Exercise and Wellness Public Health

Bariatric Surgery and Bowel Habits: Tips for a Smooth Transition

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Changes in your bowel habits are very common following bariatric surgery. The dramatic change in your stomach’s anatomy causes several changes, such as decreased hunger and increased fullness. It can also cause uncomfortable side effects, such as constipation, diarrhea and nausea. We’re here with expert tips to help you manage post-bariatric bowel movement changes with ease.

Get Enough Fiber

Fiber helps keep your bowel movements regular and prevents constipation. Even though your new diet is primarily focused on high-protein foods following weight loss surgery, your consumption of high-fiber food should also be prioritized. High-fiber, water-rich foods help you feel fuller, longer. Men should aim for 35 grams of fiber daily, and women need at least 25 grams. A few foods high in fiber include asparagus, avocados, broccoli and even raspberries.

You can also take fiber supplements as needed to help you get your recommended fiber intake every day.

In contrast to constipation, your body might be adjusting to getting more fiber than it’s used to, which can cause diarrhea. Work with your doctor to find the balance that works for you as your body adjusts to the changes at its own pace.

Stay Well-Hydrated

Dehydration is a common cause of constipation and other potentially serious health complications. Ensuring you stay hydrated is key to transitioning to your changing bowel habits after your surgery.

Water is the healthiest way to stay hydrated and soften your stool — at least 64 ounces per day will do the trick. You most likely won’t need electrolyte-based (or sports) drinks unless you’re exercising for more than 40 to 60 minutes at a time.

Supplement With What Your Body Needs

After weight loss surgery, you’ll need to take vitamin supplements every day to make sure you’re getting enough of all the nutrients you need. After some bariatric procedures like the gastric bypass, food skips the part of the intestine that best absorbs minerals such as calcium and iron. Therefore, patients need to take supplements to maintain the right levels of what their bodies need. There are bariatric multivitamins specifically for people who have had weight loss surgery.

Talk to your doctor about which supplements will best help relieve any bowel symptoms you may be experiencing.

Live Whole and Get Moving

After your operation, you should be able to return to your normal level of physical activity right away. However, if you’re feeling nauseated or weak from the changes to your diet, you may not be moving as much as you should. This can have a negative effect on your bowel movements, causing them to be more sluggish. As soon as you’re able to get moving at a pace that feels right, you’ll hopefully notice more regularity in other areas too.

Start by taking short walks that you gradually increase as you feel more comfortable, and eventually develop an exercise routine that includes cardio and strength training.

Stay Connected With Your Health Care Team

As your experts in bariatric care, we know that weight loss surgery is more than just a medical procedure — it’s a huge undertaking that requires commitment and a team who cares. It also offers you the chance for a fresh start and a new you. We’ll be by your side for the whole journey, from your first pre-op consultation to helping to guide you as you begin your new life post-surgery.

Learn more about how we can help you live your best life. You deserve to feel whole.

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