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The Poop, The Whole Poop, and Nothing but the Poop

Constipation is a common, but manageable, post operative occurrence.  Narcotic pain medications slow down the intestinal peristalsis, your body’s way of moving food through your gut.  While the muscle movement slows, the transfer of water across the intestine (the way nutrients are absorbed) continues.  This can result in digested food taking a longer time to move through the digestive tract.  By the time you are ready to poop, you may be pooping out a rock.

Here are some tricks to avoid post-operative constipation:

Shopping List:

  • At your local drugstore (or Amazon) purchase the following:
  • A stool softener (Colace)
  • A senna stimulant laxative (Dulcolax oral or suppository, Senokot)
  • A lubricant laxative (mineral oil or glycerin suppository)
  • An osmotic laxative (MiraLax)
  • Only open the stool softener and save the receipt for the rest!

Before Surgery:

  • Eat plenty of leafy greens and other high fiber foods
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Start the stool softener

After Surgery, (Post op Day 1 and beyond until regular):

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Limit narcotics for pain control.
  • Walk around your room or down the hall.  Movement helps!
  • Continue a high fiber diet as you can tolerate it.
  • Continue the stool softener

If no poop by post operative day 2:

  • Add Senna (over the counter) to help stimulate the poop

If no poop by postoperative day 3+

A glycerin suppository should help make pooping more comfortable.  Use this in addition to the above recommendations.  Alternatively, you could try MiraLax, or mineral oil, but don’t try everything at once! If you’ve had no success, contact your surgeon.

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