Arachnoiditis may result in constipation since most drugs and medicines used to treat arachnoiditis can cause constipation. The basic causes of constipation are excess dehydration of feces, relaxed or reduced bowel muscle activity and obstructions in the bowel passage.
Arachnoiditis is an incurable and dangerous condition in which inflammation occurs inside or around the spinal cord. This can damage the nerve roots. Arachnoiditis in the lumbar spine is one of the major causes for constipation. The nerve roots from the conus medullaris of the lumbar region control the nerve supply to the lower legs, bowels and bladder. The damage of the nerves controlling bowel activities (especially S3 and S4 nerves) by arachnoiditis can result in reduced muscle contractions and feces movement. This can cause constipation.
Constipation as a result of arachnoiditis has all the same symptoms as normal constipation. As the symptoms are almost the same, it will take some serious test to detect the proper cause. There will be pain at the end of the bowels and weakness in completing bowel action. The persons with arachnoiditis usually also experience the problem of urinary retention as both are regulated by nerve branches arising from same region. Often the patients? lower body parts have poor reflexes and diminished pain sensing ability.
Almost all drugs used to treat arachnoiditis can cause decreased mobility of bowel muscles. The most widely used drugs are opiates (e.g. Morphine, Pethidine (Demerol, Methadone, and Tramadol), anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g. Brufen, Mobic, Naproxen, and Vioxx), antidepressant drugs (e.g. amitriptyline and Prozac), anticonvulsant drugs (e.g. Tegretol, Neurontin and Vigabatrin) and muscle relaxants (e.g. Baclofen Robaxin Dantrolene and Zanaflex). As most of these drugs are pain killers, and nerve depressants, they reduce the ability of the nerves to carry impulses to respective organs. Because of this many doctors prescribe drugs for constipation along with treatments for arachnoiditis.
To minimize constipation, patients are given a chemical stimulant which performs digital stimulation for evacuation when placed inside the rectum. This is practiced once in every two days.