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Constipation After Surgery


Constipation is due to the reduced frequency of bowel movements. When constipation occurs, stool that is not eliminated becomes hard and dry. Constipation is a difficult state, especially for post-surgery patients.

Causes for Constipation after Surgery

Constipation after surgery is caused by many reasons such as the following:

  • Inactivity

One of the reasons why a person suffers from post-surgery constipation is due to his or her inactivity. Due to pain experienced after surgery, the person is usually confined to his or her bed. Furthermore, some usually spend most of their time resting in their bed after surgery. Normally, movement is needed in order for the stool or bowel to have movement. Hence, reduced bowel movement causes constipation after surgical episodes.

  • Anesthesia

Anesthesia is a normal agent that is used when a person undergoes surgery.  It is given prior to the surgical procedure to paralyze the muscles that will be affected during the surgical procedure. When anesthesia is given, the intestine muscles are paralyzed along with other muscles in the muscular system. The bowel muscles become affected, and contractions in the intestinal tract halt until the anesthesia wears off.

  • Analgesic

Analgesic, which is also known as pain killer or pain medication, is a common drug prescription, especially for  a person who underwent surgery. Analgesic is given to manage the pain associated with the surgical procedure. The side effect of analgesic is constipation. Hence, people usually suffer from constipation after surgery due to the analgesic medication that the doctor has prescribed.

  • Diet restrictions

Restrictions in a person’s diet before and after surgery is another cause that triggers constipation after surgery. Normally physicians will suggest and order people to drink minimally and not eat for a maximum of two days prior to, and after, surgery. When this happens, they are at high risk for post-surgery constipation.

Post-Surgical Constipation Remedies

Constipation after surgery can be remedied by the following steps or actions:

  • Increased water intake

Increasing water intake is an important remedy for constipation. Scientifically, fluids will help bowel movements and keep stools soft. Suggested fluids to consume are water and juices. Caffeine-rich beverages should be avoided.

  • Increased fiber consumption

Another step that will prevent and treat constipation is to increase fiber consumption. Fiber-rich foods are vegetables, fruits, and grains. Fiber can be also obtained from fiber supplements.

  • Medications

Certain medications act to relieve post-surgery constipation. The following are constipation medications that are commonly prescribed by physicians:

    • Enemas
    • Stimulant laxatives
    • Stool softeners
    • Fiber laxatives
    • Suppositories
  • Increased magnesium

When a person has constipation, he or she is magnesium deficient. Magnesium can be found in nuts, whole grains, seeds, supplements, and green leafy vegetables.

  • Increased activity

As mentioned earlier, inactivity will cause constipation. Hence, an increase in physical activity is suggested to people after surgery. An increase in physical activity can be achieved by walking briskly for a maximum of 25 minutes to facilitate bowel movements.

  • Acupressure

Acupressure, a tradition medical practice, is a method that applies finger pressure to specific points on the body. Some people who suffer from constipation after surgery will be able to benefit from this kind of medical treatment.

The methods mentioned above can be a cure for constipation after surgery. Yet, if the methods mentioned above do not lead to desired results or if symptoms such as discomfort due to prolonged constipation are still experienced, then it is best to seek medical help in order to treat the constipation episodes.

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