Baby Digestion & Stomach Health : Abdominal Swelling in Infants

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How to Reduce Abdominal Swelling After a Surgery

Two Parts:

You can reduce swelling after abdominal surgery by properly caring for the incision site and by being gentle on your digestive system. Follow all of your doctor's or nurse's advice about keeping your wound clean and infection-free. In addition, you should eat mild, easy-to-digest food in small quantities throughout the day to avoid bloating. You should also drink plenty of water and eat fiber-rich foods to avoid constipation.


Treating the Incision Site

  1. Follow your post-op care instructions.After surgery, a nurse or doctor will tell you how to take care of yourself at home. This information will include how to care for your abdominal incision. Follow this expert advice perfectly to protect your incision and prevent an infection.
    • To insure that you remember these instructions, ask the doctor or nurse if you can get written notes, or have a loved one listen to the instructions with you.
  2. Keep your incision site clean and dry between cleanings.Wash your incision site each day with mild soap and water. Pat the area dry gently with a clean towel. Prevent lingering moisture around this area, which can cause infection and swelling.
    • Wait until at least 24 hours after your surgery to clean the site or shower.
    • Clean and acre for the incision site for as long as your doctor recommends. This time will vary depending on the type of abdominal surgery.
  3. Apply cold compresses to your abdomen for 20-minute intervals.Cooling your abdomen after surgery can reduce swelling and alleviate pain. Wrap an ice pack or a resealable plastic bag of crushed ice in a clean towel or cloth. Apply it gently to your abdomen and hold it there for no more than 20 minutes per hour.
    • Avoid applying ice directly to your skin, which could irritate or damage it.
  4. Avoid touching the incision site to prevent infection.Other than cleaning the area, you should avoid touching your incision site while it heals. Contact may cause irritation to the wound, or spread germs leading to infection. Both of these will lead to swelling.
    • If you apply lotion to the surrounding area on your abdomen, use a fragrance-free kind and make sure it does not touch the incision.
  5. Contact your doctor if you see signs of infection.It is important to monitor the incision site for any signs of infection. Contact your doctor immediately if you observe increased redness, draining, or swelling. You should also seek medical attention if pain at the incision site gets increasingly worse with time.
  6. Ask your doctor about wearing a post-op compression garment.A compression garment is elastic shapewear that you wear over your incision site post-surgery. After surgeries such as liposuction, they are necessary to keep your bandages in place and control swelling and bleeding. Ask your doctor if you should wear a compression garment after your operation, and for how long you should wear it.
    • Doctors will typically recommend that you wear a post-surgery compression garment for 3-6 weeks.
    • Compression garments are available online or in medical supply stores.
    • Shapewear garments should be stretch and carefully pulled over the abdominal area and removed gently while your abdomen is still healing.

Reducing Abdominal Bloating

  1. Eat small, frequent meals.Digestion after an abdominal surgery can be difficult, so it is best to eat carefully. Avoid eating large amounts of food at once, which might overwhelm your digestive system and cause bloating. Eat small meals or snacks at frequent times during the day to keep up your energy.
    • Try small meals like oatmeal, salad, or soup.
    • Opt for snacks like bananas, apples, or whole grain crackers.
    • Ask your doctor when you should start to resume eating normally.
  2. Drink lots of fluids to prevent constipation.Constipation and bloating after surgery is common, especially if you are taking pain killers. Drink hydrating fluids throughout the day, such as water and herbal tea, to help your digestion and metabolism.
    • As a general rule, try to drink about 8 cups (1.9 l) of hydrating fluids per day.
    • Aim to drink enough fluids to make your urine clear.
    • Avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks, which can be dehydrating.
    • Urine that smells particularly bad may be a sign of dehydration.
  3. Follow your physician's recommended post-op diet.After an abdominal surgery, foods that are difficult to digest should be avoided. Ask your physician for a list of foods that are safe to consume while you recover, and those you should avoid. As a general rule, a soft, mild, and easy-to-digest diet should be followed for the first week following your surgery.
    • Use a blender to make foods softer and easier to digest.
    • You can also eat baby food during your recovery.
    • Follow this diet for as long as your doctor recommends.
  4. Eat high-fiber foods.Gas, constipation, and bloating can be avoided by consuming foods that are rich in fiber. Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are the best food choices for dietary fiber. If they are included in your post-op diet, eat foods like:
    • Bananas
    • Peaches, pears, and apples
    • Hot cereals like oatmeal
    • Sweet potatoes
    • Tender cooked vegetables
  5. Stay as active as possible to eliminate gas.Being active after an abdominal surgery will help increase your gut motility. This will prevent gas buildup in your stomach that could cause bloating.For moderate exercise, take regular, short walks several times daily to keep yourself moving.
    • Increase the length of your walks as you start to feel stronger.
    • Do not engage in rigorous activity like running, biking, or jumping rope while you are recovering from surgery.
    • Remember to pass gas if you need to. Not passing gas can lead to more bloating and discomfort.
  6. Talk to your doctor about taking a stool softener.Going to the bathroom can be difficult after abdominal surgery, and a stool softener may help. Regularly emptying your bowels will help prevent bloating and discomfort in your abdomen. Ask your doctor if a stool softener would be safe to take, and follow their instructions for how long to do so.

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  • If your abdominal swelling persists or gets worse several days after your surgery, contact your doctor.
  • If you experience extreme pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, increased redness at the incision site, or fever, seek medical attention as soon as possible to rule out infection.

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