Bouncing Back After Emergency Bowel Surgery

As I wrote in the past, I had to have an emergency bowel resection. Nothing prepares you for that phone call where you are told that there is a hole in your bowel, and you need surgery within the next two hours. In this article, I am going to talk about what you can do to make your recovery faster.


First and foremost, you need to be in the right mindset. After you come-to from the anesthesia, you need to psychologically get your mind on the right track. Try not to be down on yourself. You need to tell yourself, that you did nothing wrong, and bowel surgery is another part of Crohn’s disease. Lots of times there is no rhyme or reason why you need the surgery. Scar tissue can develop after other surgeries causing your bowel to get wrapped around causing food to get stuck as it goes through the process of digestion. Just don’t get upset with yourself. Positive thinking will make your healing process go by much quicker.

Pain Management

Talk to your pain management team. Make sure you are feeling comfortable. Don’t be a hero. I’m not saying that you should become dependent on pain medication, but the first few days after surgery you will be in pain. Make sure you are not in agony. Remember, your bowel has been in “shock,” meaning that is just has been tampered with. It goes to sleep sort of speak, and begins to wake up after your surgery. You will notice that you will eventually have to use the bathroom. Bearing down on a fresh incision will be painful. So once again, make sure your pain is manageable.


Work on your breathing. Your not going to be doing a lot of moving around after your surgery. That means that the air in your body won’t be circulating as quickly as it should. You don’t want to get pneumonia. Make sure you are using the incentive spirometer. This little contraption will help airflow in your lungs. This also will help your recovery go quicker.

Ask Questions

Don’t feel out of the loop. Ask questions! Know what medicines the doctors/nurses are giving you. Be proactive! The quicker you can hold down solid food, the quicker you will be sent home. Also don’t be afraid to pass gas in the hospital. This means your stomach is working! Ask to get out of bed. Walking is great for recovering! This also helps with the blood circulation. I always used the 1:3 ratio. For every one day you are in the hospital, is three days that you will need to recover.

Keep an Eye

Even after you are sent home, keep a keen eye on your stomach. Watch the incision for changes in color, pus, or any signs of infection. Feel around your stomach. Make sure its soft, and not distended. If your stomach is hard and tender to the touch, call your doctor! Listen to your doctor’s instructions when discharged. Don’t push yourself. Take one day at a time, and each day do a little more than the day before.

Believe in yourself. Remember, Crohn’s can be controlled. Sometimes surgery is out of our control, but it will help us feel better in the long run. Nobody wants surgery, but sometimes it’s the only way to save your life! Follow these tips after surgery, and you will recover quicker and happier!

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