Using Laxatives for Constipation

December is Constipation Awareness MonthLaxatives for constipation are a common medical supply used by many and can be quite effective for relief if used properly. These over-the-counter products work by inducing a bowel movement to release stool compacted in the intestines. The International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) recognizes December as Constipation Awareness Month to help educate those suffering from constipation about the problems they may face. We will discuss constipation, why it may happen, and how laxatives may help relieve it.

What is constipation?

When people find it difficult to pass stool or produce less frequent bowel movements, they experience constipation. According to the Cleveland Clinic, having fewer than three bowel movements weekly is the definition of constipation. The more time between bowel movements, the harder it becomes to pass stool.

People with constipation often feel the following symptoms:

  • Feeling a blockage in the rectum
  • Passing fewer than three stools per week
  • Straining to have bowel movements
  • Abdominal pain or stomach cramps
  • Feeling bloated and uncomfortable
  • Feeling sluggish

constipation in the intestinesWhat causes constipation?

Usually, food moves through the intestines, which absorb nutrients, and the colon absorbs water from the partially digested food. Solid matter is created to form stool, and muscles contract to push the waste down to the rectum. When the colon absorbs too much water, the stool becomes hard, dry, and difficult to pass through the colon. When the colon’s muscle contractions are sluggish, the stool moves much slower, causing this excess water absorption.

Some of the most common causes of constipation include:

  • Lack of fiber in the diet
  • Dehydration
  • Certain medications
  • Not getting enough exercise
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Neurological diseases of the brain or spinal cord like Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis
  • Colon cancer

Laxatives for constipation

After other lifestyle and diet changes have failed to be effective, laxatives for constipation relief can be considered. Laxatives are made with ingredients that help draw water into the stool, making it softer and easier to pass. There are different types of laxatives, and each kind works differently.

The main types of laxatives include:


These laxatives for constipation move through the intestines undigested, absorb water along the way, and swell to form stools.

Examples of bulk-forming laxatives include:

  • Bran cereals
  • FiberCon
  • Benefiber
  • Citrucel
  • Metamucil

Colace stool softener bottle next to cartonStool softeners

These laxatives work by helping increase the amount of water the stool absorbs to make them softer and easier to travel down to the rectum.

An example of a stool softener is Colace Stool Softener.

Lubricant laxatives

These laxatives contain mineral oil to coat the intestinal wall and the stool to help move things along.

Examples of lubricant laxatives include:

  • Fleet Mineral Oil Enema
  • Castor oil


As the name suggests, these laxatives stimulate nerves that trigger bowel contractions to help push stool down to the rectum.

Examples of stimulant laxatives include:

  • Ex-Lax
  • Dulcolax
  • Senna

DocuSol Constipation ReliefOsmotic laxatives

These types of laxatives for constipation help draw water to the colon from other areas of the body to produce more bowel movements.

Examples of osmotic laxatives include:

  • DocuSol
  • Milk of Magnesia
  • Fleet Liquid Glycerin Suppositories

It is critical to note that overuse of laxatives can lead to constipation. Reading the label on laxatives and proper use can help relieve constipation symptoms. However, abusing them can lead to further complications.

Where to buy laxatives for constipation?

At Personally Delivered, we carry various laxatives for constipation relief. We have Product Experts that can help you find the type of laxatives for constipation you are looking for. Remember, if your problem with constipation persists, speak to your doctor. They can further evaluate your medical history and perform lab tests to determine the root cause.

Laxatives for Constipation at Personally Delivered

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Gluten Sensitivity

Many people with irritable bowel syndrome experience an adverse reaction when consuming foods containing gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. For some, gluten can cause gas, bloating, and diarrhea, and this can be very uncomfortable for those already suffering from IBS. Irritable bowel syndrome and gluten sensitivity do not always go hand in hand, but their symptoms can be very similar.

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a common gastrointestinal disorder that affects the digestive system. IBS is a chronic condition, and the exact cause is unknown, but there are ways to help control and manage it. Common symptoms of IBS include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Fullness
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation

What are common signs of gluten intolerance?

woman sitting while holding her stomach from gas and bloating pain from IBSAs we mentioned, gluten intolerance is characterized by having an adverse reaction to foods that contain gluten, such as wheat, cereals, cakes, bread, and beer. If you have irritable bowel syndrome and gluten sensitivity, the signs you experience may exacerbate. Those signs of gluten intolerance include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches

As you can see, the signs and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and gluten sensitivity are very similar. Taking note of the foods and beverages you consume that trigger these symptoms can be helpful to see what you can try temporarily removing from your diet to see if it helps.

What foods irritate IBS the most?

Since every person’s body is different, foods that may trigger IBS symptoms for one person may not impact another. It may be helpful to eliminate certain gluten-related foods to see how you feel and if symptoms are lessened. Some of the foods that seem to irritate IBS the most include:

  • Bread and cereals made with refined grains
  • Cheese
  • Milk
  • High-protein foods like fatty processed meats
  • Processed foods like chips and cookies
  • Carbonated drinks, including alcohol

What is the best diet for irritable bowel syndrome?

