Laxatives Safe After Appendectomy?

can I take laxative after appendectomy

Constipation is a common side effect of surgery, and it can be caused by several factors, including pain medication, dietary changes, and lack of movement. After an appendectomy, it is normal to experience constipation, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. While there is no specific diet or lifestyle change required after an appendectomy, it is important to take care of your incisions and get adequate rest. To prevent constipation, drinking plenty of water and walking daily are recommended. If constipation occurs, a mild laxative may be taken for a few days, and if that doesn't work, a stronger laxative or enema may be needed.

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Should I take laxatives after an appendectomy? Doctors recommend taking a mild laxative for the first few days after an appendectomy if you have not had a bowel movement after a few days.
What are the side effects of an appendectomy? Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, constipation, gas, and headaches.
What causes constipation after an appendectomy? Constipation can be caused by a combination of side effects from medication, dietary changes, and lack of exercise.
How can I prevent constipation after an appendectomy? Drink plenty of fluids, avoid caffeine, add fiber to your diet, and get moving as soon as your doctor clears you for physical activity.
What are some treatments for constipation after an appendectomy? Doctors recommend taking stool softeners or laxatives, and if those don't work, suppositories may help.


Constipation is a common side effect of surgery, and it can add to the discomfort of the healing process. It is often caused by pain medications, anaesthesia, and reduced mobility following the procedure.

If over-the-counter laxatives are ineffective, doctors may prescribe prescription drugs that draw water into the intestines to stimulate a bowel movement, such as Linaclotide (Linzess) or lubiprostone (Amitiza). In more severe cases, stimulant laxatives, suppositories, or enemas may be needed to produce a bowel movement.

It is important to drink plenty of fluids and eat fibre-rich foods to prevent and treat constipation. Adults consuming a daily diet of 2,000 calories should aim for 25 grams of fibre per day. High-fibre foods include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

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Constipation is a common side effect of surgery

Other factors that can contribute to post-surgical constipation include an inflammatory stimulus, such as trauma or infection, an electrolyte, fluid, or glucose imbalance, and prolonged inactivity. Changes to diet, especially insufficient fiber, can also play a role. A lack of physical activity after surgery slows down the digestive system and can lead to constipation.

The symptoms of constipation after surgery include having fewer than three bowel movements a week, needing to strain during bowel movements, bloating, abdominal or rectal pain, and feeling an incomplete emptying after bowel movements.

To manage constipation after surgery, it is recommended to make lifestyle and dietary changes. Increasing physical activity, even just walking, can help stimulate bowel movements and reduce constipation. Adjusting medication, such as limiting the use of narcotics and opting for alternative pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can also help.

It is also important to focus on dietary changes, such as increasing fluid intake and consuming high-fiber foods. Stool softeners and fiber laxatives, such as psyllium, can be effective treatments for constipation after surgery.

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Dehydration makes constipation more likely

Dehydration is a major cause of constipation. When the body is dehydrated, the large intestine absorbs water from food waste, resulting in hard stools that are difficult to pass. This can lead to constipation, which is characterised by infrequent bowel movements, straining, pain, bloating, and a feeling of incomplete evacuation.

To prevent dehydration, it is important to drink plenty of fluids, especially water, as it plays a crucial role in digestion. Water keeps food moving through the intestines and ensures that they remain smooth and flexible. The recommended fluid intake is 9 cups per day for women and 13 cups per day for men, on average. However, individual needs may vary based on activity level, location, weight, and other health factors.

In addition to dehydration, constipation after surgery can be caused by narcotic pain relievers, inflammatory stimuli, electrolyte or fluid imbalances, inactivity, and dietary changes. To manage constipation, lifestyle and dietary changes can be beneficial. Increasing physical activity, adjusting medication, and consuming a high-fibre diet are recommended.

It is always advisable to consult a doctor for guidance on managing constipation, especially if it persists or is accompanied by other symptoms.

