Female nurse gives a dose of insulin to diabetic senior woman during home visit.

What Are The Protective Medications Given At the Hospital?

If you had surgery, or are in the hospital, your nurse might have given you protective medications to help reduce discomfort associated with being hospitalized or with side effects that arise from taking pain medication:

  • Stool softeners or laxatives 
  • Ulcer prevention
  • Anti nausea

Stool Softeners or Laxatives

Stool softeners and laxatives, such as Colace© or Miralax©, are used to keep the bowels moving. Stool softeners help to soften stool. Laxatives cause a bowel movements to happen. These types of medications are used after surgery because anesthesia can cause your stomach and intestinal systems to be sluggish. A sluggish stomach and intestinal system leaves you feeling constipated which can be very uncomfortable. in fact, prolonged constipation can even lead to blockages of the intestines.

During your hospital stay, your nurse likely gave you the following tips:

  • Increase fiber intake by eating more fruits and vegetables
  • Drink prune juice
  • Increasing water intake
  • Encouraged you to walk

People who have prior issues with constipation may also decide, with the help of their surgeon, to these medications a day or 2 before surgery to prevent worsening constipation and further complications. Not being able to have a bowel movement in the hospital can delay your discharge home. This can be super frustrating!

Lastly, depending on your surgery, recovery, pain medication usage, you may be advised to continue to take stool softeners to help prevent constipation after you leave the hospital. 

Ulcer Prevention

Medications that prevent ulcers in the stomach or intestines are very important for patients. Hospitalizations creates internal stress which increases the amount of acid in the body. The body loses the ability to repair weaknesses in the stomach and intestinal lining with high levels of acid. This type of medication is a protective medication because it decreases the acid in the body. Almost every patient in the hospital is on an ulcer prevention medication. You may recognize any of the following:

  • Protonix
  • Pepcid
  • Prevacid
  • Tums


Many patients who have surgery or use pain medication have issues with nausea. Your nurse may give you an anti-nausea medication such as:

  • Zofran©
  • Scopolamine©
  • Phenergan©
  • Compazine©

Although these medications can be extremely helpful, some of them do have negative side effects. For example, Zofran can cause constipation. Even though it works very well as an anti-nausea medication it is important to weigh the benefits and consequences with your nurse and surgeon.

One natural way to help soothe nausea that you can add to your regimen is ginger essential oils. Your nurse can bring you a small cotton ball with ginger essential oil in a small packaging which you can inhale deeply as advised by your nurse. 

These are just a few protective medications your surgeon may prescribe that are not listed on this post. It is important to touch base with your surgeon, anesthesiologist, or nurse. If you have questions regarding any of these medications ask! Your surgeon may or may not use these specific medications for you. Make sure to discuss what could be the best plan for you. Don’t be afraid to ask your care team and your nurse any questions you might have – we’re here for you!

Disclaimer: This content or any other content found on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website.