Drinking warm liquids, walking after meals and sitting upright are a few of the ways to help the bowels begin to function normally again after surgery, which helps reduce the gas that can build up in the intestines, according to Woman's Hospital. Eating slowly and chewing food well also helps.
It's normal for the intestines to slow down after surgery, a condition called postoperative ileus, which makes passing gas and having bowel movements difficult or impossible for a period of time, according to About.com. Lying on the left side, rather than on the back, encourages gas to move along, states Woman's Hospital. Resting briefly on hands and knees rather than lying down also encourages motility, according to Pelvic Exercises, which recommends avoiding foods and activities that promote gas, such as drinking with a straw or sucking hard candy, drinking carbonated drinks and smoking.
Passing gas is an important sign that the body's digestive system is beginning to function again, according to About.com, which notes that although the cause of postoperative ileus is still unknowns as of 2015, some studies have shown that chewing gum after surgery decreases the amount of time it takes for bowel function to return to normal.