By Dr. C.S. Ramachandran, General Surgery
Many people who are recovering from back surgery tend to suffer from constipation. The condition leads to considerable pain as well as discomfort. Even though it is never included in the recovery process, constipation, along with its adverse side effects, can pose a significant challenge during the period of recovery from a back injury.
Constipation is caused due to a number of factors that are associated with back surgery. This includes stress, anaesthesia, utilizing pain medications to cope with a back surgery, dietary changes as well as decreased activity.
Hence, some easy ways to address constipation that follows constipation are listed below:
- Physical activity should be increased as much as possible after surgery. An excellent suggestion would be walking or jogging as it would help normalize the bodily functions.
- The use of narcotic medications should be minimized.
- Use stool softeners or fibre laxative after surgery so that the risks of constipation are reduced.
- Try to drink as much water and other non-caffeinated liquids, as possible. Apple cider and prune juice are excellent examples of natural laxatives.
- Try to eat foods which have a higher content of fibre because they aid the healthy functioning of the bowels and the intestines. Examples of fibre rich foods include whole grains, beans, bran cereals, fruits such as grapes, watermelon, etc., and vegetables such as carrots and lettuce.
- The consumption of foods that lead to constipation, such as meat, cheese and processed foods should be limited.
- Instead of large meals, small and frequent meals should be eaten so that the digestive process is able to function more efficiently.
Apart from the above-stated ways, taking non-prescriptive medicines such as bowel stimulants or suppositories (devices which can be inserted inside the rectum) after surgery helps in addressing constipation.