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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Bowel resection is surgery to remove all or parts of the small or large intestine (bowel). This is done to treat conditions such as intestinal bleeding, blockages, inflammation, or infections. It may also be done to remove large polyps (growths) or early signs of tumors in the intestines. In a bowel resection, your healthcare provider makes an incision in the abdomen. The amount of intestine removed depends on the reason why this surgery is needed. An ileostomy or colostomy, which is an opening in the abdomen to drain bowel movement into a bag, may also be made.
- Stool softeners: This medicine makes it easier for you to have a bowel movement. You may need this medicine to treat or prevent constipation.
- 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.
- Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your healthcare provider. Do not stop taking your medicine unless directed by your healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her 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.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
- Keep your wound clean and dry: 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 for more information about wound care.
- 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.
- Eat healthy foods: Choose healthy foods from all the food groups every day. Include whole-grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy, and lean meat. Ask if you need to be on a special diet.
- Drink liquids: Adults should drink about 9 to 13 cups of liquid each day. One cup is 8 ounces. Good liquids for most people include water, juice, and milk. Ask your healthcare provider how much liquid you should drink each day.
- Get plenty of rest: Rest when you need to while you heal after surgery. Slowly start to do more each day. Return to your daily activities as directed.
Contact your healthcare provider 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 or vomiting.
- You are unable to have a bowel movement.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- You feel very full and you cannot burp or vomit.
- You have problems having a bowel movement or passing gas or urine.
- You have pus or a foul-smelling odor coming from your incision.
- Your abdomen becomes tender and hard.
- Your bowel movements are black or have blood in them.
- Your vomit is green, looks like coffee grounds, or has blood in it.
- Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
- You suddenly feel lightheaded and have shortness of breath.
- You have chest pain. You may have more pain when you take a deep breath or cough. You may cough up blood.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.