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Minimizing Constipation After Bariatric Surgery

Following bariatric surgery, your body will undergo changes in the way it functions, including the way food is digested. As a result of your reduced caloric intake, as well as new eating habits, it may take several weeks to a few months for your body and digestive tract to return to normal. During this time, as your body begins to adjust, some patients may experience constipation after bariatric surgery. To help minimize this condition and other side effects, a doctor within Tijuana Bariatric Center's network will guide you through safe and effective ways to treat the issue and maintain your weight loss results. Each member of the team in Tijuana, Mexico, is committed to patient health and safety throughout every step of treatment. 

Factors That Contribute to Constipation

Undergoing bariatric surgery can have a dramatic effect on your body’s appearance, and the way in which it functions. Changing the digestive tract will mean that the way food moves through your system will be different than it has at any point in your lifetime. Because of this, it is natural that you will experience some side effects. Various factors, including the sudden reduction of food and reduced physical activity in the days following your procedure, can all lead to the onset of constipation. 

How to Prevent or Relieve Constipation

Although the effects of constipation will typically diminish naturally with time, it is important to understand safe and effective ways to alleviate the symptoms.

During the first month or so following your surgery, your doctor may prescribe a stool softener. After this initial recovery period, he may recommend that you add fiber supplements to your water. While there are various solutions that can be discussed, some general ways to prevent constipation from occurring in the first place include:

  • Plenty of Fluids: As a general rule, men should consume 64 ounces of fluids per day, and women should strive to drink 48 ounces to avoid dehydration.
  • Additional Fiber: Foods high in fiber such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains are good sources of natural fiber. Liquid or chewable supplements such as Metamucil®, Citrucel®, and Benefiber®, are also good forms of supplementary fiber.

Healthy foods including whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits

  • Vitamin C Supplements: Vitamin C is an ascorbic acid that can improve vitamin absorption, while also helping to relieve constipation. Most vitamins offer several great benefits, so we encourage you to consult with your doctor about additional vitamin options.
  • Do Not Avoid Bowel Movements: Symptoms can become more severe and the issue can become exacerbated if you delay using the restroom for a more convenient time or location.  
  • Exercise Daily: Walking, light exercise, and abdominal crunches can increase bowel motility, and also help strengthen the abdominal muscles that are used during a bowel movement.
  • Avoid Certain Foods: Certain foods such as bananas, cheese, rice, skinless potatoes, and peanut butter may tend to worsen constipation. 

Ensure a Successful and Comfortable Recovery

Although the effects of constipation will typically diminish naturally with time, it is important to understand safe and effective ways to alleviate the symptoms. If you have any additional questions or concerns about any of the side effects you are experiencing, the team at Tijuana Bariatric Center will be happy to assist you. To learn more about what to expect following your procedure, please contact us online or call 1 (800) 970-0577 to set up a consultation. 

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