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Bowel Management after Bariatric Surgery

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Aug 31, 2022.

Bowel management after bariatric surgery includes medicines, liquids, and activity to help prevent constipation. Constipation is when you have hard, dry bowel movements, or you go longer than usual between bowel movements. Constipation may be caused by pain medicines, lack of physical activity, or not enough water or high-fiber foods.


Seek care immediately if:

  • Your bowel movements are black or bloody.
  • You have a fever and your abdomen is firm, larger than usual, and painful.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • Your constipation gets worse.
  • You stop passing gas.
  • You start vomiting.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


  • Bowel movement softener helps make your bowel movement softer and easier to pass.
  • Laxatives help relax and loosen your intestines to help you have a bowel movement.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell your provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Drink liquids as directed:

You may need to drink at least 64 ounces of liquids each day to prevent dehydration. Water is the best liquid to drink. Sip liquids throughout the day rather than drinking a large amount at one time. Ask your dietitian or healthcare provider which liquids to drink, and how much to drink each day.

Do activity as directed:

Take short walks often throughout the day. Regular physical activity helps stimulate your intestines. Ask your healthcare provider about the best exercise plan for you.

Follow up with your doctor as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.