Constipation is common after medical and dental procedures and in non-gastrointestinal procedures is usually attributable to narcotic pain medication. After dental procedures, possible causes of constipation in patients who are not taking narcotic pain medication can included changes in diet, fluid intake, and activity level. Please speak with your physician, who can help you with your concern. There are many over the counter medications designed to alleviate constipation. However, there are several safe and easy lifestyle changes that will do more to improve constipation than any medication. Any patient suffering from constipation should: 1) walk frequently and spend the majority of the day out of bed, 2) be sure to consume an adequate amount of non-caffeinated fluids daily (at least 9-12 cups of fluid daily), and 3) increase dietary fiber with either fruits, vegetables, or soluble fiber supplements (although natural fiber in fruits, vegetables, and juices work better. Some studies have shown that the action of chewing increases bowel activity, and some surgeons
recommend chewing gum after surgery for this reason, however after dental surgery you should confer with you dentist
to make sure that chewing gum is ok. There are many over the counter medications designed to treat constipation, which fall into four categories: fiber supplements, stool softeners, stimulant laxatives, and enemas. I listed these medications in terms of how gentle and well tolerated they tend to be. Avoid using stimulant laxatives while also increasing fluid intake, fiber intake, and possibly a stool softener. Otherwise, they can cause cramping and discomfort. Please consult with your physician to determine whether you are on any medications that cause constipation, and whether any offending medications can be decreased if stopped. Be sure to make an appointment with your primary care doctor
or go to the nearest hospital if your constipation lasts longer than three weeks, is severe, or is associated with any other concerning features such as blood on the toilet paper, weight loss, fevers, or weakness.