have got through this, and been as strong for my husband as I was (and continue to be), without the genuine care, support, advice and shared experiences of the members of this support group. Thankyou.


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Dear Richie, Jeni and Claire,

Thanks for all of your advice. I suppose when you consider that he's not eating 'normal' quantities of food, there's no reason to

have 'normal' bowel movements, ie. daily. So we should really just relax about it as you say . He says he feels uncomfortable when

he hasn't been for a couple of days - it's possible that partly this is psychological as he was a very 'regular' man with a set routine !

Anyway, his wound has stopped draining and is now being packed daily so there are improvements but it's a very slow process. He's

still pretty frail and blood tests show anaemia - GP has prescribed iron but, due to the continuing constipation, it will have to be a

low dose and possibly on alternate days to begin with.

Thank you all for taking the time to post your advice - the website and the professionals associated with it are amazing, but it is the

shared experiences of other patients and their carers , who take the time to be there for others, which contributes enormously towards

making PCUK a great source of comfort.

I wouldn't have known about Creon without this website - it hadn't been suggested for my husband at all so I brought the topic up when we

visited the surgeon, and it was almost as though it had been completely overlooked. So, now it's been prescribed and hopefully this will

make my husband more comfortable after meals, and help him to put on some weight.

Best wishes to you all.


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You weren't to know, and thank you for the kind words, I have been exercising like crazy as I'm doing a 23 mile walk in May for PCUK!

I've already raised £1550 in November last year too.

Take care



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Hi Lynne,

That's fantastic - well done for raising all that money ! That really is quite an achievement.

I think I saw the walk you are going to do advertised on the site - it looks a beautiful route

which (hopefully !) should make it a little bit easier to get through those 23 miles.

Best of luck.


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Dear Helen

I would walk over hot coals if it made a difference for PCUK.

I'm also now planning a charity bungee jump off the transporter bridge (google it)

Scary as I'm not keen on heights but hey ho.

Hope things are a little easier with you?

A lady who lives near me had a whipples op 4 years ago, and has just climbed mount kilimanjaro ! All money to PCUK.

so there's a positive story!



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Dear Lynn,

Now I know FOR SURE that you are Wonderwoman - you must be extremely brave to do a

bungee jump ! Just the thought makes me go cold .... well done and I hope it goes really well.

Do you have a fundraising page anywhere ? Somewhere where we could sponsor you ?

There are so many brave and inspirational people on this website - I take my hat off to all.

Have a great weekend Lynne - keep up the training !

All the best


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