Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

Is Diarrhea After Surgery Common?

Friday, 09 July 2010 11:25 AM

Question: I had hiatal hernia surgery in June 2007 and have had diarrhea a lot since then. It doesn’t last all day, but comes on quickly. I watch what I eat and additional fiber seems to help. Is this very common after surgery?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

Diarrhea after surgery is not expected, and you should be evaluated for this. Normally a hiatal hernia repair is done by laparoscope, and the colon isn’t involved. Whether or not you had an open or a closed laparoscopic procedure, it is possible your colon was inadvertently damaged, and you should be evaluated.

Ask your surgeon if there were any complicating infections or problems with your procedure, then request a referral to a gastroenterologist for further evaluation. I hesitate to suggest treatment options until you have been seen, evaluated and properly investigated. Remember that a change in bowel habits is a red flag for colon disorders and malignancy that may have been overlooked before you had your hiatal hernia procedure. Let me know how you fare with your consultations.

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