When ya gotta go, ya gotta go. Except for when you can’t! Constipation is one of the not so pleasant side effects of weight loss surgery.
As a bariatric patient, I would argue that it is by far one of the crappiest situations we can find ourselves in – pun intended. Fortunately, there are steps we can take to combat this issue as well as ways to prevent it from happening.
Why does weight loss surgery cause constipation?
Constipation post-op can happen for several reasons:
Lack of physical movement. After surgery, you won’t be able to exercise right away. The first few weeks of recovery require you to be pretty calm. You will be encouraged to get up and take frequent walks – and it helps!
Iron and calcium in your supplements. I know, I know. Taking your vitamins every day is a new healthy habit you are forming. But now, I’m tellin’ ya that they can clog the pipe! Don’t fret; we will get through this.
Narcotic painkillers. They put the brakes on gastric emptying – the time it takes for food to move from your stomach into your small intestine. Narcotics also cause your small intestine to absorb more fluid which causes your stool to dry out.
Lack of water and fiber. As soon as you start pursuing weight loss surgery, drinking water becomes a top priority. And for good reason! You need to stay hydrated because you have all of the above working against you. Also, you will be eating far less fiber than a normal person. Fiber adds bulk to your stool and softens it, making it easier to pass.
How do I know if I am constipated?
Before surgery, you may have been very regular. Maybe you visited the pot several times a day, or maybe you were an every-other-day kinda person. Either way, you knew you were gonna go and life was good. But here you are after surgery, feeling like you’ll never go again.