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Should I Do a Bowel Prep before Hysterectomy?

From the Pre-Op Hysterectomy Articles List

Should I do bowel prep before hysterectomy?Should I do a bowel prep before my hysterectomy or not? What about using stool softeners or a laxative?


You should follow your doctor’s specific orders for the bowel prep. Your surgeon and medical facility will expect you to arrive for your surgery having followed the instructions given you, so it is vital that you comply with your doctor's orders.

Your doctor gives these instructions based on your specific health situation, the reason for the surgery, what all will be done during the surgery, and even the type of fluids used by the medical facility.

For instance, if you have adhesions or endometriosis (conditions which may involve the bowel), a prep may be ordered to make it easier to remove the implants from the bowel. If the surgeon needs more room to work, s/he will need the bowel completely empty. If your surgeon does not plan to perform any type of procedure on the bowel, a prep may not be ordered at all.

The hospital will plan which fluids to use during and after your surgery based on your bowel prep. Most bowel preps remove your sodium and potassium, causing an electrolyte imbalance that can cause cardiac problems in surgery. There are a variety of fluid options—normal saline, half saline, or lactated ringers—designed to balance those electrolytes. If you do an unordered bowel prep, your electrolytes will not be properly balanced, and your life could be in danger.

Specific health conditions—such as kidney disease or diabetes—may determine whether or not your doctor will order a bowel prep for you. The benefits of a bowel prep for surgery will be weighed against the risks for your specific health situation.

A stool softener before surgery will not clean out your system in place of a bowel prep. Stool softeners simply ensure there is water in your stool so it is soft. A laxative stimulates the bowel to make you try to pass stool; these are not an adequate substitute for a bowel prep either. Before using either product prior to (and following surgery), you need to check with your surgeon.

You can endanger your life by not following your surgeon’s bowel prep instructions for you. Do not do a bowel prep if it is not ordered. Do not adjust your doctor's instructions for the bowel prep. And do not neglect a bowel prep if it is ordered. For your safety, discuss any concerns you have with your doctor and do what s/he suggests for you.



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.

03-13-2012 - 11:16 AM


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