Resuming Bowel Movements after Anorectal Surgery

After an anorectal surgery, our physicians understand that most patients will be nervous about having a bowel movement when they get home. However, bowel movements are a normal part of life and patients can take comfort knowing that the West Valley Colon & Rectal Surgery Center physicians have this in mind when performing anorectal surgeries. 

When patients feel the urge to go, our anorectal experts remind patients not to strain. Patients should take measures to avoid constipation and eat a high-fiber diet consisting of foods such as beans, brown bread, or prune juice. We strongly recommend staying hydrated and trying an over-the-counter fiber powder that can be dissolved in a glass of water. Incorporating this diet can reduce the risk of large, hard stool that can be painful to pass. Pain medication may cause constipation as a side effect, so patients will want to make sure they are getting enough fiber each day. On the other hand, diarrhea can cause pain as well, so patients should avoid spicy foods and carbonated drinks.

Aside from diet, patients can regulate their bowel movements post-operatively with the use of Dulcolax. Patients should take 2 tablets the night they arrive home and adjust their use the following day depending on how the body has responded to the laxatives. To determine whether or not the medication is at the right dosage, patients should evaluate the firmness of the stool. If it is too loose, patients may want to take fewer laxatives and fiber additives or discontinue use completely.  Bowel movements should be soft enough to pass with minimal pain and not occur more than twice per day.

Patients can continue to use their normal toilet tissue, but if it causes pain, unscented baby wipes may be used instead. Patients can even use regular warm water to clean the area while gently cleaning with his or her fingertips for a more pain-free solution to wiping. Remember to always carefully pat dry. After a bowel movement, many patients prefer to take a sitz bath to soothe any pain or irritation. For instructions on how to properly draw a sitz bath, check out our recent blog explaining how to make one using a bathtub or a kit.

If you have any questions about passing a bowel movement after anorectal surgery, caring for your stitches, or about post-operative bleeding, please do not hesitate to call our office.

If you have any questions or wish to make an appointment, please call our office at (623) 875-7330. Thank you again for visiting our weekly blog. In future weeks, you can expect patient education, colon, and rectal educational information, and lifestyle blogs, so check back soon!

The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.