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Why You Might Experience Constipation and Diarrhea after Bariatric Surgery Procedures

If you’ve ever been through bariatric surgery, you know it’s a significant life change. You’ll have to deal with many physical and emotional side effects, which are not widely discussed. One issue that many people report after their surgeries is frequent diarrhea or constipation—or both! Did you know how your diet can affect your health? For example, bariatric surgery can affect your ability to maintain bowel movements. Many patients can experience constipation and diarrhea, causing discomfort and frustration. We’re here to help shed some light on this common post-surgery experience so you can confidently approach it.


One of the top complaints of people after having bariatric surgery is experiencing constipation or diarrhea.

Bariatric surgery will affect your bowels, as they are part of your gastrointestinal tract. The bowel is a long tube connecting your mouth to your anus, where food is digested, absorbed, and eliminated from the body. In most cases, there are no changes made to this tube during weight loss surgery, but it can still be affected by the procedure. This can be one of the reasons you have hit a stall in losing weight after surgery.

Many patients report that they feel bloated and gassy. Some say they experience pain during a bowel movement, which can be pretty painful. You may notice that you have difficulty going to the bathroom due to your slow-moving bowels, or you may see that you go frequently but only pass small amounts of stool each time (and/or watery stools).

This article will discuss why this happens, what causes it, and what treatments are available for these issues.

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What are constipation and diarrhea?

Constipation is defined as having fewer than three bowel movements in a week. Various things, including dehydration, lack of fiber in your diet, or insufficient exercise, can cause it.

Sick woman with hands on stomach suffering from constipation

Diarrhea is defined as having more than three watery bowel movements in a day. Various things, including food poisoning, viruses, or certain medications, can also cause it.

Both of these conditions may also be referred to as functional bowel disorders—i.e., problems with regular bowel movements that aren’t caused by an underlying disease. There’s no single cause for active GI symptoms like constipation or diarrhea after bariatric surgery; they result from multiple factors working together simultaneously.

There are many reasons why people who have had bariatric surgery experience constipation or diarrhea. One of the biggest reasons is that they do not drink enough water or fluids during the day. If you are not drinking enough water, your body can’t function properly and eliminates things like stool too slowly. This could lead to constipation and/or diarrhea because your body is trying to get rid of these undigested foods from your digestive tract before they cause further damage, but there are ways to manage these symptoms so you can get on with your life. Here’s a quick overview of the most common causes of constipation and diarrhea after bariatric surgery, plus some tips for treating them.

What causes constipation and diarrhea after bariatric surgery?

There are a few reasons why you might experience these digestive issues after bariatric surgery. First, your surgery may have changed how your body absorbs nutrients, which can lead to diarrhea. Second, you may be taking medication that can cause constipation or diarrhea as a side effect. Third, you may eat less fiber than you need, leading to constipation. Fourth, you may drink less water which is the most common cause leading to constipation and infrequent bowel movements. Finally, suppose your medications were not prescribed by a doctor experienced in weight loss surgery. In that case, they may not be designed for someone who has had weight loss surgery and could lead to unintended consequences like constipation or diarrhea.

We must understand how the body absorbs nutrients and fluids to understand why constipation and diarrhea occur after bariatric surgery. Your digestive system is an intricate, fine-tuned machine that breaks down food into digestible molecules that can be absorbed into your bloodstream or excreted out of the body. After bariatric surgery, your intestines are shortened and narrowed, significantly reducing how much food you can eat at once. As a result, it slows down your body’s ability to absorb nutrients because there is less room for food to sit in your stomach long enough for it to get broken down by enzymes into smaller particles so they can pass through tiny pores called villi on the lining of your small intestine.

Some medications can cause constipation or diarrhea

The medications used after bariatric surgery may also be responsible for constipation and diarrhea symptoms as they disrupt regular muscle contractions within the colon (this happens because nerves that control these types of contractions were cut during surgery). Drugs like lubiprostone (Amitiza) work by stimulating these muscles, so more fluid gets released from them—this helps soften stool before it passes through the colon (the large intestine). Some drugs are known as prokinetic agents: They also stimulate secretions from glands inside this part! They’re instrumental if you’re having trouble getting rid of gas buildups inside yourself after eating certain foods—like beans!

All of these changes can cause constipation and diarrhea symptoms. Some people will only experience one or the other, while others may experience both at different times. As a general rule, it’s best to try to avoid trying new foods right after surgery, as they could intensify existing symptoms or cause new ones!

What treatments are available for better bowel movements after bariatric surgery?

A few different things can be done to help with post-operative constipation and diarrhea. First, it is vital to ensure you are drinking enough fluids. You should drink at least 64 ounces of water per day. Second, you should make sure that you are eating high-fiber foods. This includes fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Third, you may need to take a stool softener or laxative. Fourth, exercising regularly for at least 30 minutes daily would be best. This can help to stimulate your bowel movement. Fifth, you should avoid constipating foods such as dairy products, processed foods, and red meat. Sixth, you should ensure you are taking your vitamins and minerals.

With constipation and diarrhea, there are several options for treatment. These include:

  • Laxatives
  • EnemasConstipation relief. foods that help relieve constipation. healthy nutrition rules.
  • Probiotics (healthy bacteria)
  • Fiber supplements, such as Metamucil or Citrucel
  • A high-fiber diet (if you are not already on one) includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains like oats, brown rice, or quinoa.
    Also, limit processed foods like white bread, pasta, and pastries since they have little dietary fiber. Include plenty of water in your daily routine – eight glasses per day is recommended by most doctors – to help prevent dehydration which can lead to constipation and diarrhea. Finally, regular exercise can help keep the bowels moving smoothly!

In the meantime, you may experience gas and bloat due to increased fiber intake. This is normal; try to be patient as your body adjusts. Drink plenty of water and other clear beverages, but avoid juices and sweetened drinks. Try eating at least five servings of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains daily. If

you are experiencing chronic diarrhea, you must talk to your healthcare provider. They can help determine the cause of the problem and recommend the best treatment for your health.

It’s essential to get plenty of fiber in your diet. Fiber is the part of plants that our bodies cannot digest, but it can help prevent constipation and lower cholesterol levels. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water; insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water. Both types are found naturally in many foods, including fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains.

Tips for preventing constipation and diarrhea after bariatric surgery

As you recover from bariatric surgery, you must know the signs and symptoms of constipation and diarrhea. While these conditions are common after bariatric surgery, they can be managed with proper monitoring, diet, and exercise. If you experience constipation or diarrhea after bariatric surgery, here are some tips for managing them:

  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Plenty of water throughout the day (eight glasses a day)
  • Exercise regularly—This keeps your digestive system moving along smoothly while also lowering stress levels in your body

A healthy meal with fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins and water to help prevent constipation and diarrhea

So, if you’re one of the many people who experience constipation and diarrhea after bariatric surgery, know that it’s familiar and there are ways to prevent it. If your doctor has prescribed laxatives or other medications for this condition, make sure that you follow their instructions carefully. Also, remember that these symptoms should improve over time as your body adjusts to its new size and weight. But if they don’t improve within six months of surgery—or if they get worse and you have severe pain—it might be time to talk with your healthcare provider to see a specialist about whether other treatments are available for you.


You can always find support in theBe Slim Bariatrics’ Facebook Group. If you need help, please reach out here so we can help! There is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing weight, weight-related health problems, and body image. You can find what works best for you by experimenting with different methods until you find something that sticks.

Reviewed by Dr. Mariana

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