What To Know When You Can't Go: Tips for Constipation Management

Frustrated Face

Many weight loss patients will experience constipation in the first few months after surgery. Bariatric surgery patients are more at risk for constipation due to:

  • Certain medication use
  • Dehydration
  • Low intake of fiber rich foods
  • Low levels of physical activity
  • High protein intake

Many patients find that they can prevent or manage constipation by using a combination of methods. Some of these include:

  • Fluids
    • Aim for 48-64 ounces per day. 
    • Start drinking fluid immediately after waking up. 
    • Keep a water bottle with you to sip on between meals. 
  • Fiber
    • Aim for foods high in fiber to eat alongside your protein. Some examples include: berries, edamame, lentils, flax or chia seeds, and avocado.
    • Use a fiber supplement to help you reach your fiber goal. If you are not used to these products, make sure to start with a small amount and gradually work up to your target. This method will prevent worsening of constipation. My favorite fiber supplement can be purchased here (affiliate link). 
  • Fats
    • Aim for healthy fats when you have the chance. These include fatty fish, walnuts, chia or flax seeds, olives or olive oil, etc. 
  • Fitness
    • When you have been cleared to restart exercise, begin with activities you are comfortable with and slowly increase the frequency, duration, and intensity as you are able. 
  • Flora (aka bacteria)
    • Supplementation with a probiotic (healthy bacteria) can help support a healthy gut. Some of the benefits of these microorganisms include helping to break down food and supporting your immune system. 
    • Probiotics are also found in fermented foods such as yogurt, miso, kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut. 
  • Additional options: Smooth Move tea, Medications (such as Colace of Miralax)

If issues persist, make sure to talk to your doctor for additional suggestions and treatment. 

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