Constipation is an unfortunately common side effect of bariatric surgery. However, the professional team coordinated by Tijuana Bariatrics can help prepare and guide patients through constipation after bariatric surgery and other side effects at the Tijuana, Mexico, practice. Reach out today to set up a consultation and learn more.
Why Does Constipation Occur After Bariatric Surgery?
When functioning normally, the digestive tract moves food along its length with a series of muscular contractions called peristalsis. The changes to the tract resulting from bariatric surgery alter the normal flow of peristalsis. Consequently, food moves much more slowly through your system.
Though typically a temporary problem, it can take some time for patients to adjust to the needs of a revised digestive tract. In the meantime, the slowed movement of the digestive tract, combined with reduced fluid intake in the weeks after surgery and potential interference from pain medication, often leads to constipation.
Preventing and resolving constipation as soon as possible is an important part of staying healthy during your post-bariatric recovery.
While constipation is uncomfortable, its consequences are usually more problematic than the condition itself. It often leads to straining, which in turn can cause hemorrhoids or hernias. If constipation persists and remains untreated, it can even create an intestinal blockage. As a result, preventing and resolving constipation as soon as possible is an important part of staying healthy during your post-bariatric recovery.
Prevention and Treatment
While time and laxatives are the best treatment for constipation, prevention is a more reliable method. Patients should keep the following tips in mind to reduce their risk of constipation:
- Stool softener: Taking a stool softener for the first month or so after surgery can play an important role in controlling constipation. Diet is often a common cause of constipation, but patients must stick to a highly restricted regimen after their surgery. Consequently, they do not have much room to adjust their eating habits to prevent blockage issues. Stool softener helps manage the issue until patients are ready to change their diet again.
- Fiber and fluid intake: After about three to four weeks, patients are usually ready to move on to the next stage in their post-bariatric diet. At this point, increasing the amount of fluid and fiber you consume is the best method of preventing constipation. Your surgeon will typically recommend around 64 ounces of water each day to satisfy your fluid intake. Reliable sources of fiber include raw vegetables and beans. If necessary, patients can also supplement their fiber intake with over-the-counter options that they can mix into water. You should also keep in mind that certain foods, such as bananas, rice, skinless potatoes, and peanut butter, can increase your risk of constipation.
- Daily exercise: Regular exercise stimulates regular bowel activity. Even daily walking helps, though more challenging exercise will improve your overall physical condition even further.
It is important to remember, however, that everyone has different bowel habits: some people have three movements a day, while others only have three a week. If you are not experiencing abdominal discomfort and still have a bowel movement at least every few days, you are probably not constipated. However, if you are concerned, you are highly encouraged to reach out to the Tijuana Bariatrics team at any time.
Reach Out to Tijuana Bariatrics Today!
Tijuana Bariatrics coordinates care with qualified surgeons and supporting staff to provide comprehensive care to patients. Contact our compassionate and highly trained weight management professionals to learn more about the recovery process after bariatric surgery and decide which bariatric surgery procedure is right for your personal weight loss goals.