Constipation is a common problem after surgery. Contributing factors are general anesthesia, excessive use of pain medication, inactivity, diet changes, dehydration, and stress related to undergoing surgery. Here’s how to relieve constipation and manage your diet after surgery:
- Increase fiber intake: Besides eating a well-balanced diet to aid in tissue repair, make sure you increase fiber intake. Fibrous foods add bulk to your stool and absorb water making it easier to have a bowel movement. Good fibrous foods to add to your post-surgery diet are oats, lentils, avocados, raspberries, dried plums, artichokes, and popcorn.
- Take a stool softener: It is a type of laxative that works best for mild constipation symptoms. If the stool softener does not relieve constipation, hyperosmotic or lubricant laxatives may be used that can produce an immediate effect. Such laxatives should only be taken short term as directed by your surgeon.
- Drink plenty of water: Staying hydrated is very important to facilitate the easy passage of stools. If you are not drinking enough water after surgery, your body will soak up the water from the stool making it difficult to have a bowel movement.
- Wean off pain medication: It has been estimated that opioid medications account for constipation in as much as 40% of patients. Take your pain medications only if needed and never more than as recommended by your doctor.
- Stay active: Advances in orthopedic surgery have made it possible to perform major procedures such as total hip and knee replacement using minimally invasive techniques enabling patients to be up on their feet on the same day as the surgery. Staying active will not only speed up recovery, but also help with bowel movements so you don’t get constipated.
Dr. Frisch is an orthopedic surgeon focusing on minimally invasive hip and knee joint replacement as well as regenerative treatments for enhanced healing. He believes in creating a very personalized experience with the highest level of service. For all appointments & inquiries, please contact our offices located in Rochester and River District, MI.