Constipation Education

Constipation Education 

Signs you may have constipation: 

  • A sudden decrease in bowel movements 
  • Hard stools 
  • Worsening bloating, gas, abdominal or rectal pain 

Constipation is a common postoperative complaint that can delay wound healing as well as worsen pain and discomfort. If constipation was a problem before surgery, it will likely worsen after surgery. 

Your daily activity helps our bowels move. After surgery you are less active and your bowels are less active, resulting in constipation. 

Anesthesia and pain control medications have a common side effect of constipation

Staying hydrated and eating foods high in fiber such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables can help to prevent constipation. 

Preventing constipation is easier than treating it. 

We recommend our patients start a bowel regimen to avoid and / or limit these complications

Colace / Docusate: A pill that works by pulling water into your bowels to soften stool and avoid straining. It is available at any local pharmacy or grocery store. 

MiraLAX/ Polyethylene Glycol: A flavorless powder that works by pulling water into your bowels to soften stool and avoid straining. You mix the powder with four to eight ounces of water, juice, or other liquid. The powder comes in bottles or singleserve packets and is available at any local pharmacy or grocery store. 

Probiotics: A probiotic is a blend of microorganisms used to promote digestive function and improve overall health. We all have good bacteria in our GI tract, which can become disrupted specifically after a procedure or with stress. The disruption can cause fewer good bacteria and more bad bacteria to grow. Certain probiotics are shown to promote digestive health, decrease inflammatory response, enhance immune function and promote healing, specifically in post-operative patients. Many probiotics are available at any local pharmacy or grocery store. 

We specifically recommend Thorne probiotics

Thorne is recognized as a leader in manufacturing and formulating premium nutritional supplements of the purest, highestquality products available today. Thornes FlouraPro-LP Probiotic is proven to support immune function as well as decreased antibiotic use in post-surgery patients, has antimicrobial effects against pathogenic bacteria and promote digestive health

Magnesium: Magnesium is a nutrient in our bodies that we naturally get from many foods, but is low in many American diets. It is essential for overall health and functioning and is important for many processes in the body. Evidence has shown that stress, illness, hospitalizations and surgeries result in decreased magnesium levels

Magnesium supplementation pre-operatively has been shown to have many benefits including: 

  • Help improve bowel function by acting as a laxative, preventing constipation.
  • Decreased risk of blood clots after surgery.
  • Decrease the risk of cardiac arrythmias after surgery. 

Evidence shows magnesium supplementation resulted in decreased complications after heart surgery. May decrease postoperative pain, decreasing the need for narcotics. 

Narcotic pain medication has many side effects including nausea, drowsiness, low blood pressure and constipation. A study on magnesium and postoperative pain relief was done, and the evidence showed a decreased stress-response, decreased pain scores and reduced the need for narcotics. 

NOTE: Magnesium supplements can interact or interfere with some medications and is suggested to discuss with your physician prior to supplementation