Cartoon unicorn with rainbow

The Scoop on Poop: Managing Bowel Habits after Bariatric Surgery

Are you planning to undergo bariatric surgery or have already had the procedure? If so, you might be wondering about the impact it will have on your bowel habits. Managing bowel movements after bariatric surgery is a crucial aspect of the post-operative journey. In this article, we will delve into the scoop on pooping after bariatric surgery, providing you with valuable insights and tips to navigate this aspect of your recovery. 

Maintaining regular bowel movements is essential for overall gastrointestinal health and to prevent any discomfort or complications. Bariatric surgery can bring about changes in your digestion and absorption of nutrients, which may affect your bowel habits. Understanding these changes and implementing strategies to manage them can ease your concerns and help you adapt to your new normal. 

We will explore common challenges individuals face with their bowel movements after bariatric surgery and share expert advice on how to optimize your bowel habits. From dietary modifications to lifestyle adjustments, we’ve got you covered. So, let’s dive in and empower ourselves with knowledge on how to effectively manage bowel habits after bariatric surgery. 

Understanding changes in bowel habits after bariatric surgery 

After bariatric surgery, your digestive tract undergoes significant changes that can affect your bowel habits. These changes can include decreased stomach capacity, changes in the hormonal signals that regulate digestion, and alterations to the normal intestinal anatomy. As a result, some individuals may experience changes in their bowel movements, including increased frequency, loose stools, or constipation. 

It is essential to understand that these changes are normal and expected after bariatric surgery. However, it is important to manage your bowel habits to prevent discomfort or complications. This can be achieved by adopting a healthy bowel routine that includes dietary modifications, lifestyle adjustments, and over-the-counter remedies if necessary. 

Common challenges with bowel movements post-bariatric surgery 

One of the most common challenges individuals face with their bowel movements after bariatric surgery is constipation. Constipation can occur due to several factors, including decreased food intake, reduced intestinal transit time, and dehydration. Additionally, some medications used to manage pain or other post-operative symptoms can cause constipation. 

Another common challenge is diarrhea or loose stools. This can occur due to the rapid transit of food through the digestive tract, incomplete digestion, or changes in the bacterial composition of the gut. Diarrhea can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances and should be managed promptly. 

Lastly, some individuals may experience difficulty passing stools or a feeling of incomplete evacuation. This can occur due to changes in the anatomy of the intestine, reduced food intake, or dehydration. These symptoms can be uncomfortable and lead to anxiety or embarrassment. 

Tips for managing constipation after bariatric surgery 

Constipation can be managed by implementing several strategies that promote bowel regularity. One of the most effective strategies is to increase your fiber intake gradually. Fiber helps to add bulk to stools, making them easier to pass. However, it is essential to increase your fiber intake gradually to avoid bloating or discomfort. 

Additionally, increasing your water intake can help to prevent constipation. Water helps to soften stools, making them easier to pass. Aim to drink at least 64 ounces (2 liters) of sugar free clear liquids per day and avoid sugary or caffeinated beverages that can dehydrate you. 

Another effective strategy is to establish a regular bowel routine by dedicating time each day to use the toilet. This can help to train your body to eliminate stools regularly. Incorporating physical activity into your daily routine can also promote bowel regularity by stimulating intestinal motility. 

Incorporating dietary changes for improved bowel health 

Dietary modifications can play a significant role in managing bowel habits after bariatric surgery. It is essential to consume a balanced diet that includes adequate protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. Incorporating probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt or kefir can help to promote healthy gut bacteria and improve digestive health. 

Furthermore, consuming foods that are rich in fiber can help to promote bowel regularity. Fiber-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. However, it is important to increase your fiber intake gradually to avoid bloating or discomfort. 

Lastly, it is essential to avoid foods that can cause digestive discomfort or exacerbate constipation, such as highly processed foods, fried foods, and foods high in sugar or fat. 

The role of hydration in maintaining regular bowel movements 

Hydration plays a critical role in maintaining regular bowel movements after bariatric surgery. Aim to drink at least 8 cups of water per day and avoid sugary or caffeinated beverages that can dehydrate you. Additionally, consuming foods that have a high water content such as fruits and vegetables can help to promote hydration. 

