Constipation is a common problem after surgery and is associated with the use of narcotic pain medications, decreased fluid intake, and lack of activity

How to Prevent Constipation

  • Increase your fluid intake about a week prior to surgery. You should drink an extra glass of water a day.

  • Get up and move around after surgery. This will help keep your bowels moving. Increase the amount you walk as tolerated.

  • Reduce narcotic use as tolerated.

  • Take a stool softener with your narcotic medication.

  • Eat a well-balanced high fiber diet. Aim for 15-30grams of dietary fiber per day.

    • High fiber foods include: 

      • fresh fruits and canned dried fruits especially with skin or seeds

      • vegetables such as carrots, cabbage, peas, dry beans

      • whole-grain, wheat, and rye breads and crackers

      • oatmeal and bran cereal

      • brown rice and wild rice

      • barley and popcorn

      • wheat germ, corn, and cornmeal

  • Drink plenty of liquids. Eight to ten 8 ­ounce glasses of fluid each day will help keep your stools soft.

  • Plan you bowel movements for the same time each day, if possible. Set aside time for sitting on the toilet or commode, preferably after a meal.

  • Avoid or Limit:

    • caffeine including coffee, tea and soda

    • milk and dairy products

    • foods high in sugar


Relief of Constipation

  • If you need a laxative, try 1-2 tablespoons of Metamucil per day, and/or a tablespoon of milk of magnesia in the morning, drink lots of water.


Still Constipated?

  • Try Magnesium Citrate. This is found over the counter at most grocery stores and pharmacies. It comes in a bottle. Drink half of a bottle at a time, and for no results in half an hour drink another half bottle. May repeat for 2 bottles in 24 hours.


Contact Us: 1-302-366-7671
Fax: 1-302-292-8119


Neurosurgical Group, P.A.

Delaware Neurosurgical Group, P.A.         774 Christiana Rd. Ste 202 Newark, DE 19713

The information provided on this website is not intended to provide medical advice. All information on this site is intended for informational purposes and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Using this website does not establish a doctor patient relationship. You should consult a qualified healthcare provider to diagnose or treat a problem or if you have questions regarding a medical condition. All medical treatment decisions must be made with your surgeon or healthcare provider. By using this site, you agree to the terms and conditions of our website disclaimer.