So, if you’re easily offended by body fluids and other “stuff” that your body excretes, best skip this article. Otherwise be warned. This is a no holds barred look at a subject about WLS that is almost never discussed. Yes, I’m talking about the BIG BM, No 2, Poop, bowel movements, the crapper, the “John”, low flush efficiency toilets, plugged toilets, constipation and RnY Weight Loss Surgery. The unheard story, almost never talked about, but oh so very important!
Nobody told me this part of the WLS journey. In fact the general misconception about bowel movements after Weight Loss Surgery (WLS) is that you’ll end up with diarrhea. For the 1st three months, there’s some truth in that. BM’s tend to be small, skinny and very soft. Sometimes for the 1st six weeks, they’re nothing more than a few squirts.
Not so for the long term, Yes indeed, things change pretty quickly after the honey moon. After your body adapts to your surgery, you’re more likely to end up leaning towards constipation. Bowel movements tend to be sluggish and often 2 to 3 days apart. They’re usually hard to pass and their consistency is more like hard rubber than nice soft normal “s$&t”. Ops, there’s that “S” word … I mean poop!
Now as you can imaging, hard rubbery poop is difficult to get out of your body. If that were the only issue, life wouldn’t be so bad. Unfortunately, what comes out of our body also has to disappear out of your house. These days with 4.5 liter high efficiency toilets, this is a challenge even for people with normal bowel movements. For post-op WLS people, it becomes a nightmarish battle between the toilet, you and your favorite plunger.
The great thing about being human is that we adapt. Some times it takes longer that it should and often it’s directly related to our motivation. In the case of poop and getting rid of the stuff, there’s a fair strong case for being pretty darn motivated. There’s not to many of us that want crap of any sort hanging around. So, at great personal expense and no small amount of research and testing, I’m bring you the following solutions to the Great Poop Fiasco for WLS Post-ops.
1. Fiber, fiber fiber … as much as you can stomach of the stuff and more. I know, you’ve all heard that you should eat more fiber especially for WLS Post-ops, but now there is an added benefit. It makes your poop softer, which means you pass it easier. In addition, softer poop breaks up easier when you flush it down that low water efficiency toilet we’re all suppose to be installing in our houses.
There is however one downside to fiber. It increases significantly the bulk or size of poop. Larger poop inevitable leads to plugged toilets. This leads to further solutions/ideas.
2. Learn to clench, release, flush, …. clench, release, flush. This is so not right for so many reason, but surprisingly it works from the perspective of getting the poop down the toilet with out having to plunge or use other trick that you’ll learn later in this article. I was amazed to find that this solution is one of the most common suggested solutions on discussion forums related to the poor flushability of the new low water usage toilets. It brings a whole new level of respect for those who can learn this level of bowel control. I’m thinking we could create a new club with ranking levels based on clenchability.
3. Buy yourself the best plunger money can buy. The good ones are about $15 bucks. No, they’re not the red cup ones. Good plungers are made of softer rubber and will seal better when used. The objective of plunging correctly is when you actually pull up on the plunger. This causes a vacuum and pulls the object plugging the toilet back up onto the bowl. Pushing down on the plunger almost never clears a toilet. All you do is ram the object plugging the toilet tighter into the spot it’s caught in. Like ramming a cork into a bottle. Remember, it’s the vacuum pulling up on the plunger that pulls the object out of your toilet that works.
4. Heat up the plunger rubber. Run it under hot water from your bathtub facet (not your sink – that’s too gross). Warm rubber is softer and seals better.
5. Use your plunger before you flush to break up that large, hard stool. Gross!!, yet very effective. Some people have actually resorted to having a “Stool Stick” in their bath room used expressly for this purpose. Oh thank you to the awesome engineers who came up with low water usage toilets!! I leave it to your imagination on how to clean, store and camouflage your “stool stick”.
OK, you’re not using a “Stool stick”, you’re not plunging before you flush and now your toilet is so plugged, the plunger doesn’t work. Now what do you do??
Some people would give up and just call a plumber or start the messy job of taking the toilet off to clean the obstruction out from the bottom. Not a job I suggest for any but the truly brave. Fortunately there are some tricks left to try before moving out and having the house destroyed. Try them in this order:
1. Buy and use a toilet auger. Look it up on Google. “Toilet Auger”. $20 buck and it will save you 9 times out of 10. It’s messy though, so be prepared.
2. Try pouring warm water into the bowl and letting it sit for 30 minutes or so. “Don’t use “HOT” water. You’ll crack the porcelain bowl of your toilet. Warm water works because it breaks down the poop.
3. Add several drops of dish water detergent to that warm water. It helps break the poop up as well as adds slippery factor to the water.
4. Try pouring a quarter cup of baking soda into the bowl followed by a half cup of vinegar. Be ready for bubbles!!
5. Try pouring some of the biodegradable enzymes you can purchase in your local hardware and even grocery store that is used to keep septic tanks efficient or “yeast”. Both of these will require the implementation of #6, below – patience.
6. Last, but not least – wait over night. Poop has a “half life” that works in your advantage if you wait. Tomorrow morning that toilet might just flush fine until next time
So there you have it. Hopefully when you find everything is all backed up, one or a combination of several of these suggestions works for you. I can’t wait to hear your comments, so please take a moment and let me know how your waste system is working for you since your WLS surgery
Author: Ron Merk © 2011
This article made BariatricTV’s Chat radio program, Episode 41. (Thanks )