Updated April 11, 2014
Surgery patients are far more likely to have a bout of constipation than the average person. If you are prone to constipation you should mention this to your surgeon, as you will be at a greater risk for constipation. A stool softener may be prescribed. Prevention is key after surgery, because constipation can be very painful.
Medications: If your surgeon has prescribed a medication for constipation or recommended an over-the-counter treatment, such as a stool softener or an enema, it should work to relieve your symptoms. You may want to take a mild stool softener prescribed by your surgeon as a preventative measure, rather than waiting until symptoms develop. Do not use over-the-counter treatments without first discussing it with your doctor. Your surgeon needs to be aware of your symptoms and all medications you are taking.
Drink More Fluids: Increasing your intake of fluids, avoiding caffeinated beverages and focusing on beverages (water and juice) can help keep you well-hydrated and decrease the risk of constipation. Fluids will also help your body to recover after you develop constipation.
Eat More Fiber: Focusing your food intake on healthy, whole foods, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, will help decrease the risk of constipation. It will also help improve symptoms if constipation does develop. When possible, try to eat high-fiber foods. Lean protein is important when recovering from surgery, but it should not be your only source of nutrition. A very low carb diet can also cause constipation.
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