Gas & Bloating
Updated on 9 May 2023
Welcoming a new life into the world is undeniably one of the most fulfilling experiences a woman can have. But, along with the joy and excitement comes a host of physical changes that can be uncomfortable and even embarrassing. One of these changes is postpartum gas, which is a common issue that many new moms face. While it may not be the most glamorous topic to discuss, it's important to understand how long does postpartum gas last, its causes and remedies to help new moms alleviate discomfort and feel more confident during this exciting but challenging time.
Many people are confused about what is postpartum gas as it can sound like a complicated medical term. To put it simply, postpartum refers to the period after childbirth. The flatulence or excessive build-up of gases that a woman experiences after childbirth is called postpartum gas. Sometimes, women experience both constipation, and flatulence simultaneously. Postpartum gas is often connected with hormonal changes according to medical experts.
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If you're thinking what causes postpartum gas, they must not panic as it is quite a common symptom that women face after delivering a baby. Some common causes of postpartum gas are explained below:
Some medications given during childbirth or after delivery can cause gas. Pethidine is one such medication that can cause gas as a side effect. However, anti-nausea medications are usually administered at the same time to alleviate this side effect. Other medications that may cause gas include opioid pain relievers, such as morphine and fentanyl.
Women have to stretch their pelvic muscles quite a lot during childbirth. This excessive stretching of pelvic muscles may sometimes result in a rupture. The injured muscles may make the women lose control over the passing gases. It may also disturb their bowel movements.
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Women who struggle with infrequent bowel movements during pregnancy might have to experience bloating and constipation after childbirth. In some conditions, the stool becomes very hard making it hard to pass which ultimately results in gas formation.
Consuming processed food that contains whole grains, dairy products, and high sugar content can also lead to flatulence or postpartum gas. Lactose and fructose are two types of sugars that naturally occur in milk and fruits that can lead to excessive gas in the body.
Sometimes, doctors perform a surgery called episiotomy during pregnancy that involves cutting the portion between the anus and vaginal opening to prevent them from tearing. The cuts heal slowly but they also weaken the muscles of the pelvic floor. It may result in some symptoms including constipation and postpartum gas.
After understanding what causes postpartum gas, it is also essential to look at its symptoms. Some of the common symptoms of postpartum gas include:
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Postpartum gas can be treated and managed through several methods including:
If there is severe abdominal pain or signs of infection, it is important to contact a doctor.
It's important to understand how long does postpartum gas last in order to know when it's time to see a doctor. Postpartum gas can last up to a month after delivery, but it usually resolves itself within the first postpartum month. If your symptoms last more than a month or if the gas is accompanied by severe pain, bloating, vomiting, or constipation, it may be a sign of a more serious condition such as bowel obstruction or infection.
It is important to seek medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms. It is necessary to not hesitate in seeking medical intervention for reasons like gas and bloating because ignoring the symptoms could expose an underlying condition further. So, if you have concerns or questions about postpartum gas, it is always best to consult with your healthcare provider.
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In conclusion, postpartum gas is a common issue that many new mothers experience after giving birth. Simple lifestyle changes such as exercise, hydration, and a healthy diet can go a long way in preventing and reducing postpartum gas. But instead of wondering how long does postpartum gas last and experiencing its unpleasant symptoms, you should not delay consulting your doctor and seeking treatment.
1. Childbirth and delivery. (2016). International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders
2. Poulsen, J. L., Brock, C., Olesen, A. E., Nilsson, M., & Drewes, A. M. (2015). Evolving paradigms in the treatment of opioid-induced bowel dysfunction. Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology
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