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Thread: How To Get Bowels Back To "Normal" After Surgery

  1. #1

    Question How To Get Bowels Back To "Normal" After Surgery

    I had bladder surgery on 4/1/10. The bladder seems to be healing and improving. My bowels, however, seem particularly sensitive to anesthesia; and I'm having a hell of a time getting them back to working the way they were prior to the surgery.

    Is it normal to have a hard time getting your bowels to return to what had become your "normal" after surgery. If so, how long does it generally take?

    Thanks in advance for your replies.
    "The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off." -Gloria Steinem

  2. #2
    It's always been a challenge for me, Danine. And not just bowels, but bladder too. General anesthesia seems to play hell on people with damaged spinal cords.

    As far as getting back to pre-surgery norms, the amount of time it took depended a lot on how long I was under anesthesia and in the hospital. It averaged 2-3 weeks, but took as long as a month if it was a long surgery or stay.
    It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience.

    ~Julius Caesar


  3. #3
    Hi Danine....that's been a problem for me too. For my bowels it's been as short as two weeks and as long as a month, and then still not quite right for awhile. I just use my metamucil and try to drink the required amount of water each day, it will straighten up for you.

    My biggest problem was always the bladder after having a foley in at the hospital. After the surgery last June, I had to start using vesacare, then after fiasco last fall with the three surgeries and coma, they've had to double the amount on the vesacare and I'm still not back to "normal".

  4. #4
    Thanks Hip and Smoky,

    I suspect I will just have to be patient with this. It's just frustrating that I worked so hard (probably 18 months) to develop a bowel routine that worked for me and now it's gone all to hell again...but it is improving now...just still not what I need it to be.

    I'll definitely increase the water intake.
    "The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off." -Gloria Steinem

  5. #5
    Danine, do you take any probiotics? They weren't well-known after my last surgery, but I started using them in my quest for a BP that works, and they really helped with optimizing transit time and texture.

    What about stool softeners -- adding them if you don't already use them or bumping them up if you do? (You can take 1000 mg per day.) I also discovered recently that how I divided the dosage of stool softeners made a big difference. I had been taking four small doses throughout the day, but I changed to two larger doses (same total amount) and the result was miraculous.

    I've also been hearing a lot recently about how hospitals are giving certain post-op patients gum to chew because it kick starts their GI tract and stimulates peristalsis. Perhaps chewing gum between meals might help speed up transit time?

    Finally, I don't think it would hurt you to use a stimulant in the short-term while you're normalizing. A few prunes are not only a stimulant but also high in fiber.
    Last edited by thehipcrip; 04-12-2010 at 09:40 PM.
    It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience.

    ~Julius Caesar


  6. #6
    I agree on the probiotics. I use them whenever I'm on antibiotics to to keep my bowels in order. If you can handle it, try eating a cup or two of yogurt a day. It's loaded with probiotics
    C-5/6, 7-9-2000
    Scottsdale, AZ

    Make the best out of today because yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never come. Nobody knows that better than those of us that have almost died from spinal cord injury.

  7. #7
    I would also recommend that you get moving (no pun intended) as much as you can. That is sometimes easier said than done, but activity level definitely plays a role in regulating your bowel program. Also, are you using any narcotics for pain relief? If so, they cause constipation and you may need a stool softener or stimulant until you get them out of your system.

    No promises, but generally if you have had a well established bowel program, it will come back. It just takes time.... and btw - anesthesia plays havoc on non-sci people's bowels, too. It is just a little more complicated when you have had a sci.

    CKF

  8. #8
    It's a bitch, bladder usually 3 days bowels 1/4 stick dynamite to blow out the cement and 7 days to get back to the abnormal "normal"

    get better!
    Kindly,

    The Ketamine Kitty

    All the tears, all the pain, all the rage through the night (apolgies to the rewrite) RR

    Next time I die make sure I'm gone,
    don't leave 'em nothing to work on JT

    And I ain't nothin but a dream JM

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by bollefen View Post
    It's a bitch, bladder usually 3 days bowels 1/4 stick dynamite to blow out the cement and 7 days to get back to the abnormal "normal"

    get better!
    LOL...thanks for the chuckle! I needed that!

    And thanks, HC, Ryan, and RN. I took acidophalous (sp?) until I was done with the antibiotics to prevent a yeast infection. Things still aren't back to the "abnormal normal" as Bill so eloquently mentioned, but things are improving. The biggest problem I'm having now is that they are moving at unpredictable times. I wish I could get them back on a regular schedule so that I don't have unpleasant "surprises" at unpredictable times.
    "The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off." -Gloria Steinem

  10. #10
    Try looking at your routine - are you doing the same things at the same time? Same medications? Diet? Fluids? Activity level? If you can try to get these things back to the way that you did it before, the rest may begin to follow.
    CKF

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