Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Digestive Health and Surgery

Many of us will have a surgical procedure at some point in our lifetime. This procedure might be for a nagging joint or ligament injury, a cosmetic reason or a lifethreatening issue. Whatever your reason, a large majority of us end up with painful gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms in the days immediately following surgery.

A common pre-surgery procedure is for antibiotics to be administered either orally or intravenously. Antibiotics help to prevent surgery related infections. However, they also kill a large majority of our beneficial gut bacteria. Our digestive tracts have a micro world of their own; full of bacteria and other microorganisms that are responsible for some of the most vital processes in our bodies.

Two other common roadblocks to our post surgery gastrointestinal comfort are anesthesia and iron supplements. Both are often necessary and very beneficial to the patient but can promote stools that are hard and difficult to pass post-op. To ease post-op gastrointestinal discomfort, talk to your physician about stool softeners while in the hospital. You'll also want to replenish good bacteria (probiotics) to restore the vital microbial balance in the intestinal tract.

Prior to a surgical procedure, it can be very beneficial to consult with a licenced nutrition professional (Registered Dietitian) to determine the correct type and amount of probiotics, as well as assess possible nutrient depletion caused by the stress of surgery and medications administered during and after surgery.

Please contact Registered Dietitian Staci Small M.A., R.D. at The Wellness Philosophy Inc. for more information or to schedule a digestive health consultation.