Your meals should fit your taste, lifestyle, and overall nutritional needs. You should try a few plans to find what is right for you. Some of those diets to consider include:

Gluten-free green stamp to look for when looking for a diet to manage irritable bowel syndromeGluten-free diet

Remove consumption of wheat, rye, and barley. Look for labels on foods that say “Certified Gluten-Free.”

High-fiber diet

chia pudding in a glass with raspberries and blueberries can help with irritable bowel syndrome symptomsInclude high-fiber foods like sweet potatoes, carrots, prunes, and chia seeds to get things in the digestive tract moving along. It is suggested that adults consume 25-31 grams of fiber per day.

Low-fat diet

Green leafy vegetables, lean meats, and lean poultry are low in fat and excellent choices for nutrition. High-fatty foods tend to be lower in fiber as well.

Nutritional shakes

Osmolite 1.5 Cal Complete Nutrition ShakeTrying nutritional meal replacement shakes may be helpful if you have a busy lifestyle. Since IBS affects the gut, it can lead to malabsorption and food intolerances. Nutritional shakes can help soothe the gut while providing the required calories, vitamins, and nutrients. Many nutrition shakes contain minimal ingredients, including fiber, protein, antioxidants, and minerals the body needs. People with IBS can benefit from these ready-to-drink nutritional shakes since they are easy to digest, taste great, and keep the body full for extended periods.

Try steering clear of foods that are high in sugar, fatty, processed, or made with unrefined grains.  These foods can further complicate your symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and gluten sensitivity. Almost all fruits and vegetables and fresh fish and meats are low in fat and gluten-free. Keeping an eye on labels can help determine if something is high in fat and gluten-free.

older female patient going over her irritable bowel syndrome lab results with Asian doctorMake sure to talk to your doctor

You can take a 5-question quiz to learn more about your IBS symptoms and what you should talk to your doctor about. You can download or email your summary report, and you and your doctor can devise a treatment plan.

The takeaway

Irritable bowel syndrome and gluten sensitivity symptoms can be very similar, and by eliminating certain foods, you may be able to determine if you have one, the other, or both. Sharing your signs and symptoms with your doctor is essential to devise a diet and treatment plan. It may take experimenting with various diets to find what works for you.

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Our Top 10 Blog Posts of 2021

Now that we are wrapping up the first month of 2022, we thought we would take a moment to share our top 10 blog posts from 2021. We are looking forward to providing a wealth of new information for you this year and thought we would share the topics that our customers have been interested in and enjoyed this last year.

Our Top 10 Blog Posts of 2021


Choosing a suitable catheter lubricant is one of the most critical steps in a safe, clean, and comfortable self-catheterization experience. Learn why catheter lubricant is essential and how to use it to lubricate your catheter in the most popular blog post of 2021.

How to Lubricate Your Catheter


External catheters for men and women can be an excellent alternative to indwelling catheters and help prevent catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI). In this next popular blog post, learn how male and female external catheters are less invasive and possibly a more comfortable option for managing urinary incontinence.

man and woman looking out window embracing each other


Diarrhea leads to dehydration, and for those with an ileostomy or colostomy, this can be dangerous. In this blog post, learn the possible causes of diarrhea, the dietary impact of diarrhea with a stoma, and ostomy products that might be helpful.

woman holding her stomach in discomfort for the blog cover of managing diarrhea with a stoma


Don’t miss out on this extensive list of what we feel are the most helpful incontinence products for seniors in this next popular blog post. When managing an incontinence condition, stocking up on the essential incontinence products for seniors is critical. So, if you are purchasing for yourself or someone you care for, considering these incontinence products for seniors is a great way to be prepared.

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Since COVID-19, many people have lost their health insurance coverage through their employers. If you or someone you know is regaining health insurance coverage, you don’t want to miss this blog post about 180 Medical, our sister company. We are incredibly proud to be connected to them!

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Learn all about a Foley catheter, when it is needed, and how to use it in this popular blog post. And, if you are already a Foley catheter user, you can view all the Foley catheters we offer on our website.

Foley Catheters - What they are, why they are used, and where to purchase.


GentleCath Glide catheters have transformed the experience of intermittent catheter users. With their advanced FeelClean Technology, these catheters offer a clean and comfortable catheterization without all the mess. In this blog post, learn all the benefits of GentleCath Glide catheters and the GentleCath me+ Program that provides free support to intermittent catheter users.

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Incontinence diapers and briefs can cause rubbing and skin irritations, including diaper rash. Thankfully, you can use products discussed in this blog post to address this uncomfortable skin condition to help prevent it from occurring and improve diaper rash.

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Children grow quickly, and diaper sizes can change unexpectedly. In this popular blog post, you’ll learn the signs to watch for that can help determine when it might be a good time to move up in diaper sizes.

Tips to Help Determine if Your Child May Need a Larger Diaper


In this informative blog post, learn about all the incontinence pad options available to men and women and their uses for different needs. Learn about the different styles, absorbency levels, how to choose the right size, and how to dispose of incontinence pads properly. We even discuss what may be covered by Medicare.

All About Incontinence Pads featuring a brief, belted undergarment, and pads

We hope you have enjoyed these blog posts as much as we have enjoyed writing them. Our goal with these blog posts is to provide our readers with as much helpful information as possible for various medical conditions. At Personally Delivered, our team is committed to providing the very best service as a trusted home delivery medical supply company to help change lives and make life a little easier for you and your loved ones.

