Constipation after hysterectomy – Struggling with the first stool?

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What to do about constipation after hysterectomy surgery?

constipation after hysterectomy
What helps for constipation after hysterectomy?

Complaints like bowel problems, constipation, bloating, irregular bowel movements, and cramping are common in women after a hysterectomy.

Post-hysterectomy constipation mostly resolves itself within days or weeks of the surgery, but there are also women who suffer from long-term bowel complications.

What causes constipation and gas after a hysterectomy?

All of the following can lead to post-operative constipation.

  • Anesthetics
  • Narcotic pain medication
  • Immobility
  • Reduced food and fluid intake

Anesthetics not only put you to sleep but also paralyze your bowels during surgery.

Before and after surgery, you may have had minimal to eat and drink, and this may delay the start of normal bowel movements. Keep in mind lying in your bed all day is something to avoid if you want to get your bowels moving again.

How to avoid constipation after hysterectomy?

So, what should you do to get those bowels going after surgery?

1. You can eat normally after your hysterectomy once clear liquids are tolerated. This is sometimes difficult if you are in pain or vomiting. But you should try, even if it is small, frequent portions. Sometimes, starting with soft foods like soups, puddings, applesauce, and tender meat is better until you have your first bowel movement.
2. You need to drink enough fluids after the operation as they will help to soften the stools.
3. Get out of bed and start walking as soon as you can. This will not only reduce the risk of constipation but also prevent blood clots.

Treating constipation after hysterectomy.

When women do get constipated postoperatively, they are usually treated with fiber supplements (Metamucil, Citrucel, Fiber-Lax) and stool softeners (Colace).

Sometimes, women involuntarily hold their stool because they are afraid that straining will cause stress on the wound and the incision may open. If this is the case, stool may build up in the rectum and become very dry and hard. Then, having a bowel movement can be difficult and painful. In this case, a laxative suppository may help to get rid of this plug and empty the rectum.

Use laxatives with care, as they are not all the same. Some osmotic laxatives draw water from the colon’s surrounding tissues to soften the stool. These are often used for women after hysterectomy surgery. Well-known are Milk of Magnesia or MOM, Kristalose, and Miralax.


There are also stimulant laxatives that, as the name suggests, stimulate the inner lining of the bowel and can cause painful bowel contractions and diarrhea. A few examples include Senokot, Correctol, and Dulcolax.

Before using any type of laxative after gynecological surgery, always ask your surgeon first what they recommend in your situation. Often, a woman can continue using a stool softener until her wounds are completely healed.

You can find a list of 29 natural remedies for constipation after hysterectomy at the website of the Hysterectomy

Post hysterectomy diet recommendations.

After you leave the hospital, adding plenty of fiber to your diet will reduce the risk of bowel problems like constipation after hysterectomy.

Fiber helps because it is not digested or absorbed, this means that it stays in the intestine where it absorbs water, aids digestion, and regulates the consistency of stool.

Foods rich in fiber include:

• Fruits and juices
• Vegetables cooked or raw
• Legumes
• Whole wheat bread, pasta, and flour
• Rice
• Nuts

See a detailed list of fiber-rich foods.

Reviewed by: Kimberly Langdon M.D. (OB/GYN)
Date reviewed: 17/3/2019

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  1. I had full hysterectomy 3 weeks ago keyhole at first, then they damaged my bladder,
    so I had the big cut to. Also got 2 stents in.
    Catheter in 2 half weeks followed by a cystagram.
    2 lots off infections.
    I’ve been through hell !
    Going to toilet is massive for me, taken me 2 weeks and now struggle every 3 days. I’m on everything from doctor given me medication wise to help soften, to eaten fruit and vegetables everyday.
    prune juice.
    Nothing working ! So much in pain.
    Pls give me some advice.
    Thank you

    1. Susan, I am sorry you must go through such an ordeal after the operation. You say you are in a lot of pain. So if you take painkillers, you should know they can worsen constipation. It is still very soon after the operation, and you are still in the recovery phase. Try to walk a little more each day, this will help your bowels move. For breakfast eat two prunes and high-bran cereals. You can also try Magnesium vitamins, kiwis and smooth move tea (available in health food shops).

  2. I had my hysterectomy 6 weeks ago, and having constipation issues was my big problem. I was eating right, I was drinking enough water and I even stopped my pain medication because being constipated was one of the side effects. I took a couple of stool softeners and nothing… a friend of mine offered some homeopathic pills to relieve my constipation and that was the only thing that helped. Please do not stop taking your pain medication as I found out it is also an anti-inflammatory, I was miserable the whole first two weeks because I didn’t want to be constipated. Call your doctor, find a homeopathy doctor in your area that can help you. Eat right, drink plenty of water and you should be okay. My thoughts and prayers are with every woman going through this. 🙂

    1. Thank you, I just had my surgery Tues you said everything I was going to do. I slowed down on pain meds to help with constipation and started eating more fruits & Veg. I’ll call my Dr in the morning. Again, thanks

    2. This is for women who had a hysterectomy. I was suffering from constipation after I had my hysterectomy I took stool softeners, enemas, drank detox tea nothing worked until I remembered what my mom use to tell me when I was young drink a glass of prune juice before you go to bed well baby it woke me up running to the toilet. Thanks, Ma. I feel so much better. PRUNE JUICE

  3. I had a full hysterectomy three days ago, and haven’t pooped in five. I’m taking Colace 3x a day and am drinking my third Miralax cocktail today. I’m passing gas, but no poop. I’ve tried to eat things that usually make me go … chili, ice cream, etc. Any ideas?!!

    1. It may very well be that it is time to consider speaking to your MD about a rx strength laxative. My wife had similar symptoms but she had polyps and adhesions removed, creating scab like surfaces thus slowing the process even more than usual. She is taking an rx laxative and it is starting to really help. Don’t wait too long to get help.

  4. I’m 23 months out from TAHBSO and still struggling with constipation. I have been taking Colace x2 daily since my surgery, Senokot daily since 3 months post-op, and Miralax x2 daily for the past 8 months.

    1. I had a hysterectomy 2 years ago and suffering with constipation I be in so much pain I wish it would stop I regret my hysterectomy

  5. MiraLax helped me a lot. I was given two months worth of colace to soften my stools but that alone did not help. Once I started taking the MiraLax along with the Colace ( pardon the pun) it literally came out in no time within just a few minutes. Therefore, I would only take it when you are at home and can make it to the bathroom in no time.

    1. I had surgery 5 days ago and I have taken everything I’ve seen listed and nothing, the pain is really uncomfortable please can someone give me some ideas

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