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Exercise helps prevent constipation

Constipation is a common side effect of surgery, and appendectomy is no exception. Narcotic pain relievers, such as the commonly prescribed post-appendectomy medication Norco, often cause opioid-induced constipation. Other factors that may contribute to constipation after surgery include inflammatory stimuli, fluid or electrolyte imbalances, dietary changes, and prolonged inactivity.

Exercise is a great way to prevent constipation, as it lowers the time it takes for food to move through the large intestine. This limits the amount of water absorbed from the stool, making it easier to pass. Additionally, aerobic exercise increases your breathing and heart rate, stimulating the natural contractions of the muscles in your intestines, which helps move stools out quickly.

  • Cardio exercises that get your blood pumping, such as running, swimming, cycling, or even dancing, are a great way to increase your breathing and heart rate, stimulating your bowels.
  • Regular walking can be very beneficial. Even a brisk 30-minute walk a few times a week can do wonders for your digestive system.
  • Yoga is another excellent way to get things moving. Certain yoga poses, such as those involving sustained twisting of the torso or crunching of the stomach muscles, help massage the digestive tract and move stool through the intestines.
  • Pelvic floor exercises can help strengthen the muscles around your pelvis, including your bladder and bowel. These muscles then help push the stool through your colon more easily.
  • Even simple stretching may help ease constipation, as it stimulates the muscles in your intestines.

It is always a good idea to consult with your doctor before starting any new exercise regimen, especially if you are recovering from surgery. They can advise you on the best course of action to prevent constipation and ensure a safe recovery.

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Appendectomy patients are advised to walk daily

Following an appendectomy, patients are advised to walk daily as part of their recovery process. Walking and other light physical activities can help improve circulation and promote healing. It is important to avoid strenuous activities and heavy lifting during the initial stages of recovery to prevent complications and allow the body to heal fully.

  • Improved Circulation: Walking helps to increase blood flow throughout the body, including the surgical site. This improved circulation can aid in the healing process and reduce the risk of blood clots.
  • Promotion of Healing: Light physical activity, such as walking, can promote the body's natural healing process. It stimulates blood flow, which delivers oxygen and nutrients to the surgical site, supporting the repair of tissues and organs affected by the surgery.
  • Prevention of Complications: Staying active through walking can help prevent post-surgical complications such as blood clots and constipation. Constipation is a common side effect of pain medications and prolonged inactivity after surgery. By walking daily, patients can reduce their risk of developing constipation and other digestive issues.
  • Gradual Increase in Activity: Walking is a gentle and low-impact form of exercise that allows patients to gradually increase their activity levels. Starting with short walks several times a day and gradually increasing the duration and intensity helps patients ease back into physical activity without overexerting themselves.
  • Overall Well-being: Walking can also improve patients' overall well-being during the recovery period. It can help combat fatigue, a common symptom after surgery, and improve cardiovascular health. Additionally, walking can provide a sense of normalcy and positively impact patients' mental and emotional health.

It is important to follow the advice of your healthcare provider regarding the appropriate level of physical activity and the timeline for resuming different activities. While walking is recommended, patients should avoid over-exerting themselves and listen to their bodies. Rest is also crucial during the recovery process, and patients should increase their activity levels gradually.

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Frequently asked questions

Yes, you can take laxatives after an appendectomy. In fact, constipation is a common side effect of surgery, so your doctor may recommend a mild laxative for the first few days after your operation.

If you are experiencing constipation after an appendectomy, you could try a stool softener, or increase your water intake. Drinking at least four glasses of water per day can help prevent constipation.

Constipation after an appendectomy can be caused by several factors, including narcotic pain relievers, an inflammatory response, an electrolyte, fluid or glucose imbalance, inactivity, and changes to your diet.

Symptoms of constipation include having fewer than three bowel movements a week, experiencing a sudden decrease in bowel movements, needing to strain during bowel movements, bloating or increased gas, abdominal or rectal pain, and feeling an incomplete emptying after bowel movements.

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