For Patients


Constipation is common following major surgery and/or a period of hospitalisation.

Contributing factors:

  • Changes to dietary intake
  • Dehydration
  • Lack of activity
  • Pain medications

To maintain regular bowel habits you should:

  • Follow dietary instructions from your Surgeon and/or Dietician
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Avoid caffeine
  • Increase gentle activity eg walking

You may also require laxative medications especially if you are still requiring strong pain medication (panadeine forte, endone, tramadol)

We recommend taking:

Coloxyl tablets – 2 tablets taken 2-3 times a day


Lactulose – 20ml taken 2-3 times a day

These are available over the counter from your local pharmacy.
They usually need to be taken regularly.
If you get diarrhoea then reduce the dosage and frequency.
Your pharmacist can provide more specific advice.

If your bowels have still not worked after using these medications for 3-4 days then you should seek medical advice – Either contact our office or see your GP.

If your bowels are not working and you experience any of the following symptoms then you must present urgently to an emergency department for review and ask them to contact your Surgeon.

  • Severe abdominal pain/discomfort
  • Vomiting
  • Fevers/sweats/shaking