Gastric sleeve is a weight-loss surgery that removes a portion of the stomach. As with any weight loss surgery, the recovery period varies based on factors like the patient’s age, health condition, and how well they follow the post-surgery instructions.
Most gastric sleeve surgery patients experience constipation as part of their recovery process. Constipation occurs when food and waste do not regularly move through the digestive system, making it difficult to pass stool. This is a side effect of the surgery, and there are several things that you can do to help relieve it. We will discuss the causes of constipation after gastric sleeve surgery and provide some tips for how to get relief.
Why Do You Feel Constipated After Gastric Sleeve Surgery?
There are many reasons why you may experience constipation after gastric sleeve surgery. These include:
a) Reduced stomach size: The primary reason for gastric sleeve surgery is to reduce the size of your stomach, which can limit the amount of food you can eat and digest. This smaller capacity may lead to difficulty passing stool since there is less space for large amounts of waste material.
b) Reduced fiber intake: After surgery, many patients are recommended to follow a low-fiber diet for some time. This can decrease the amount of fiber you consume and lead to constipation.
c) Reduced bowel movements: Without regular eating habits, your body may take longer to move waste material through the digestive system, leading to more difficulty passing stool.
d) Pain medication: Pain medication is given after surgery can slow down the digestive system, leading to constipation.
e) Dehydration: You may need more water with a decreased intake of foods and fluids. This can lead to dehydration and make it more difficult to pass stool.
f) Stress: After undergoing surgery, you may have feelings of anxiety and stress. This can lead to constipation due to decreased muscle contractions in the colon.
Tips To Manage Constipation
If you’re experiencing constipation after gastric sleeve surgery, some simple strategies can help.
1) Keep Yourself Hydrated
After gastric sleeve surgery, you should drink around 64 ounces of water daily. This will help keep your digestive system functioning properly and reduce the risk of constipation. Ensure to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day and avoid dehydration, which can worsen constipation.
2) Increase Your Fiber Intake
Make sure you are getting enough fiber in your diet. Increasing dietary fiber can help normalize bowel movements and reduce the risk of constipation. Some good sources of fiber include whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Aim for 25-30 grams per day or as directed by your healthcare provider.
3) Exercise Regularly
Regular physical activity can also help prevent constipation after gastric sleeve surgery. Exercise can increase blood flow to the intestines and stimulate the bowels, helping food pass through more quickly—plan for at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity each day or as directed by your doctor.
4) Take a Stool Softener
A stool softener is a medication that softens stool and makes it easier to pass. It contains an ingredient called docusate sodium, which can help increase lubrication within the intestines and make it easier to have a bowel movement.