Constipation after Surgery
Constipation is occasionally seen in some folks. As we age, constipation is seen more often but some of us have issues from earlier age. It is never comfortable but can be especially problematic after a recent weight loss surgery. It is important to prevent constipation because of potential problems such as straining, hemorrhoids, and hernias. Constipation is occasionally seen after some bariatric surgery, such as sleeve gastrectomy or gastric band surgery. Dietary recommendations and the amount of food you will be eating can cause alterations to your digestive tract that may make you more susceptible to constipation problems.
Immediately after surgery the normal movement of your digestive tract that moves food from one end to the other will be less than normal. Changes to your digestive tract and the composition of food moving through will be different. Also you may be drinking less than before and it will cause you to be slightly dehydrated. Pain medication also interferes with normal bowel movements so there are a variety of reasons you might have trouble with constipation.
Bowel habits vary between people, whether they have had weight loss surgery or not. For some, going three times a day is normal while for others having three bowel movements per week is normal. Because it permanently changes part of your digestive tract, weight loss surgery can change your bowel habits, so it may be some time before you know what your “new” normal is going to be.
Before you take any action, make sure you are constipated. “Not going” is not the same as being constipated. If you move your bowels at least once every three days and are not suffering any abdominal discomfort, you are probably not constipated and do not need to take any action. Talk with your doctor about it, especially if you experience pain or difficulty when passing hardened stool.
Avoiding Constipation after Weight Loss Surgery
You may need to take a stool softener for the first month or so after weight loss surgery. After that, you may be able to increase your fluid and fiber intake enough to control constipation. At Florida Surgical Physicians in Jacksonville Florida, Dr. Baptista will advise you about this but don’t forget to mention it if constipation is already a problem for you. You may need to add 2 to 3 tablespoons of fiber to a big glass of water and take it 1 to3 times per day. You can improve regularity by eating raw fiber vegetable every day.
Starting about three weeks after weight loss surgery, you may increase your intake of vegetables, and beans to improve regularity. Drinking plenty of water may be the most important thing you can do for constipation. Drink at least eight 8-oz glasses of water each day. To get this much fluid will require that you sip frequently from a water bottle throughout the day.
Exercise daily. In addition to improve your physical condition, it will put tone in your muscles and make you feel better. Remember, physical activity like walking alone, stimulates bowel activity to reduce constipation.
Again, talk with us at the first sign of a problem and we will provide you with a strategy to get you going again.
For More Information on Weight Loss Surgery.
For more information on bariatric surgery, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Baptista, please contact Florida Surgical Physicians today.