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5 Ways to Speed Up Sluggish Bowels after Hysterectomy

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5 Ways to Speed Up Sluggish Bowels after hysterectomyIt's now 5 days since my hysterectomy and I have yet to have a bowel movement. I'm worried. What can I do to move these bowels?

Sluggish bowels are a common problem after a hysterectomy. The combination of undergoing major abdominal surgery, being under anesthesia, and using pain medication afterward can all contribute to the problem. Fortunately, this problem can usually be solved in the comfort of your own home, without a bunch of doctor visits.

Here are some ways to encourage your bowels to get back on track following your hysterectomy:

1. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

If you have been skimping on your 8 glasses a day, or perhaps replacing them with fizzier alternatives, then let this be your starting place. Your body is 60% water, thus it needs water to function properly. water lubricates your food and intestines, making stools softer and easier to pass. If drinking water is a challenge for you, some fruit and vegetable juices and herbal teas can be good substitutes. Alcohol and caffeinated beverages, however, can dehydrate you and slow things down.

2. Get Moving

Getting plenty of rest is crucial after a hysterectomy, but walking is just as important. Walking gets you upright, letting gravity do its job. You don't want to do too much too soon after your hysterectomy, but when you get up to go to the bathroom (after drinking all that water!), you might walk an extra lap around the house. As your recovery progresses, you can start walking a little more.

3. Chew Some Gum

Several small studies have found that chewing gum may help restore bowel function after an abdominal surgery, such as a hysterectomy. Though there is still more research to be done, it is generally thought that chewing gum tricks the digestive system into action, triggering all the hormones and other responses that move bowels along.

4. Fill Up on Fiber

Fiber plays a major role in digestive health, but most people—whether they are recovering from surgery or not—do not get enough of it. As you recover, foods like fruit, bran flakes, shredded wheat, and oatmeal can all help your digestive system function well, without creating gas problems.

5. Mind Your Meds

Some medications can be helpful for restoring bowel function, others—not so much. Stool softeners, for instance, can gently help move stools along. Laxatives, however, are harsh on the system. You should not use a laxative without your doctor's recommendation. In addition, pain medications are known to slow the digestive system. The sooner you can switch to non-narcotic pain medicine like Tylenol, the sooner your digestive system can get back on track.

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.

06-16-2014 - 08:08 AM


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