Any type of operation on the colon is considered serious surgery. The first thing a patient usually hopes for is a successful outcome. The elation and sigh of relief after the doctor confirms that everything went according to plan are short-lived. Early in the healing process patients learn that painful gas is a part of recovery after undergoing colon surgery. While it may not be avoidable, there are things a patient can do to get rid of gas after surgery.
Keep chewing gum to a minimum. Chewing gum, according to the American Journal of Medicine, speeds the healing process after colon surgery. Studies have shown that colon surgery patients who chew gum are released from the hospital one day earlier than patients that don't. Gum helps to get the digestive tract working which encourages healing and speeds recovery. That being said, the downside to chewing gum is that there is an increased accumulation of gas because patients that chew gum swallow more air. Once patients are healed enough to be released from the hospital, stop chewing gum to prevent additional gas build up.
Drink hot liquids. Liquids such as clear broth and tea help to push the gas along the digestive tract and prevent additional gas from accumulating.
Go for a walk. After having colon surgery, patients may not be physically able to go for long walks, but any type of physical movement helps to move the gas along. The combination of the gas and the incision from the colon surgery will make it uncomfortable to get up and around; but as difficult as it is, it's one of the best ways to get the gas moving and promote healthy bowel function.
Eat small meals. After the doctor gives the go ahead to eat solid foods, keep the meals small and frequent. Frequent small meals help to stave off the accumulation of gas that occurs when there is a long gap between meals. Additionally, it's best to take it slow after having colon surgery.
Stay away from gas producing foods. Gassy foods such cabbage, nuts and high-fibre vegetables should be avoided in the initial healing stages until the gas pains have subsided. Over time, as the gas is expelled, patients can slowly reintroduce high fibre vegetables.
Physical activity is encouraged but do not engage in excessive exercise. Engage in enough activity to get the gas moving around but take it easy. Remember that although the outside scars may look like they're healing, there is a lot of healing going on inside too.
If there are concerns about the amount of gas build up and the intensity of the pain, call the physician to make sure nothing is wrong.
Tips and warnings
- Physical activity is encouraged but do not engage in excessive exercise. Engage in enough activity to get the gas moving around but take it easy. Remember that although the outside scars may look like they're healing, there is a lot of healing going on inside too.
- If there are concerns about the amount of gas build up and the intensity of the pain, call the physician to make sure nothing is wrong.