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Bladder Health: Treating and Preventing Kidney Stones

Our kidneys are responsible for removing waste from the blood and passing that out of our bodies through urine. Sometimes, crystals can begin to form in the kidneys when there is a buildup of waste, and those crystals are called kidney stones. These crystals can be as small as a grain of salt or as large as a golf ball. The larger the kidney stones, the more difficult and painful they are to pass.

So what causes the development of kidney stones, and how can they be prevented? We will discuss that now and hopefully provide helpful information about keeping your bladder healthy and avoiding kidney stones.

What causes kidney stones to form?

There are many risk factors for kidney stones. Anyone can get them, although statistics show that men are more likely than women.

Some of the risk factors of kidney stones are:

  • Your diet is high in protein, salt, and sugar
  • You are overweight
  • You do not drink enough water
  • You previously had kidney stones
  • Other family members have had kidney stones
  • You have polycystic kidney disease
  • You have had an intestinal surgery such as gastric bypass surgery
  • You take diuretics or calcium antacids

Most kidney stones can be easily passed through urine; however, if the kidney stone is too large to pass through the urethra, it can block the urinary tract, and an alternate treatment may be needed.

What are the treatment options for kidney stones?

First, always consult your doctor if there is blood in your urine, you have pain when you urinate, or you are experiencing extreme discomfort in your lower back or abdomen. These could be signs that your kidney stone is too large to pass naturally.

Your doctor may run some blood and urine tests as well as a scan to determine the size of your kidney stones. If your kidney stones are small, your doctor may tell you to drink plenty of water and take pain medication to help push them through your urinary tract.

If the kidney stones are too large to pass naturally, there are a few alternative treatment options.


This treatment is done under general anesthesia and uses a focused ultrasound to break up the larger kidney stones into smaller pieces. These smaller kidney stones can then be passed through the urine.


This treatment is also done under general anesthesia. A long tube is inserted into the urethra and then through the bladder. The doctor either removes the stones directly from the ureter or uses a laser to break them into smaller pieces. More detailed information about this procedure can be found at

Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy

When other therapies have failed, this treatment can be used to remove kidney stones. The doctor inserts a scope into the back through a small incision and removes the kidney stones. This procedure is done while under general anesthesia, and more detailed information can be found at

How can kidney stones be prevented?

water bottle with markingsOne of the key ways to reduce your risk of developing kidney stones is to drink extra water. By drinking a lot of water, the substances in the urine that lead to kidney stones are diluted. It is recommended to drink at least ten 10-ounce glasses of water each day. This amount translates into approximately three quarts of water.

Some tips for drinking more water include:

  • Add flavor to your water by freezing fruits and using those as an alternative to ice cubes.
  • Try adding honey and lemon to hot water for soothing and warm hydration when the weather is cold.
  • Opt for unsweetened sparkling water.
  • Try using a water bottle that features marked increments as reminders to track your daily water consumption.

You can find smart products that can help you stay hydrated at

nutrition facts food labelSome diet tips to help prevent kidney stones include:

  • Try cutting down on salty foods like frozen meats, cheese, canned soups, salty snacks, and certain salad dressings. Reading product labels to determine the content of sodium can be very helpful. More information for the recommended daily sodium intake can be found at
  • To prevent uric acid kidney stones, it may be helpful to try reducing your intake of shellfish and red meat.

Remember that you should never start, stop, or change your diet without consulting with your doctor.

Having a healthy bladder is essential to everyone. By maintaining a proper fluid intake, eating a well-balanced diet, and keeping your weight under control, you can help avoid kidney stones and other bladder complications such as incontinence, urinary tract infections (UTIs), adult bedwetting, to name a few.

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Vitamin D and Bladder Health

Did you know that being deficient in vitamin D may impact our bladder health? Having a sufficient level of vitamin D in the body has been shown to alleviate bladder leaks. Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that has powerful effects throughout the body. This vitamin helps us in so many ways since every cell in the body has a receptor for it.

Many people don’t know much about vitamin D, why we need it, how a low level can affect us, or how it is related to our bladder health. Here, we will break it all down for you and explain what vitamin D is and why it is essential in our overall health.

Why We Need Vitamin D

father and mother assisting their daughter umping outside in the sunVitamin D is essential for everyone; however, it is especially critical for women. As women age, estrogen levels begin to drop off. Estrogen is the hormone that protects a woman’s bones. This decrease in estrogen contributes to loss of bone density and muscle strength.

Without this essential vitamin, bone health suffers, leading to osteoporosis, increasing the chances of breaking a bone. Vitamin D also optimizes our muscle strength for stability, balance, and flexibility. When we don’t have even one of those, the risk of falls, injury, and other problems increases.

Vitamin D plays many essential roles within our bodies. Some of the ways it helps us are:

  • Facilitates calcium absorption
  • Impacts our heart health
  • Keeps our bones strong
  • Contributes to a healthy immune system
  • Stabilizes our mood
  • Controls healthy blood sugar levels
  • Keeps our bladder healthy

When we take in vitamin D from food, supplements, or the sun, it gets stored in our fat cells. From there, vitamin D remains inactive until it is needed. When the body needs vitamin D, it is released into the liver and then the kidneys, where it goes through a process to activate the vitamin D in our bodies.

