Constipation is a common problem which patients face after major surgeries. Back surgery is one of the conditions after which constipation occur causing discomfort and pain.
Following are the ways to prevent the unpleasant and often painful side effects of constipation after back surgery:
- Resume activity as early as possible after surgery to help body functions return to normal. Walking is one of the ways in which constipation can be prevented as it helps in the movement of bowels.
- Minimize the use of narcotic medications which are used to control pain as narcotics slow down the bowel motility thereby leading to constipation. If possible, try to take a non-narcotic painkiller.
- Drink plenty of water and increase fluid intake at least more than 2 liters/day to prevent hard stools and constipation.
- Eat food which has high fiber content, such as whole grains, legumes, oatmeal, brown rice, beans, fruits, and vegetables, to provide roughage which will help to stimulate the intestines.
- Avoid eating food items, such as cheese, meat, white rice, processed food, and milk, which aid in constipation.
- Use a fiber laxative to reduce the risk of constipation. Try and use natural laxatives, such as prune juice or apple cider. Use bulk fiber laxative which adds bulk to the stool and helps keep water in the colon.
- Drink natural laxative, such as tea which will help you get the urge for passing stools.
- Stool softener/emollient laxatives help fluid to mix with a stool to soften it making it easy to pass through the intestines and colon.
- Stimulant laxatives, such as Dulcolax and milk of magnesia, are commonly used to prevent constipation by stimulating bowel contractions.
- Eat small quantity of food at short intervals rather than eating in large quantities at a time to aid digestion and prevent constipation.In cases of very bad constipation suppositories, such as Dulcolax are inserted into the rectum. This process helps by causing a contraction of the rectum and pushing the stool out. The action of the suppository is very quick.
- An enema is also used commonly to relieve constipation. It is usually water or saline which is injected into the rectum up to the colon thereby stimulating the colon to contract.
- Lubricants are similar to stool softeners which are used to relieve constipation (For example, oil-based products, such as mineral or cod oil).
- Do not delay to go to the washroom when you get the urge to pass stools.
- Use home remedies such as honey, lemon juice, coffee, castor oil, or raisins to prevent constipation.
- Herbal laxatives also help the intestinal muscles to push stools through the colon as well as soften stools.
Thus, by using the above methods, constipation post a back surgery can be resolved. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!