You had surgery to remove all or part of your large bowel. You may also have had a colostomy.
You may have these problems after you return home from the hospital after having large bowel surgery:
Your doctor will give you pain medicines to take at home.
Press a pillow over your incision when you need to cough or sneeze. This may lessen the pain. Ask your doctor when you should start taking the medicines you stopped before surgery.
If your staples have been removed, you will probably have Steri-Strips (small pieces of tape) placed across your incision. These pieces of tape will fall off on their own.
Take sponge baths for the first 2 days after your staples are removed. You may shower after that. Ask your doctor or nurse when you can soak in a bathtub.
Your doctor will tell you how often to change your dressing and when you may stop using one.
Do not wear tight clothing that rubs against your wound while it is healing. Use a thin gauze pad over it to protect it if needed.
If you have a colostomy, follow care instructions from your doctor or nurse. Sitting on a pillow may make you more comfortable if the surgery was in your rectum.
Eat small amounts of food 5 to 8 times a day. Do not eat 3 big meals.
Some foods may cause gas, loose stools, or constipation as you recover. Avoid foods that cause problems.
If you become sick to your stomach or have diarrhea, avoid solid foods and drink only clear fluids for a little while. Call your doctor.
If you have hard stools:
Return to work only when you feel ready to. These tips may help:
Call your doctor if:
Ascending colectomy - discharge; Descending colectomy - discharge; Transverse colectomy - discharge; Right hemicolectomy - discharge; Left hemicolectomy - discharge; Hand assisted bowel surgery - discharge; Low anterior resection - discharge; Sigmoid colectomy - discharge; Subtotal colectomy - discharge; Proctocolectomy - discharge; Colon resection - discharge; Laparoscopic colectomy - discharge; Colectomy - partial - discharge; Abdominal perineal resection - discharge
Fry RD, Mahmoud N, Maron DJ, Ross HM, Rombeau J. Coln and rectum. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 50.
Updated by: Robert A. Cowles, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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