Vitamin D, Pelvic Floor Health, & Bladder Control

Not only does Vitamin D benefit our bones, but it may also help with muscle strength, including the muscles in the pelvic floor and bladder control. With age, childbirth, or trauma, the pelvic floor muscles can become weak. Pressure from the organs above the bladder can then cause occasional urinary leaks. Since vitamin D optimizes our muscle strength, a lack of it will impair our muscle strength, mass, and bladder health.

The pelvic floor is a sling of muscles, like a hammock that supports our uterus, colon, and bladder. A vitamin D deficiency can contribute to a weak pelvic floor, potentially causing any of the following:

  • Stress incontinence– Experiencing leaks and drips after physical movement such as laughing, coughing, sneezing, or lifting.
  • Overactive bladder– The bladder muscles sporadically contract, giving a sense of urgency to urinate and leading to involuntary leakage.
  • Bladder Prolapse – Also known as a cystocele, a herniated, or fallen bladder, bladder prolapse is when the muscles between the bladder and the vagina weaken, causing the bladder to droop into the vagina.

One clinical study found was that women with lower levels of Vitamin D were much more likely to experience pelvic floor dysfunctions and disorders than those with healthier levels. Speaking to your doctor to get your vitamin D levels checked might be a good idea if you are experiencing any signs and symptoms we will discuss now.

Signs of Low Vitamin D Levels

woman sitting in a chair holding her stomach in painLack of vitamin D is not quite as apparent in adults as it is in children. Some of the signs and symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency might include:

  • Getting sick often – Vitamin D keeps the immune system strong to fight viruses and bacteria.
  • Fatigue – Talk to your doctor. Fatigue is often an overlooked symptom and can usually be controlled by taking a vitamin D supplement.
  • Bone and back pain – Again, talk to your doctor. A vitamin D supplement may be able to alleviate some of this pain.
  • Hair loss – If you are nutrient deficient, hair loss could be related to low vitamin D levels in the body. Most commonly, this is caused by an autoimmune disease called rickets. This disease causes soft bones due to a vitamin D deficiency.
  • Muscle weakness, aches, or cramps – Muscle pain can be pretty difficult to pinpoint. Chronic muscle pain has been linked to low levels of vitamin D.
  • Mood changes or depression – Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to depression, especially in older adults. A supplement of vitamin D may improve this symptom.
  • Urinary and fecal incontinence – Studies have shown that low vitamin D levels are linked to pelvic floor disorders such as urinary and fecal incontinence. Since vitamin D is related to bone and muscle strength, a deficiency could lead to bladder leakage.

Vitamin D deficiency is quite common, and most people are unaware of it. Symptoms often come on slowly, so it can be difficult to pinpoint whether they are caused by a lack of vitamin D or something else. Always speak to your doctor about any symptoms you are having so they can measure your blood levels. Usually, a vitamin D deficiency is easily fixed by taking a supplement, increasing your sun exposure, or eating more vitamin D-rich foods such as dairy products or fatty fish.

How Can You Increase Your Vitamin D Levels?

There are a variety of ways that you can boost your Vitamin D levels. Here are a few suggestions:

Get outside and soak up some sun… safely!

Referred to as the “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D is made in the body by using the sun’s UV-B rays. When the cholesterol in the skin is exposed to these rays, it becomes vitamin D. Many other factors contribute to the amount of vitamin D the body makes, such as skin tone, age, geographic location, and sunscreen. The older you are, the darker your skin, the further away from the equator you live in, and the higher USP-rated sunscreen you wear all contribute to how much sun exposure you need to produce vitamin D.

Vitamin D supplements

There are two types of vitamin D supplements; vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. Vitamin D2 is found in plant-based foods, and vitamin D3 is found in animal products and fatty fish. One of the best supplements for increasing your vitamin D3 is cod liver oil or fish oil. Vitamin D2 supplements help the body keep the right amount of calcium for healthy bones and teeth. Both vitamin D2 and D3 supplements are available over-the-counter. However, getting your blood levels checked can help your doctor determine the correct dose of vitamin D supplements to take.

Add vitamin D to your diet

You can try to incorporate many foods into your daily diet to help increase your vitamin D levels. Some of those foods are:

  • Mushrooms – Like humans, mushrooms produce vitamin D when exposed to the sun’s UV light.
  • Egg yolks – Chickens raised in a free-range pasture are exposed to the sun and produce more vitamin D-rich eggs.
  • Foods fortified with vitamin D – Many goods like cereals, orange juice, almond milk, yogurt, and tofu have vitamin D added to them to increase the intake of this vitamin.

The Bottom Line About Vitamin D and Bladder Health

Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that keeps the body and bladder healthy. It builds strong bones and muscles, including the bladder muscles that support your pelvic floor and help it work efficiently. It may be helpful to keep a bladder diary if you are starting to notice bladder leaks. You can share that information with your doctor so they can better understand your symptoms. You might be surprised how getting a little more sun or slightly changing your diet could help your vitamin D levels and bladder health.

