HomeSurgery ArticlesDon't Suffer in Silence: Understanding Constipation After Surgery

Don’t Suffer in Silence: Understanding Constipation After Surgery

After surgery, constipation can be a frequent issue arising for various reasons such as pain medication, immobility, dietary alterations and feeling anxious. This condition is both troublesome and can impede the healing process. Undergoing surgery is a major medical procedure that can bring physical changes. People tend to be more focused on recuperating from the actual operation, but may overlook an undesirable aftermath that sometimes arises: constipation. Not uncommonly, individuals experience constipation due to the surgery, which can further increase discomfort and impede recovery. Being aware of why constipation occurs after surgery, as well as learning how to cope with it adequately, is vital for an easy and healthy recovery.

This blog post aims to provide insight into the causes of post-surgical constipation, its possible effects on the body, and useful strategies to reduce symptoms. We want to give individuals the knowledge they need to take control of this issue and enhance their healing journey.

What is Constipation After Surgery?

If you have recently had surgery, don’t be shocked to discover that you’re experiencing constipation. This is a normal issue, especially after operations on the abdominal or rectal area. The cause can usually be attributed to several things: the drugs prescribed for pain management, the effects of anesthesia on your digestion, and the fact that the incision can interfere with regularity.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to get back to normal and relieve your constipation. Here are a few tips:

  • Consuming an adequate number of fluids is essential; the goal should be eight glasses of water each day.
  • Include high-fiber sources such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet.
  • It is advisable to choose fresh, whole foods instead such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Dairy should be limited and opting for leaner proteins like seafood or poultry would be beneficial.
  • Daily physical activity is recommended; however, it’s key to not push yourself too hard. Taking a walk is a great way to fit in your daily exercise.
  • If necessary, consider picking up a stool softener or laxative from your local drugstore- these are available over the counter.

Causes of Constipation After Surgery

Constipation after surgery can have numerous causes. Common ones include:

  • Opioid-based pain medications are a typical source of constipation, as they inhibit the passage of food through the digestive tract, causing hard, dry stools.
  • Surgery can bring about dehydration, making bowel movements more challenging and less regular.
  • During the recovery period, it is typical to be less physically active than usual. This inactivity can contribute to constipation as it decreases the muscle contractions that aid in propelling stool through the intestines.
  • Dietary modifications needed after surgery can cause constipation problems. These could come in the form of restrictions or difficulties with certain foods or liquids. It’s important to make these adjustments for a period of time.
  • Stress can lead to alterations in hormone levels and have an impact on the muscles in the digestive tract, resulting in constipation.

Symptoms of Constipation After Surgery

It is not unusual to be afflicted with constipation after surgery; statistics indicate that up to half of those who have gone through the operating room will suffer from this issue. Good news is, solutions exist to reduce its severity and promote normal bowel activity.

  • It is essential to recognize that certain pain medications can cause constipation. In order to prevent this, it is advisable to drink plenty of fluids and consume a high-fiber diet.
  • Other options to alleviate discomfort and stimulate movement are available. Consider trying these solutions to get back on track.
  • Drink lots of fluids to assist in keeping your stool soft and help make passage easier. An ideal goal is to consume eight glasses of water or clear liquids daily.
  • Incorporate more fiber-rich foods into your diet such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans. These items can assist with digestion due to their bulk-adding qualities.
  • Stay away from caffeine and alcoholic beverages – They can cause dehydration, increasing the severity of constipation.
  • Movement can be the last thing you feel like doing in the face of post-operative pain, yet taking a stroll can actually help kickstart your digestion and get things flowing again.

How to Treat Constipation After Surgery

Post-op constipation can be caused by several factors, such as pain meds which can lead to or worsen the issue, lack of physical activity, and dehydration. Fortunately, keeping hydrated is key to battling constipation after surgery. Aim for at least eight glasses per day. If natural laxatives like prune juice or psyllium husk don’t offer relief, your physician may recommend a stool softener or laxative.

