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A delicate recovery question I can't ask anywhere else.....

So I am going to have an anterior resection (keyhole robotic).
My question is when I go home will I be able to contain my bowels or is there a chance I won't get to the loo in time until my bowel has settled down and I have found out what foods I can tolerate? I just want to be prepared and it depends on where I have my bed etc.
Or am I overthinking!

As I said I don't think I can ask anyone else this very personal question


Hi @xcgb . My husband had a high anterior resection. I wondered about this too prior to his surgery, and got extra bedding in, just in case! So that we could deal with it f necessary with as little fuss as possible. In the end, he suffered with the other thing - the dreaded constipation- a combination of iron tabs, codeine and a low fibre diet (inevitable really, no joined up thinking!) he found this stressful and miserable, and not what we expected. A call to the ward, a trip to Boots for me and he was able to get sorted out.
Other people will have a variety of different experiences. Good luck


Thanks for the reply, I have sufferered from constipation in the past so will get things in for both eventualities!


Hi @xcgb i wished I’d have asked this question prior to my LAR surgery. My honest experience was for 24 hours post surgery I didn’t have any control over my bowels.. I could only feel it afterwards I wouldn’t have been able to get up and do anything about it at that stage anyway. I assumed I’d be empty because of the prep the evening before? Just ask for extra padding or take something in with you “just in case” I’m not sure this happens to everyone though or maybe because it was lower anterior resection? The good news was though it was literally for me just those first 24 hours then it stopped and I could retain bowel control. Good luck with your surgery :x::x:


@xcgb, you may be fine but everyone is different. I had an Ileostomy so didn’t have that problem after first op. However I purchased a waterproof under sheet for our bed for my reversal, just in case of accidents, which may be worthwhile. I also bought some adult nappies for coming home from the hospital but didn’t need them. Good luck :x::x::x:

Liz Blakelands

@xcgb I agree with @Lucy118 it is best to be prepared. I know I did and felt better for it even though they were never needed.

Best wishes for the op and a speedy recovery

Liz :x::x:


Thank you all for the helpful replies
My wife is used to dealing with the elderly and is not squeamish about such things, so we should be ok but pre warned is prepared!


I thought about this too before surgery
Had visions of me not making it to loo
It’s like ever thing we just don’t know-
I just took precaution and wore a pad for few days- I was fine- I did need rush to loo couple times initially and I did have little accident as didn’t quite get to loo but it was fine- good luck


Somewhere on this site I was referred to information that suggested a couple of waterproof mattress protectors might come in handy.


I wore the 'pull up pants' for a few days for security but I didn't actually poop them 🙂. :x: :x: :x:


I had a low anterior resection robotically. They removed my sigmoid colon. I don’t need a stoma in the end. I didn’t have any special pants and found my bowels froze for about 3 days. They were in shock. A few trumps 🌬 managed to escape so I knew it was trying to get going again. I then started to open my bowels in a small way and found I could control it. We are all different and I think it is a wait and see what happens situation.


This was one of my worries too! After the op it took about 3 days for me to have a bowel movement. I was elated when it happened because it meant I could go home. One thing I wish they'd have told me was that the first bowel movement can be quite bloody (after effects from surgery) I remember it scared me at the time, but when I asked about it I was reassured that it was normal. I was told I might need a stoma but turned out I didn't need one. When I got home I did wear pads for a few days because I was a bit loose. I can occasionally still have problems with that, particularly when I'm anxious. Not had any accidents though. Jo :x::x::x:


From personal experience it does get better but everyone is different. Now I would say that my bowel habits are reasonably ok but not what they were pre operation.
Only had one accident after the operation. Occasionally wear pull up pants if going for a long trip but so far they have never been utilised as such.
The most difficult thing initially was getting over the feeling of constantly needing to go and I once sat on the loo for an hour and a half.
It takes time but the bowel will settle down.
I did find though that certain foods I used to enjoy now can't be part of my diet. Again everyone is different so it's trial and error.
Anyway don't feel that you can't talk or ask questions on this site regarding what you have gone through. Everyone has a story and understands, even if different.


My mum had similar and was very loose after, for about 6-8 weeks. She had a couple of accidents at home where she couldn’t make it to the toilet in time but she did wear adult nappy type things. Do it wasn’t too bad.This has settled down now and if anything she has gone the other way. Most days she goes once and some times it’s once every 2-3 days. Initially it was 4-5 times a day. Thing is you just never know so be prepared for everything.


Update on my experience.
I am now 8 days after robotic surgery and it's been good. My surgeon said all he wanted to know before I went home was that I can pass wind and have a wee so I was home after 2 days.
I have had to use over the counter laxative drinks a couple of times but have not had any problems other than that.
Things have settled down already and I am getting my appetite back but just eating smaller meals more often.
I haven't found a food that I can't tolerate yet but we have avoided highly spiced foods
So I was worrying unnecessarily it seems but perhaps I have been fortunate.

Hope this helps someone else who may be worried


Thanks for this thread @xcgb as I have an anterior resection via keyhole in 2 weeks and was wondering the same thing. They think I most likely won't need a stoma which is great, but I am worried about the erm "toileting" issues that may happen afterwards!



My experience has been a good one.
I don't have a bag either, but I was prepared to have one if needed.
I had my op on a Friday morning and I left hospital on Sunday evening.
I have only had paracetomal and nurofen but had a spinal painkiller before the op.
The only pain I had was in my shoulders which they warned me about, this is due to the fact you are pumped up during the op but that goes away in a few days.
I have not had any trouble getting to the toilet in time at all, and apart from the first time I went to the loo which was a little explosive all has been good so far.

I have to say how impressed I have been with my hospital all the way through I can't fault them at all.

My tips for the hospital
Long 2m charger for phone.
Eye mask with Bluetooth earphones in was a godsend to listen to music, podcasts audio books etc
Noise cancelling Bluetooth headphones to watch iPlayer etc
Peppermint chewing gum to help with bloating
Peppermint tea bags

Hope that helps


Thanks @xcgb that's really helpful. Good you came out in 2 days. I go in on a Friday and they think I'll be out Tuesday. I am also preparing for a bag just in case, have to see stoma nurse prior to surgery