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5 Tips to Prevent Dehydration on Hot Summer Days

During the summer months, it is critical to think about preventing dehydration and other heat-related illnesses. Dehydration occurs when the body loses more water than it takes in, usually on hot days when you are overexerting yourself. This water is lost through normal bodily processes such as urinating, sweating, and if you are sick, through vomiting and diarrhea.

Who's at Risk for Dehydration?

Working or participating in outdoor activities on hot summer days often causes people to be at more serious risk of dehydration. This water loss can lead to heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion, heatstroke, and in severe cases, death. The risk of dehydration increases for some people more than others.

construction worker on top of building hammering in materialsThe four groups that are most at risk for dehydration include:

  1. Athletes and those that exercise. People who spend hours training and competing in the hot summer sun lose excess fluids caused by their activities. These groups often do not have an adequate intake of fluids to make up for that loss.
  2. Outdoor workers. Those that work outdoors, such as landscapers, construction crews, police officers, and postal employees, spend most of their days in the heat. These outdoor workers often have little time for bathroom breaks or drinking fluids. As a result, these workers may not consume enough fluids during their workdays.
  3. Children. Many children spend a great deal of time outdoors being active once school is out for summer. Water and other fluids may not be the first thing on their minds when consumed with fun outdoor activities with their friends in the heat.
  4. Older adults. With age, some changes can impair the ability to sense thirst. The body also does not adjust to hotter temperatures the way that it used to. Seniors that struggle with incontinence may also be trying to limit their water intake to lower their risk of having an accident.

Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration

The intensity of your exercise or activity during the hot summer months increases your chances of losing water quickly and becoming dehydrated. Staying educated about your body’s water requirements and the signs and symptoms of dehydration can help prevent heat-related illnesses.

woman feeling fatigued on an exercise machineSome of the mild to moderate signs and symptoms of dehydration are:

  • Dry mouth and lips
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Decreased urination

Dehydration is one hundred percent preventable. You can usually treat mild to moderate dehydration by drinking more water or an electrolyte sports drink.

More severe signs and symptoms that require immediate medical attention include:

  • Seizures
  • Severe diarrhea for 24 hours or more
  • Bloody or black stool
  • Inability to keep fluids down
  • Disorientation or irritability
  • Little to no urination
  • Rapid breathing or heart rate
  • Sunken eyes

5 Tips to Prevent Dehydration and Stay Cool

woman golfer drinking water out of a water bottleWe have put together five tips to stay hydrated and cool during the hot summer months to avoid the risk of dehydration or a heat-related illness.

  1. Drink plenty of water. It is essential to consume fluids during higher intensity or longer periods of exercise or outdoor activities before you are thirsty. If you wait until you realize that you are thirsty, your body is already dehydrated. Health experts recommend eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day, which is about two liters.
  2. Avoid drinks that contain caffeine and alcohol while in the sun and heat. These types of drinks stimulate the production of urine, thereby promoting dehydration.
  3. Choose light-colored, loose-fitting, and breathable clothing. These materials can help you stay cooler as they won’t stick to the body as they absorb the heat from the sun. There are even some clothing options that are made with an SPF material.
  4. Remember to take breaks. If your job requires you to work in the hot summer sun or engage in outdoor activities. Sitting in the shade and hydrating can help the body avoid symptoms of dehydration such as dizziness, fatigue, and dry mouth.
  5. Opt for a rehydration beverage. Sports drinks such as Sqwincher help replace some of the electrolytes lost through sweat. These drinks can help provide carbohydrate energy to the muscles and aid in recovery.

Sqwincher as a Rehydration Product

Many years of research and development went into formulating Sqwincher products to rehydrate the body. Sqwincher products provide a higher level of hydration in various formulations and flavors that deliver the necessary potassium, sodium, and electrolytes to rehydrate and replenish the body.

When the body is dehydrated, the brain functions are compromised. Mental processes such as thinking clearly, performing tasks safely, and staying focused become challenging when a person is becoming dehydrated. When the body is depleted of electrolytes, water alone won’t do the trick. That is where Sqwincher products come into play.

Whatever your lifestyle is, a Sqwincher product is convenient and flavorful to get your hydration on. Sqwincher is available in these formulations:

  • Ready to Drink
  • PowderPack
  • Single Serve
  • Liquid Concentrate
  • Sqweeze Pops

Each Sqwincher product is low in sodium, sugar, and calories, and they are all gluten-free. Many are also preservative-free, contain no artificial sweeteners or dyes, and are an excellent source of Vitamin C.

Sqwincher Products

Water is a necessity that the human body requires to stay healthy. If you fail to drink enough daily water, non-caffeinated fluids, or electrolyte beverages like Sqwincher, you may experience a heat-related illness such as dehydration. It’s important to remember that anytime a person who has been exposed to heat becomes disoriented or unconscious, immediate medical attention must be sought.

If you have any questions about Sqwincher products or any other hydration products we offer at Personally Delivered, please give us a call. Our Product Experts are just a phone call away and ready to assist.

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Crohn’s Disease: 10 Essentials to Keep in Your Medicine Cabinet

Crohn’s disease is a chronic digestive disorder that affects the gastrointestinal tract (GI). According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), it causes inflammation and damage in the digestive tract. Crohn’s disease belongs to a group of conditions called inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD).

