Constipation After Gastric Bypass

Constipation. It’s the subject that no one wants to talk about yet, if two or more weight loss surgery patients gather together, the subject eventually will come up.

Why? Because it’s very common among us surgically altered people. Not just immediately after surgery but also years after surgery. This is due to a variety of reasons.

– We tend to not drink as much as we did before surgery.

– Eating small amounts of food means taking in less fiber.

– We take supplements. Iron is usually one of the main supplements that will cause constipation.

– If you take narcotic pain killers, especially after surgery, these will contribute to the problem.

– Reduced physical activity. Again, this is a big issue for those who have just recently had surgery. Your in pain, your tired, your note moving around much. Right after surgery it’s easy to go several weeks without doing even much walking especially if you’ve had an open surgery instead of laparoscopic.



The best way to treat constipation is to prevent it from happening in the first place. How? Try some of these tips and see if they help.

– Make sure to drink enough liquids. Right after surgery this is a big problem. Most people struggle with slowly sipping enough throughout the day. Add to that the fact that we are often told no drinking 30 minutes or so before and after meals. As time goes on many people seem to become less focused on monitoring fluid intake and, since they may not feel thirsty, often don’t realize they aren’t drinking enough.

– Make sure your getting enough fiber. Adequate intake of fiber for men is 30 to 38 grams and at least 26 grams for women. Since us WLS folks tend to focus on getting enough protein in fiber can easily be over looked. Foods high in fiber include vegetables, whole grains, beans/legumes, nuts/seeds and fruits. Pass on the highly processed foods especially the grain products since the fiber is usually stripped from those products.

– Get some type of exercise every day. Don’t just sit around. It makes constipation worse. Even taking several short walks throughout the day will be beneficial.

– Before giving this last tip to help with constipation here please remember I’m not a doctor though I did dress as one for a Halloween party once. Please consult with your doctor before taking any type of medication even the stuff sold over the counter.

If at least three days have passed without going to the bathroom it might be time to get some additional help. There’s tons of stuff sold out there for just this purpose. The products that add fiber/bulk  (they are basically forms of fiber) are usually the ones that many doctor’s will recommend. They might even tell you to take a teaspoon or so everyday just to keep stuff moving. This would include things like Metamucil powder (pick the sugarfree type) or Capsules and even Wafers.

Some laxatives do not add bulk but instead work by stimulating intestinal contraction, included vegetable based ones such as Senokot and non vegetable based such as Milk of Magnesia. Laxatives work much faster than fiber and cramping is a frequent side effect. Again, use your own personal judgement and consult with a doctor before taking anything.

These are not the only forms of laxatives available on the market. One could easily write a rather large blog post about the types currently being sold. I’ve just listed a few of the more popular and well known products. Remember that the best way to treat constipation is to prevent it from happening to in the first place. Increase your fiber from food sources first. Drink enough fluids and exercise in some form daily. Use laxatives as a last resort.

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