If you had surgery, or are in the hospital, your nurse might administer the following medications to help reduce discomforts associated with having surgery or with unfavorable symptoms that arise from pain-relief medication administration:
- Stool softeners and stimulant laxative
- Acid Reducers
Stool Softeners & Stimulant Laxatives
Stool softeners and gentle stimulant laxatives such as Miralax are used to help soften stool, or to induce a bowel movement in 1-3 days. This medication class is often used after surgery because anesthesia can sometimes cause your GI system to wake up very slowly. Feeling constipated can be very uncomfortable, and sometimes can even lead to more serious blockages. During your hospital stay, your nurse may suggest that you increase fiber intake like eating more fruits or drinking prune juice, increase water intake, and help you get around by walking to help relieve constipation. Patients who have issues with constipation associated with surgery can discuss with their surgeon to take stool softeners or Miralax a day or 2 before surgery, to prevent constipation from opioid usage. Sometimes, not being able to have a bowel movement can hold up your discharge, which 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
Ulcer prevention medication can be very important for patients who just had throat surgery, or have gastrointestinal related issues. Protonix, or similar medications are sometimes even prescribed to help prevent ulcers from forming due to the stress of being in the hospital.
Anti-Emetics or Anti-Nausea
Many patients who use opioids can have issues with nausea, so your nurse may give you an antiemetic; common anti-emetics are Zofran which comes in IV or dissolvable pill form, a Scopolamine patch which is placed behind your ear, and other IV medications such as Phenergan or Compazine. Although these medications can be extremely helpful, some of them do have negative side effects. For example, Zofran can cause constipation, and even though it works very well as an anti-nausea medication, it’s important to weigh the benefits and consequences and discuss options with your nurse and surgeon. One natural way to help soothe nausea that you can add to your regimen is ginger essential oils; in some hospitals, 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.
There are just a few symptom reducing 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, what the surgeon may or may not use specifically, and what would be the best plan for you as a patient. Don’t be afraid to ask your care team and your nurse any questions you might have – we’re here for you!
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