There’s currently no cure for Crohn’s disease, but various treatments can help manage its symptoms. If you have Crohn’s disease, it’s also a good idea to keep several over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and supplies on hand in case of an emergency.

The 10 Essentials to Help Manage Crohn's Disease

We suggest keeping these ten essential non-prescription supplies at home to ease your symptoms and lessen the effects of a flare-up from Crohn’s disease.

1. Antidiarrheal medications

A common symptom of IBD is diarrhea, and it can become worse during a flare. Antidiarrheal medications may be able to help. There are many choices at your local pharmacy that do not require a prescription. Those may include:

  • Pepto-Bismol
  • Kaopectate
  • Imodium-ID

It is always important to speak to your doctor before taking any new OTC medication or supplement and thoroughly read and follow the dosing directions.

2. Pain relievers

GeriCare liquid pain reliefThose with Crohn’s disease often experience stomach pain as a flare symptom. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen can help control inflammation associated with IBD. Research has linked NSAIDs to increased relapses, flares, and overall disease activity.

A better option might be using acetaminophens such as Tylenol or Geri-Care Liquid Pain Relief. These options will not help with inflammation but will reduce fever and pain. As always, talk to your doctor about the right pain reliever for you.

3. Ointment for skin irritation

Balmex Diaper Rash OintmentCrohn’s flares can irritate the skin around the anus. Using a skin protectant, such as Balmex Diaper Rash Treatment, can protect against wetness and irritants, helping prevent diaper rash from getting worse.

4. Personal care wipes

You may experience perineal complications with Crohn’s disease, such as a fistula or abscess. Making sure to keep good hygiene could greatly help ease your symptoms. By using a perineal cleansing product such as DermaRite PeriFresh No-Rinse Perineal Cleanser and unscented wipes to clean and soothe irritated areas, your skin will thank you.

5. A thermometer

You may start to run a fever during a Crohn’s flare. Keeping a thermometer on hand is helpful so you can keep track of your Crohn’s disease symptoms for your next doctor appointment. Writing down the date, time, and length of your elevated temperature can help your doctor better understand your symptoms.

6. An electrolyte solution

Sqwincher Electrolyte Replenishment DrinkIf you are experiencing diarrhea as a symptom of your Crohn’s disease, you are likely losing sodium and sugar, which help you stay hydrated. During a Crohn’s flare, watery diarrhea can cause dehydration symptoms such as thirst, urinating less frequently, darker urine than usual, dry mouth, headaches, and fatigue.

Your doctor may recommend an OTC oral rehydration solution such as Pedialyte or Sqwincher products. These oral supplements help replenish vital minerals and nutrients lost during diarrhea and aid in rehydration. The key electrolytes (sodium and potassium) promote fluid absorption and help keep the body’s defense immune system optimally performing.

7. Nutritional supplements

Stocking up on bottles of nutritional supplements can help make sure you are getting adequate calories and nutrition. Since some foods may contribute to your Crohn’s disease symptoms, these dietary supplements can aid in delivering the proper nutrients as you manage your flare.

Ensure Original Strawberry flavored therapeutic nutritional shakeThere are plenty of flavorful supplements on the market today, so getting the right balance doesn’t have to taste bland. Some of the delicious varieties include:

8. Epsom salt

During a Crohn’s flare, anal fistulas and fissures can occur and cause painful bowel movements and soreness. Warm bath water with Epsom salt can help relieve the pain, itching, and muscle spasms. The water’s warmth may help ease the discomfort on the rear, and the Epsom salt can help soothe sore muscles and reduce inflammation.

9. Heating pads

Arthritis or pain and swelling of the joints are common complaints from those with Crohn’s disease. Heating pads deliver moist heat that can help relieve joint discomfort and help abdominal pain and cramping. These are low-risk solutions that might provide some needed comfort.

10. Vitamin supplements

With IBD, chronic intestinal bleeding leads to anemia, a lack of healthy red blood cells that carry oxygen to body tissue. Doctors often prescribe an iron supplement to address this condition. Blood loss from ulcers might be another reason an iron supplement may be recommended.

According to a 2019 study, Crohn’s disease and the steroids used to treat the condition have been linked to an increased risk for osteoporosis, a weakening of the bones. Your doctor may recommend taking calcium and a vitamin D supplement. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium to keep your bones healthy and prevent further problems.

Crohn’s disease can come with a wide array of complications and discomforts. Hopefully, some of these suggestions we have provided can help reduce your symptoms, ease your pain, lengthen your remission, and help you love an enjoyable life.

For any questions about the products, we carry at Personally Delivered that may help you get through your Crohn’s flare, our knowledgeable and caring Product Experts are just a phone call away and ready to assist.

Popular Nutritional Products

Ensure Plus Therapeutic Nutrition Shake

ensure plus chocolate flavor nutritional shake

Sqwincher Quik Stik Zero Electrolyte Replenishment Drink Mix

Sqwincher Quik Stik Zero Electrolyte Replenishment Drink Mix

Thick-It Original Instant Food and Beverage Thickener

Thick-It Original Instant Food and Beverage Thickener

Boost Breeze Nutrition Drink

Boost Breeze Nutrition Drink
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Thick Water and Other Thickened Liquids

Thick water and other thickened liquids allow those with swallowing disorders such as dysphagia to control the fluid in their mouth better. These beverages help slow down the rate these liquids flow down the throat, which lessens the chance of fluid going into your airway. Liquids that go into your airway end up in your lungs and can cause pneumonia or a lung infection.

