After surgery, it is widespread to experience constipation. Constipation is caused by anesthesia, pain medications as well as lack of movement during surgery. Lack of bowel movement after surgery does not happen to everyone, but it is important to note that it is a common occurrence for most people who have undergone surgery.
Straining your body to have a bowel movement can interfere with the recovery process of the surgery that you have received. This majorly depends on the area where the surgery was conducted.
It is therefore essential to ensure that you have a smooth bowel movement after surgery to avoid pains and complications. This article highlights the symptoms of irregular bowel movement and how to get the bowel moving after surgery.
Bowel Movements After Surgery: What To Expect
There are several causes of constipation after surgery these include;
Medication – Opioids are commonly known to cause a lack of bowel movement. Other medications such as muscle relaxants, painkillers, and anesthesia have been observed to cause constipation in some patients after surgery.
Dietary change before and after the surgery – Changing your diet can cause constipation, especially after the surgery. The best thing to do is to ensure that you consume adequate fluids to facilitate effective bowel movement.
Lack of enough mobility – People who have undergone surgery require time to relax and recover, and therefore, they don’t move much. Lack of mobility has been linked to limited bowel movement.
Lack of bowel movement can lead to severe complications if the condition is not treated as early as possible. Some of these complications include;
Hemorrhoids – These are caused by straining during a bowel movement. The veins around the anus become swollen, a condition that can be painful.
Incision opening – If you had surgery around your abdomen, it is essential to ensure that you have a smooth bowel movement. Failure to do this can lead to rupturing or opening of the surgical incision. This can be very painful and risky.
Tips On How To Get Back Bowel Movement After Surgery
It is clear that when constipation is left untreated, it can lead to various complications and discomfort. This section discusses the various things you can do to get back your bowel movement and have a smooth recovery from your surgery.
You should have get in touch with your surgeon if you experience constipation after the surgery. It is not appropriate to begin taking medications without first seeking the advice of your doctor. It would help if you were careful about the bowel movement relief medicine you take because some might interfere with your recovery.
Follow these tips to get back regular bowel movements after getting surgery.
Make Sure That You Move
Movement is significant after surgery in preventing constipation. You should note that your doctor should authorize movement. You can start by taking some short walks around hospital or around your compound at home.
Body movement will help in bowel movement by simulating the intestines. When you move around, food can pass through the intestines, reducing the chances of constipation.
If you are unable to move your body, you should move your hands and legs because this too can facilitate effective bowel movement.
Use Laxative Medication
Your surgeon may recommend stool softening medications to ease constipation and allow normal bowel movement. These medications work by absorbing fluids from the small intestines allowing the stool to become softer and pass quickly through the intestines.
There are several types of laxative medicines available. Your doctor will recommend the best one per your specific situation because some might interfere with your recovery, and others can cause abdominal pains. Realize that not all laxative medications are appropriate for post-surgery constipation, and therefore, you should first talk to your doctor before you buy over-the-counter laxative medicines.
Use of Alternative Pain Killers
After the surgery, people tend to take Opioids as painkillers. Research shows that about 40% of people who will take Opioids after surgery tend to have constipation. It is therefore critical to get alternative painkillers to use instead of Opioids.
Note that not all people get constipation after using Opioids. If you have difficulty getting bowel movements after taking these drugs, it is essential to talk to your doctors to help you choose an alternative painkiller.
Probiotics are bacteria that play a critical role in the gut’s health. Probiotics supplements can be used to ease bowel movement. They also tend to increase bowel movement frequency and also soften the stool. Make sure that you talk to your doctor to find out whether these are appropriate for your situation.
Diet Tips To Help In Bowel Movement After Surgery
The type of food to eat and drink before and after the surgery determines how well you have your bowel movement. The following diet tips will help you to have a good bowel movement after surgery.
Drink Enough Fluids
It is essential to get enough fluids after your surgery because fluids allow easy bowel movement and reduce dehydration. Water is highly recommended because other fluids such as caffeine, sodas, and other soft drinks can facilitate dehydration.
Eat Fiber Rich Foods
Fiber is essential in your body because it facilitates effective bowel movement. You need to eat foods that are rich in fiber content such as;
- Whole grains
- Lentils and beans
- Seeds and nuts
If you can’t eat these as a whole, you can prepare a smoothie that is easier to consume.
Avoid Some Foods
Certain foods can cause irregular bowel movement or even constipation. It is advisable to avoid these foods while recovering from surgery;
- Processed foods
- Dairy products
- Refined grains and cereals
Getting back your bowel movement is essential after surgery. The best thing is that constipation does not last long after the surgery; however, this depends on an individual. If this lasts longer than usual it is essential to seek your doctor’s advice.
It is common to have reduced bowel movements after surgery. However, most people will feel better after a few days. Follow the tips discussed above to improve power movement and have a smooth recovery from your surgery.