Ensure you’re engaging in sufficient physical activity. Walking is ideal for reinvigorating your body. Begin with brief strolls within your home and progress the range as you become able.

Be sure you are consuming enough fiber in your diet. This can be accomplished by adding fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains to meals. If eating complete meals is challenging after surgery, incorporate some high-fiber snacks such as nuts or oatmeal into your routine.

If these techniques don’t bring about the desired result or your constipation continues for more than a few days, it is essential that you seek medical advice. Your doctor can offer further guidance and help.

When To Worry About Constipation After Surgery

If you experience constipation after surgery, it is essential to be aware of when to be concerned. Generally, this is a typical and short-term reaction to pain medication and anesthesia. Nevertheless, if any certain circumstances arise, reaching out to your doctor or surgeon is advisable.

If you have been having difficulty passing stool over the course of a few days, this could be an indication of fecal impaction. Such a condition occurs when a solid mass of feces builds up in the rectum, disallowing any further movement. It can be a severe matter and medical attention should be sought out.

If you observe blood while passing a bowel movement, even if only a small amount on the toilet paper, it could point to an injury such as an anal fissure. In this case, it is important to contact the doctor immediately.

Severe abdominal pain or bloating could indicate a bowel obstruction. This is when the intestine is blocked and can’t allow stool to pass through. It’s a serious condition that necessitates immediate medical attention.

Tips for Preventing Constipation After Surgery

Many people don’t think about their bowel movements, but if you find yourself unable to pass stool after a medical procedure, it’s an issue that should be addressed.

There are a few things you can do to help prevent constipation after surgery:

  • Drink a sufficient amount of liquids to ensure your stool remains soft and simple to pass. Shoot for eight cups of water or other non-alcoholic drinks each day.
  • Consuming high-fiber foods such as whole-grain breads and cereals, fruits and veggies, and beans can help make bowel movements smoother and easier by adding bulk to your stool.
  • Start your recovery process right away after surgery by taking walks around your house or the hospital floor. Begin slowly and gradually increase the distance as you feel comfortable with more movement. Walking is an effective way to help get your bowels moving.
  • If your physician deems it necessary, try taking a stool softener. Doing so can help you pass stool without resorting to straining, thereby mitigating further pain or distress.
  • Go ahead and act on the urge to go whenever it comes up. Attempting to resist it can aggravate constipation.
  • Speak to your physician concerning prescription medicines as a treatment option for constipation, if necessary.

These tips can help you avoid constipation after surgery and ensure your bowels are moving normally.


Constipation after surgery is a common occurrence. Though it shouldn’t be overlooked, there are ways to ease the symptoms such as stool softeners, altering diet, exercising and using natural remedies. Don’t leave your intestinal health in the dark; take time to fully understand constipation and look for help if needed.

Investigating constipation treatment options will help make your recovery smoother. Utilize the various medical and natural remedies accessible to find relief from Constipation after surgery. It may be useful to seek assistance from a healthcare professional for the best remedy for your needs. Additionally, look after your mental well-being; share your feelings with somebody close or look into professional guidance like therapy if needed.


1. What is constipation?

A person suffering from constipation finds it difficult to pass stool, or go to the toilet.

2. What can be the cause of constipation following an operation?

Pain medications, minimal mobility, and altered dietary habits may all be contributing factors to constipation that can follow surgery.

3. How can I treat constipation after surgery?

Many ways of dealing with post-operative constipation exist, such as consuming copious amounts of liquids, incorporating high-fiber foods into one’s diet and taking stool softeners.

4. When is it necessary to seek medical help for constipation after an operation?

If you’re not having regular bowel movements or experiencing pain when trying to go to the bathroom, it’s time to consult a doctor.

5. What are the long-term effects of constipation after surgery?

Failure to treat constipation can result in severe medical issues, like fecal impaction and hemorrhoids.

- Advertisement -spot_img