One of the main complaints after a tummy tuck is constipation, which can put unnecessary strain on the abdominal muscles that are already tender … ouch! To help prevent constipation, it's important to stay hydrated and stick to high-fiber foods. Fiber-rich foods make it easier for the bowels to empty.
Supplements, stool softeners, and laxatives can all help – but you don't want your body to become reliant on any (or all) of them. Prevention is key.
After your tummy tuck surgery, fluids and fiber are vital to recovery, but sometimes that's not enough. Drinking plenty of water is also crucial to prevent dehydration and nausea.
Avoid eating foods that cause constipation
Avoid eating foods that cause constipation. Some types of diets, including those high in meat and cheese, can cause constipation. The more you eat, the slower your bowel movements will be.
To minimize constipation, eat small, frequent meals throughout the day. Physical activity is also key – as soon as your surgeon gives you the go ahead. Walking and cycling can help you maintain a regular bowel movement. It is important to follow your surgeon's instructions after surgery instead of advice you find on Facebook or on a blog. Surgeon's orders trump all.
During the recovery period, avoid fatty, fried foods. Instead of red meat, try nuts, tofu, and beans to get your protein. Red meat is high in saturated fat and contributes to constipation. Whole grains are good sources of fiber and essential vitamins.
Before and after you undergo a tummy tuck, it is important to stay hydrated. Dehydration can lead to constipation.
After your surgery, a stool softener may be prescribed by your surgeon along with pain medication. Be sure to follow your surgeon's advice and do not take over-the-counter products to relieve constipation unless your surgeon directs you to. These may be ineffective, or too hard on your body.
Aside from drinking plenty of water, a diet high in protein is important for a successful recovery after a tummy tuck. Protein and vegetables are particularly important during the first few weeks after your surgery.
Foods that help relieve constipation
Every body is different, so don't think you can just eat a handful of raspberries and poop is going to magically happen for you. However, there are some foods that are known to help prevent and relieve constipation in most people:
Foods high in water content or in fiber will help things move along better than foods like meat and cheese.
Best constipation remedies after surgery
Some tricks that have worked for me personally include lactulose (in the U.S. you may need a prescription but you can get it over the counter for a few bucks in Mexico), or warm prune juice with butter.
I had a really bad experience with a hospitalization due to constipation, including but not limited to several enemas (including a soap enema?!), and nothing worked. I posted on Facebook, desperate for any remedy at all that would help provide some relief. One of my friends said their grandpa swore by warm prune juice and butter.
Lo and behold, 8 ounces of warm prune juice and a pat of melted butter did the trick. If you can, eat prunes and drink prune juice before it gets to the point where you're desperate enough to have to drink warm prune juice and butter… but if it comes down to it, it works every time!
I also wrote a blog post about relieving constipation after weight loss surgery. Even if you did not undergo WLS, the remedies work just the same. 🙂