Let’s talk about poop. Specifically, bowel movements after gastric sleeve surgery. Once you’ve had your procedure, a lot changes, and one of those changes is the occurrence of constipation.
Yes, constipation and gastric sleeve often go hand in hand. But why is this? And what can you do about it? Let’s find out.
Why Is Constipation After Gastric Sleeve Surgery Common?
There are a few reasons constipation might happen after gastric sleeve surgery. First, the procedure limits your food intake to about 15-20 grams of protein and 20-30 carbohydrates per meal. That can lead you to feel full faster, but it also makes digestion more difficult because there isn’t as much bulk in your stool compared with what you’re used to having—think softball instead of football!
Second, since you eat less often now that your stomach is smaller than before the procedure, food sits longer in your digestive tract, which allows for water reabsorption from feces, making them harder or dryer.
Third, constipation may occur due to an excess amount of sugar alcohols found naturally in some foods like fruits and vegetables (which you can talk to your doctor about avoiding) or due to sugar substitutes like sorbitol that are found in diet drinks and candies.
What Can You Do About Constipation After Gastric Sleeve?
Luckily constipation is something that’s totally manageable after gastric sleeve surgery, even for those on the go! Here are some tips on constipation relief:
- Don’t rush it. Going too quickly may lead to hemorrhoids or tears—yikes! So don’t try forcing things along by taking laxatives unless advised by your doctor. Instead, start slow with small changes until things move smoothly again.
- Exercise regularly. It’s not just good for your waistline but also helps with constipation relief! Even something as simple as a fast-paced walk can help get things moving again naturally — talk to your doctor about the best exercise plan that suits you post-surgery.
- Stay hydrated. Again this is another thing most people don’t think of when it comes to constipation after gastric sleeve surgery, but drinking more fluids will increase bowel movements and prevent constipation from happening in the first place! Try avoiding caffeinated or alcoholic beverages if possible, too, since they have diuretic properties that dehydrate you further, leading to constipation issues down the road.
- Once you have clearance to, eat foods high in fiber every day, such as fruits and vegetables (squash, peas), whole grains (whole wheat bread and cereals), beans, and legumes.
- Try adding more fiber to your diet slowly until things move smoothly again.
Constipation is common after gastric sleeve surgery — so don’t freak out if you’re not pooping like you used to! It’s just because of the changes in your digestive system that require a little extra effort for constipation relief once it happens 🙂 Don’t forget these tips next time constipation strikes!
Want to know about scars after surgery? Read: How Can You Quickly Eliminate Scars After Gastric Sleeve Surgery?