The thicker consistency of thick water and other thickened liquids makes them less likely to cause a person to accidentally breathe fluid into the lungs (aspirate) while they are drinking. Individuals with difficulty swallowing may find that thickened liquids enable them to swallow safely.

What is thick water?

thick-it clear advantage thick waterThickened liquids are a medical dietary adjustment that increases fluids’ consistency to prevent choking. Thickened liquids are recommended for individuals who have difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) and keeping food or liquid from entering the airway. You may need to have thickened liquids for dysphagia if you have a neurological condition such as a stroke, a weakening of the esophagus’ muscles or nerves, or from a blockage in the throat.

Viscosity is the measurement of how thin or thick a liquid is. The lower the viscosity, the thinner the liquid. Thus, the higher the viscosity, the thicker the liquid. When a thin liquid such as water is mixed with Xanthan Gum or modified starch, the liquid starts to thicken, forming into thick water. The more Xanthum Gum or modified starch added, the thicker the liquid consistency becomes.


Starch-based thickeners are easier to mix, but they are best consumed immediately after mixing. The longer a starch-based thickener sits, the thicker the consistency will become. If the liquid is then refrigerated, the fluid may become too thick.

Xanthan gum-based thickeners are more versatile and have a more stable viscosity than starch. Once this type of thickener achieves its optimal viscosity, your food or beverage will be ready for consumption at the consistency that you want it. Xanthan gum-based thickeners can be frozen, thawed, and refrigerated while retaining the desired consistency.

Commercial Xanthan gum-based thickened products include:

Why would thick water be recommended?

Dysphagia – If you suffer from dysphagia, you may need help moving liquids more slowly down your throat. Thick water and other thickened liquids give extra time to control the liquid while swallowing. Thickened liquids may also help to protect the airway.

Trach Tube Removal – Patients may be advised to consume thickened liquids after the trachea tube that helped them breathe is removed. Thickened liquids may help effectively and safely transfer fluids from the mouth to the stomach after this breathing tube is removed.

Speech or Oral Issue – If you are seeing a Speech-Language Pathologist, they may recommend thickened liquids to make swallowing liquids safer for a couple of reasons.

  • If you have a delayed swallow, thick water or thickened liquids can slow down the liquid flow. Thin liquids move fast and can spill out of the mouth and into the throat before you are ready to swallow.
  • Not only do thin liquids move fast, but they are also difficult to control and unpredictable. Thickened liquids can keep the sip of liquid together in one ball (also known as a bolus). If you have decreased airway closure, thin liquids can splash into the airway before, during, or after swallowing.

The goal is to prevent liquids from entering your airway and getting into your lungs. If fluids enter the airway, it could lead to discomforts such as coughing, congestion, shortness of breath, and aspiration pneumonia.

What are the levels of thickness of thickened liquids?

Liquid consistencies greatly vary across different products. The International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative ( created a standardization for thickened liquids that includes five levels starting with zero:

0. Thin liquids: (unthickened liquids such as water, coffee, tea, broth, skim milk)

1. Slightly Thick: (similar to V8 juice consistency)

2. Mildly Thick: (nectar consistency)

3. Moderately Thick: (honey consistency)

4. Extremely Thick: (pudding consistency)

The IDDSI created the Flow Test so you can check the thickness accuracy of liquids in your own home. For example, you may think that your Ensure is a thickened liquid, but with the IDDSI Flow Test, it tests as only a thin liquid (level 0). You will need a 10ml Slip Tip Syringe to perform the flow test and can view the steps below.

What are the benefits of thick water and other thickened liquids?

  • Thick water or thickened liquids allow better control of the fluids in the mouth as the swallowing process takes place.
  • Studies have shown there is less of a chance of aspiration with thickened fluids for various reasons specific to the individual swallow.
  • Thickened liquids may allow the throat more time to initiate the beginning phase of swallowing, protecting the airway.
  • There are options for pre-thickened liquids that can be purchased to lessen the potential drawbacks that come with manual thickening of liquids.

Precautions of thickened liquids

  • Those who use thickened liquids are at a higher risk of dehydration, increasing the risk of other complications such as urinary tract infections.
  • Thick water and thickened liquids do not entirely eliminate the risk of aspiration.
  • For some, thick water or other thickened liquids are less favorable to the taste than thin liquids.
  • There are special considerations to consider when thickening liquids, such as clumping, thickening over time if left out, and the effects on blood sugar levels.
  • Thickening liquids requires effort and time if you are manually thickening liquids. Alternately, purchasing pre-thickened liquids can be expensive.

What can you do to improve the taste?

