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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.

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