Dehydration can lead to constipation, so it is essential to stay hydrated to maintain healthy bowel habits. Symptoms of dehydration include dry mouth, decreased urine output, or dark-colored urine. 

The importance of physical activity in promoting bowel regularity 

Physical activity can play an essential role in promoting bowel regularity after bariatric surgery. Movement stimulates intestinal motility and can help to promote healthy bowel habits. Aim to incorporate at least 30 minutes of physical activity into your daily routine, such as brisk walking, cycling, or swimming. 

Furthermore, physical activity can help to improve overall health and promote weight loss, which can improve bowel habits and reduce the risk of complications after bariatric surgery. 

Over-the-counter remedies for managing bowel habits after bariatric surgery 

If dietary modifications and lifestyle adjustments do not improve your bowel habits after bariatric surgery, you may consider using over-the-counter remedies. These remedies can include stool softeners, laxatives, or enemas. Most OTC remedies are safe and non-habit forming. It is important to use these remedies as directed and not rely on them for long-term management of bowel habits.

When to seek medical assistance for bowel issues after bariatric surgery 

It is important to seek medical assistance if you experience any persistent or worrisome bowel symptoms after bariatric surgery. These symptoms can include severe constipation, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, or abdominal pain. 

Your healthcare provider can evaluate your symptoms and may recommend additional testing or treatment to manage your bowel habits. They can also provide guidance on how to optimize your bowel habits and prevent complications after bariatric surgery. 

FAQs about bowel habits after bariatric surgery 

  • How long does it take for bowel habits to return to normal after bariatric surgery?
    • Bowel habits can take several weeks to months to return to normal after bariatric surgery. However, implementing healthy bowel habits can help to promote regularity and prevent complications. 
  • Can I take over-the-counter laxatives after bariatric surgery?
    • Yes, OTC laxatives are safe and non-habit forming.  
  • Can I eat fiber-rich foods after bariatric surgery?
    • Yes, you can eat fiber-rich foods after bariatric surgery. Be sure to increase your fiber intake gradually to avoid bloating or discomfort. 

Embracing a healthy bowel routine post-bariatric surgery 

Managing bowel habits after bariatric surgery is a crucial aspect of the post-operative journey. Changes to your digestive tract can affect your bowel habits, but implementing healthy bowel habits can help to promote regularity and prevent complications. 

By incorporating dietary modifications, lifestyle adjustments, and over-the-counter remedies if necessary, you can optimize your bowel habits and adapt to your new normal. Additionally, it is important to seek medical assistance if you experience any persistent or worrisome bowel symptoms. 

Embracing a healthy bowel routine post-bariatric surgery can help you feel empowered and improve your overall quality of life. You can learn more at our DoctorXDietitian podcast episode here!

XOXO, 

Dr. Betsy Dovec
BodyByBariatrics 

*Our blogs do NOT replace medical advice. Seek the help of your health care professional if you have questions related to your condition. We strive for patients to achieve healthier, happier, longer lives through weight loss surgery.

OUR POPULAR POSTS

Weight Loss Medications: The Rise of Semaglutide and Tirzepatide

Weight Loss Medications Ozempic, Mounjaro, Wegovy, Zepbound logos

In recent years, there has been a significant breakthrough in the treatment of obesity, thanks to two injectable medications: semaglutide (name brand Ozempic or Wegovy) and tirzepatide (name brand Mounjaro … Read more

Gastric Bypass: Exploring the Gold Standard for Bariatric Surgery 

Dr. Betsy Dovec wearing a scrub cap, surgical face mask, and surgical gown performing laparoscopic surgery

Are you considering gastric bypass surgery for weight loss but want to understand more about the procedure? Look no further as we delve into the Laparoscopic Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass (aka … Read more

Reclaiming My Health: The Incredible Story of Losing Weight with Bariatric Surgery

DSC_8291-Edit

Losing weight can be a challenging and overwhelming journey for many, but sometimes it takes a life-changing decision to reclaim our health. In the article titled ‘Reclaiming My Health: The … Read more

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR BLOG

Subscribe to BodyByBariatrics blog updates and embark on a journey to better health!

By opting in, you agree to receive communication from BodyByBariatrics. You can unsubscribe at any time.