Bowel Resection

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Bowel Resection (Aftercare Instructions) Care Guide

  • Bowel resection is surgery to remove all or parts of the small or large intestine (bowel). This is done to treat conditions that affect the intestines, such as bleeding, blockages, inflammation (swelling), or infections. It may also be done to remove large polyps (growths) or early signs of tumors in the intestines. The intestines are part of the gastrointestinal (GI) system where food is digested (broken down). The small intestine is the tube that runs from the stomach to the colon (large intestine). It is made up of the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum. The colon is the long tube that connects the small bowel with the anus. The colon absorbs water from digested foods and turns the digested food into stool (bowel movements).
    Picture of a normal digestive system


  • In a bowel resection, your caregiver makes an incision (cut) in the abdomen (stomach). The amount of bowel removed depends on the reason why this surgery is needed. An ileostomy or colostomy, which is an opening in the abdomen to drain stool into a bag, may also be made. With bowel resection, problems of the small and large intestines may be treated, and their symptoms relieved.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Take your medicine as directed:

Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not working as expected. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why you take them. Take the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists.

  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.

  • Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.

    • Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.

    • Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.

    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.

  • Blood thinners: Blood thinners are medicines that help prevent blood clots from forming. Clots can cause strokes, heart attacks, and death. Blood thinners make it more likely for you to bleed or bruise. If you are taking a blood thinner:

    • Watch for bleeding from your gums or nose. Watch for blood in your urine and bowel movements. Use a soft washcloth on your skin and a soft toothbrush on your teeth. This can keep your skin and gums from bleeding. If you shave, use an electric shaver. Do not play contact sports, such as football.

    • Be aware of what medicines you take. Many medicines cannot be used when taking medicine to thin your blood. Tell your dentist and other caregivers that you take blood-thinning medicine. Wear or carry medical alert information that says you are taking this medicine.

    • Take this medicine exactly as your caregiver tells you. Tell your caregiver right away if you forget to take the medicine, or if you take too much. You may need to have regular blood tests while on this medicine. Your caregiver uses these tests to decide how much medicine is right for you.

    • Talk to your caregiver about your diet. This medicine works best when you eat about the same amount of vitamin K every day. Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables and other foods, such as cooked peas and kiwifruit.

  • Stool softeners: This medicine makes it easier for you to have a bowel movement. You may need this medicine to treat or prevent constipation.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

  • You may need to have samples of your blood taken for tests.

Prevent constipation:

High-fiber foods, extra liquids, and regular exercise can help you prevent constipation. Examples of high-fiber foods are fruit and bran. Prune juice and water are good liquids to drink. Regular exercise helps your digestive system work. You may also be told to take over-the-counter fiber and stool softener medicines. Take these items as directed.

Eat healthy foods:

Choose healthy foods from all the food groups every day. Include whole-grain bread, cereal, rice, and pasta. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, including dark green and orange vegetables. Include dairy products such as low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese. Choose protein sources, such as lean beef and chicken, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts. Ask how many servings of fats, oils, and sweets you should have each day, and if you need to be on a special diet.

Drinking liquids:

Adults should drink about 9 to 13 cups of liquid each day. One cup is 8 ounces. Good choices of liquids for most people include water, juice, and milk. Coffee, soup, and fruit may be counted in your daily liquid amount. Ask your caregiver how much liquid you should drink each day.

Rest when you need to while you heal after surgery.

Slowly start to do more each day. Return to your daily activities as directed.

Wound care:

When you are allowed to bathe or shower, carefully wash the incision with soap and water. Afterwards, put on clean, new bandages. Change your bandages any time they get wet or dirty. Ask your caregivers for more information about wound care.

CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:

  • You have a feeling of being too full or bloated.

  • You have a fever.

  • You have chills, a cough, or feel weak and achy.

  • You have nausea (upset stomach) or vomiting (throwing up).

  • You are unable to have a BM.

  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery, condition, or care.

SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:

  • You feel very full and you cannot burp or vomit (throw up).

  • You have problems having a bowel movement or passing flatus (gas) or urine.

  • You have pus or a foul-smelling odor coming from your incision.

  • You have severe chest or shoulder pain all of a sudden.

  • Your abdomen becomes tender and hard.

  • Your stools are black or have blood in them.

  • Your vomit is greenish in color, looks like coffee grounds, or has blood in it.

  • You have chest pain or trouble breathing that is getting worse over time.

  • You suddenly feel lightheaded and have trouble breathing.

  • You have new and sudden chest pain. You may have more pain when you take deep breaths or cough. You may cough up blood.

  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.

Copyright © 2012. Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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