Constipation after Surgery: Facts about Causes and Prevention


Surgery patients are extremely prone to constipation after their procedure. Unfortunately, it’s hard enough that you can barely walk and move. There’s also the fear that the wound will reopen if you move too much or too quickly. This is why doctors require that you rest and abstain from physical activities until your body fully heals. So how can you prevent constipation after surgery? Read on to know more.

Constipation after Surgery: Facts about Causes and Prevention


A Mix of Triggers

Post-surgery constipation is triggered by a number of things. Here are the 4 main causes:

  • Lack of Nutrients and Fluid – Before surgery, you’ll have to go through a period of fasting. This means that you’re not allowed to take food and water 24 hours before the procedure. The reason for this is that your digestive system needs to be cleaned before doctors can open you up and look into the problem.

    After surgery, you’ll be required to eat and drink minimally. Without much water and without anything inside your tummy, it does take time before you feel the need to go to the toilet. More importantly, too little fluid hardens feces, which makes it even more difficult for you to excrete your stool.

  • A Mix of Medications – You’re more likely to experience constipation if you’re taking prescription drugs that help alleviate pain. If you take large doses, then you aggravate the problem further.
  • Anesthesia – This puts you to sleep. What you didn’t realize is that it also immobilizes your digestive tract. Until your intestines are back to full working condition, everything slows down.
  • Inactivity – Lack of mobility has been known to cause constipation. The problem is that you’re required to rest and stay in bed until you get the go signal from your doctor.
  • Avoiding the Problem

    There’s no way you can avoid surgery because this is your health and wellbeing on the line. Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean that you’ll need to endure the problems associated with constipation. There are things you can do so that you’re body is better able to excrete the feces from your system:

    • Drink More Fluids – Water should be your best friend after surgery. Avoid caffeinated drinks until your bowel movement normalizes. For now, stick to H2O. Your body will be able to pass the wastes more smoothly if you get the hydration it needs.
    • Eat Foods Rich in Fiber – Your first meal should comprise of fiber-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, oats, and whole-grain cereals. If the hospital doesn’t serve this, ask a friend or a family member to buy the grocery before visiting you.
    • Medication – Always get your doctor’s approval before taking additional medicines. Chances are, he’ll ask you to take a stool softener.
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