After Bowel Surgery: Recovering in the Hospital and at Home
You may be in the hospital for
Right after surgery
After surgery, you’ll be taken to the recovery room (also called the postanesthesia care unit, or PACU). Here, your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing will be checked. You’ll also be given pain medication as needed. When you’re ready, you’ll be moved to a regular hospital room.
Your recovery in the hospital
Soon after surgery you’ll be urged to get up and take short walks. This helps you heal faster. Gentle movement can improve digestive function. Walking also helps your heart and lungs and can keep clots from forming in your legs. During the first few days, you’ll get nutrition through an IV tube. You may have a nasogastric tube (a tube that passes through the nose to the stomach) at first to keep your stomach empty. It can help your digestive tract heal. You also may meet with an ostomy nurse if you have a colostomy or ileostomy. He or she will teach you how to care for yourself as you heal.
Getting back to normal at home
Depending on your surgery, even mild activity can make you tired in the first few weeks or months. After a few months, you may be feeling back to normal.
Stay active. But avoid hard exercise and heavy lifting in the first several months.
You can walk, climb stairs, shower, and bathe soon after surgery. But don’t drive until your doctor says you can.
Follow all special diet instructions you are given.
When to call your doctor
Call your doctor right away if you notice:
Nausea or vomiting
Increased abdominal pain
Constipation, diarrhea, or bloating
Increased redness, swelling, drainage, or pain near the incision
Difficulty controlling bowel movements