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Bowel Function After Bowel Resection

From the Pelvic Floor Articles List

Understanding bowel function after resectionWhat type of bowel issues can I expect following my bowel resection? What type of diet should I follow?


For the first few months, bowel movements may be small and frequent. As healing continues, they may become more normal in size, but they are likely to remain frequent.

During the first couple months, you should plan to eat small, frequent meals. You should also limit your diet to soft, easily digestible foods like gelatin, pudding, soup, and yogurt. Be sure to include adequate protein as well. You can blend or puree foods that you have steamed or boiled, but you should remove the skins. You will want to avoid raw vegetables, spicy foods, nuts and seeds, gas-producing foods, tough meats, and breads. Fried foods will not be a good choice either.

Chew your food thoroughly to help with digestion. You can avoid extra gas issues by not using a straw, not smoking, and not chewing gum. Drink plenty of water to help avoid constipation and keep stools softer. Walking can also help your digestive system and aid in bowel function.

As you heal, you can slowly and carefully add new foods to your diet, but only add one or two new foods at a time. Continue to drink adequate liquid, and avoid a high fiber diet unless cleared by your doctor.

Your doctor may recommend stool softeners during recovery and beyond. Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions, and work with him/her to find the right brand and dose for you. Discuss laxatives with your physician before using them.

Even after you have healed, your digestive system will likely function more quickly depending on how much of your bowel was removed. You may find yourself having to have a bowel movement soon after each meal. You may also have diarrhea. Both of these issues can lead to an absorption problem because the digestive system is working so quickly. You will want to work with your doctor to determine if you are retaining enough nutrients or if you need supplements.

With time, many are able to live a relatively normal life once they have adjusted to the changes. Though permanent dietary changes may need to be made, many find they are able to find a satisfactory diet to allow them to be both healthy and happy.


This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

08-14-2012 - 08:07 PM


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