After surgery, your caregivers will frequently ask whether you have passed gas. This is because passing gas is a sign that your bowels are returning to normal. You may not have a bowel movement for four to five days following surgery.
Woman’s offers the following helpful tips for returning to normal bowel function.
As your bowel function returns to normal, your diet will change from only liquids to soft foods. To help with any nausea you may experience due to sluggish bowels:
For patients who did not have a bladder or urological procedure, the following exercises may help you to pass gas:
Gently suck your belly in as if you are trying to zip up pants that no longer fit. Do not hold your breath. Relax. Repeat 5 times.
Lie on your back with your knees bent (may also be done sitting). Rock your pelvis back and forth using your stomach and buttock muscles. Do not hold your breath. Repeat 5 times.
Bridge and Twist
Lie on your back with your knees bent. Tighten your buttock and stomach muscles and raise your hips a few inches off the bed. Hold this position and twist to the left and then twist to the right. Lower your buttocks back to the bed and relax.
Massage your bowel by making small circles with your fingers on the surface of your belly, along the bowel. Always move from the right side to the left side. Use two fingers to press down gently into the belly as you circle around. This massage is most helpful if done while lying on your left side.
Once you return home, you will want to continue on your journey toward complete bowel function. You can help avoid constipation with the following tips:
- Drink plenty of liquids; eat lots of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Drink warm liquids to help your bowels move.
- You may take a laxative or stool softener if you need it.
- Avoid gas-producing foods such as asparagus, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, prunes, pears and beans.
- Perform the recommended exercises to help you pass gas.