Cosmetic Surgery Tips

Can’t poop after tummy tuck

No matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to poop after tummy tuck surgery. You may be thinking that you need a laxative, but there’s no reason to keep taking them. The most common cause of constipation post-Tummy Tuck is pain medication.

Right here on Collegelearners, you are privy to a litany of relevant information on can I push to poop after tummy tuck, symptoms of muscle separation after tummy tuck, how to poop with a compression garment on and so much more. Take out time to visit our catalog for more information on similar topics.

Can’t poop after tummy tuck

A tummy tuck is surgery to remove fat and skin from your belly and to tighten the stomach muscles. It is also called an abdominoplasty. The surgery makes your belly look flatter.

Your belly will be sore and swollen for the first week after surgery. The skin on your stomach will be mostly numb for several weeks to months. Feeling will return slowly. But you may have a small area on your lower stomach that is always numb. Do not use a heating pad on your stomach while it is still numb, or you could have severe burns. It’s normal to feel tired while you are healing. It can take 5 to 6 weeks for your energy to return.

You may not be able to stand up straight when you come home. You’ll need to get up and walk every day to regain your normal movement. Between walks, move your feet and legs often.

A tummy tuck leaves a long scar that will fade with time. You also may have a small scar around your belly button.

This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Rest when you feel tired. Getting enough sleep will help you recover.
  • Try to walk each day. Start by walking a little more than you did the day before. Bit by bit, increase the amount you walk. Walking boosts blood flow and helps prevent pneumonia and constipation.
  • Avoid abdominal exercises and strenuous activities, such as bicycle riding, jogging, weight lifting, or aerobic exercise, for 6 to 8 weeks.
  • For 6 weeks, avoid lifting anything that would make you strain. This may include heavy grocery bags and milk containers, a heavy briefcase or backpack, cat litter or dog food bags, a vacuum cleaner, or a child.
  • Ask your doctor when you can drive again.
  • Most people are able to return to work about 2 to 3 weeks after surgery. It depends on the type of work you do and how you feel.
  • You may shower 24 to 48 hours after surgery, if your doctor okays it. Pat the incision dry. Do not take a bath for the first 2 weeks, or until your doctor tells you it is okay.
  • Ask your doctor when it is okay to have sex.


  • You can eat your normal diet. If your stomach is upset, try bland, low-fat foods like plain rice, broiled chicken, toast, and yogurt.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (unless your doctor tells you not to).
  • You may notice that your bowel movements are not regular right after your surgery. This is common. Try to avoid constipation and straining with bowel movements. You may want to take a fibre supplement every day. If you have not had a bowel movement after a couple of days, ask your doctor about taking a mild laxative.


  • Your doctor will tell you if and when you can restart your medicines. He or she will also give you instructions about taking any new medicines.
  • If you take aspirin or some other blood thinner, ask your doctor if and when to start taking it again. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Take pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • If you think your pain medicine is making you sick to your stomach:
    • Take your medicine after meals (unless your doctor has told you not to).
    • Ask your doctor for a different pain medicine.
  • If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.

Incision care

  • If you have strips of tape on your incision, leave the tape on for a week or until it falls off. Or follow your doctor’s instructions for removing the tape.
  • Wash the area daily with warm, soapy water, and pat it dry. Don’t use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol, which can slow healing.
  • Keep the area clean and dry. You may cover it with a gauze bandage if it weeps or rubs against clothing. Change the bandage every day if your doctor told you to do so.
  • You will probably have one or two drain tubes in place to prevent fluid from building up under the skin of your belly. Your doctor will tell you how to take care of it.

Other instructions

  • Hold a pillow over your incision when you cough or take deep breaths. This will support your belly and decrease your pain.
  • Do breathing exercises at home as instructed by your doctor. This will help prevent pneumonia.
  • You may have a tube (catheter) in your bladder for a few days after surgery. If so, your doctor will tell you how to care for the catheter.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It’s also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).
  • You have sudden chest pain and shortness of breath, or you cough up blood.
  • You have severe pain in your belly.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have pain that does not get better after you take pain medicine.
  • You have loose stitches, or your incision comes open.
  • You are bleeding from the incision.
  • You have signs of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the incision.
    • Pus draining from the incision.
    • A fever.
  • You have signs of a blood clot in your leg (called a deep vein thrombosis), such as:
    • Pain in your calf, back of the knee, thigh, or groin.
    • Redness and swelling in your leg or groin.
  • You are sick to your stomach or cannot keep fluids down.

Muscle separation or “diastasis recti” is a very common condition that I see in women post-pregnancy, and often repair as part of an abdominoplasty or “tummy tuck” procedure. But how can you tell if you have abdominal muscle separation, and what are the signs and symptoms? Read on to find out more.

I find that many, if not all women experience some degree of muscle separation post-pregnancy due to the expansion of the abdominal wall to accommodate for a growing baby. Although some women are able to function perfectly fine with a mild degree of muscle separation, others unfortunately suffer from chronic symptoms stemming from the weakened core that can only be relieved with surgical intervention.

How do I know if I have muscle separation?

You can “self-check” for abdominal muscle separation post birth by performing a basic physical assessment on yourself. This method can also be completed by your GP or physiotherapist.

  1. Lie on your back in a “sit up” position, with your legs bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Come up to a “crunch” position by raising your shoulders off the floor slightly and look down towards your tummy. Engage your abdominal muscles. Use one hand to support your head if needed.
  3. With your free hand, gently feel along the midline of your abdominal muscles, both above and below your bellybutton. Take note if you can feel any “gaps” where you can fit a finger between these muscles.
  4. If you feel a gap between your muscles where you can fit more than one finger width, you likely have a mild to moderate case of abdominal muscle separation. I regularly operate on women with 4-8cm gaps!

Depending on how far post-partum you are, this gap may start to narrow as your muscles regain their strength. This self-assessment can be undertaken regularly to track the progress of your muscle separation.

Abdominal muscle separation signs and symptoms

Diastasis recti can often be spotted as a “pooch” or bulge in the mid to lower stomach, especially when you strain or contract your abdominal muscles. Other common symptoms associated with severe muscle separation include:

  • Incontinence
  • Constipation
  • Poor posture or postural issues
  • Bloating and digestive issues
  • Lower back, pelvic or abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Pelvic floor dysfunction
  • Can result in an abdominal hernia in severe cases

Women with post-partum muscle separation may experience some or all of these symptoms over a course of time post birth.

Does a tummy tuck improve these symptoms?

With the case studies of my abdominoplasty patients, I recently contributed to a national study which was published in the American Society of Plastic Surgeon’s ‘Plastic and Reconstructive Journal’ on the functional benefits of tummy tucks. It clearly demonstrates the benefits of the procedure to reduce back pain and incontinence issues post pregnancy.

How is a muscle repair performed?

As part of an abdominoplasty procedure, muscle repair involves pulling the separated muscles back together and suturing internally along the connective tissues to hold them in place. Excess skin removal, liposuction and body sculpting will be performed at the same time as required. Functionally, re-connecting the abdominal muscles restores core function and strength, alleviating the symptoms listed above. Aesthetically, performing a muscle repair as part of a tummy tuck restores the architecture of the abdominal wall and creates a much flatter, youthful looking appearance.

Dr Nicholas Moncrieff

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