What Causes Constipation after Surgery and How to Reduce

Recovering from surgery is challenging enough, then on top of that, you have constipation. Constipation after surgery is quite common, but has no fear there are a few ways to avoid, reduce, and stop constipation. A few key reasons for constipation after surgery are:

  • Pain relief medication
  • Post-surgery diet and fluid intake
  • Lack of activity
  • General anesthetic

Pain Relief Medication

Pain relief medication is one of the main reasons of what causes constipation after surgery. Taking large amounts of pain relief medication or pain medication for an extended period of time increases the risk of constipation. If approved by the doctor and manageable, opting for less intrusive pain relief medication such as ibuprofen can reduce the risk of constipation.

Limited Fluid and Food Intake

Low fluid and food intake are also reasons for constipation after surgery. This is a tricky one. Depending on what surgery you have had can depend on the amount and what you can eat. If the surgeon recommends minimal fluid intake and/or no solid foods, this can increase the risk of constipation. A way around this, if approved by your surgeon are stool softeners you can buy from your local pharmacy.

Lack of Activity

Inactivity may also be what causes constipation after surgery. After surgery, it is hard to do your normal daily tasks such as going to work, exercising, cleaning, or even going out with friends. Bed resting is all well and good however, moving around and being active is a key trigger to get those bowels moving. It is suggested that once your doctor gives you the all clear and it is comfortable, the best way for bowl movements is to walk around.

General Anesthetic

General anesthetic will definitely cause constipation until the body wakes back up. Not only can anesthetic put you to sleep but it paralyses your body in the local area it is directed in. When the body is under anesthetic this can cause the paralysis in the muscles including the stomach muscles, which help food pass through the body and cause bowl movements. There is no remedy for this but to just relax and wait for the anesthetic to wear off.

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