  • 12 pack of Boost Plus nutritional drinkThe more products you try, the more you will discover what you prefer. Many of the products on the market today use Xanthan gum, which helps prevent dry mouth and doesn’t change the taste of the liquid it is added to.
  • When adding a thickener to milk, it may be helpful to add a few drops of vanilla extract to bring back the flavor.
  • The best way to make tasty and naturally thick smoothies is to use a blender. Yogurt, a banana, or avocado can be used as thickening agents. You can add all sorts of fruits, protein powders, or supplements like Ensure or Boost in the nutritional value and taste.

Check out this recipe idea to make: Nutritious Smoothie.

Where to buy thick water and other thickeners?

At Personally Delivered, we carry a wide assortment of thickened liquids and pureed foods. Shop our online store, choose a few different types of thickened products, and start discovering what you like. If you need assistance with your selections, we have helpful Product Experts that can help guide you through the purchasing process.

Always consult with your doctor or nutritionist before taking on a new dietary plan. They will help you estimate the number of calories and protein you need and any dietary restrictions you should follow. If you have diabetes, it is also helpful to check with your doctor about your sugar/carbohydrate intake. Many natural fruits are loaded with sugar. They will also advise you on how thick your liquids and foods should be for safe swallowing.

Popular Thickened Liquids and Other Nutritional Products

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Post-Plastic Surgery “Must-Haves” at Home

Are you scheduled to have a plastic surgery procedure and wondering what might make your recovery more comfortable once you get back home? We have some suggested “must-have” items that can aid in the healing process and help make the first several days at home a bit less stressful. Taking it easy after any kind of reconstructive or plastic surgery is essential, and with a little preparation, relaxation is achievable with the right products and supplies. One of the best things you can do to help aid post-surgery recovery is to plan ahead.

Comfortable Clothing

Do you have a favorite oversized button-up shirt and pajama pants? If not, it is time to purchase a few sets. After surgery, it’s not about fashion, it’s about comfort. Loose-fitting clothing will be your new favorite look, and your body will thank you later.

After plastic surgery, such as breast surgery, lifting your arms may be temporarily difficult. A large button-up or zip-up top is easy to put on and take off. Soft, loose-fitting bottoms with either an elastic waistband or tie and a pair of slippers are also highly recommended. For a few days and sometimes longer, you will want to minimize the amount of movement necessary for you to put on and take off clothing articles.

Vascular Compression Garments

vascular compression socks for plastic surgery recovery at home

The body naturally produces fluids during recovery, and wearing a compression garment can help the body recover and increases your comfort during the healing process. The compression garment aids in a smooth recovery process after surgical procedures by applying even pressure around the treated area, preventing fluid buildup and helping the body absorb any fluid that does not accumulate.

Vascular compression garments are constructed of elastic and nylon material and work to facilitate a tight (but not constrictive) fit. Compression garments ensure that specific body areas receive constant, uniform pressure and are appropriately sized to fit your body’s contours for the type of surgery you underwent.

Some of the benefits of wearing compression garments include:

  • They Can Promote Healing
  • Swelling happens when the body sends fluid to the surgery site after a surgical procedure. By using compression garments, the amount of fluid buildup reduces, resulting in less swelling.
  • They Can Reduce Infections
  • Because compression garments are placed over the surgery site, bacteria and other potential contaminants are kept away from the wound, keeping the surgery site protected from possible infection.
  • They Can Prevent Bruising
  • Bruising is common after surgery. Blood vessels are disrupted when a surgical incision is made, causing blood to leak from small blood vessels under the skin near the surgical site. This bruising can be minimized by using compression garments to help red blood cells from working themselves up to the surface of the skin.
  • They Can Minimize Scarring
  • Compression garments deliver pressure therapy to help manage the development of scar tissue. The compression garment holds the skin together firmly and interferes with the body’s ability to produce collagen at the surgery site, which is how scars are formed.

Body Support Pillows

a body pillow is excellent when recovering from plastic surgeryAfter a plastic surgery procedure such as a facelift or rhinoplasty, keeping your head elevated is helpful. Those that undergo breast and body plastic surgery procedures can benefit from body pillows and cushions such as the body pillowcervical pillow, or thera cushion by Hermell Products.

a neck pillow for comfortable plastic surgery recovery at homePillows help position your body so that you can rest and sleep comfortably during recovery. Some plastic surgery procedures like breast surgery won’t allow you to sleep on your sides for an extended period. Having a couple of body pillows on each side can help you stay in place throughout the night without worrying about accidentally turning onto your side.

Underpads or a Mattress Cover

a mattress protector is excellent for plastic surgery recovery in case of a spill or leak

After most surgical procedures, our digestion systems get disrupted. The use of anesthesia and other pain medications and lack of mobility all contribute to constipation. Some respond well to gentle constipation relief like stool softeners or laxatives, while others may wind up having unpredictable diarrhea episodes. By preparing yourself and your recovery area with underpads, bed pads, or chux, you can protect yourself and your furniture from these incidents.

For even more security for your bed, you might opt for a mattress cover. A mattress cover or mattress protector can help extend your mattress’s life by protecting it from stains. With a mattress cover on, you are safeguarding your bed from leaks and spills that can also result in potential mold growth if the liquids soak deep into the mattress. Just make sure that you choose a waterproof option when purchasing your mattress cover. In addition to keeping your bed clean and sanitary, a mattress cover can also provide another comfort layer.

Skin & Wound Care Supplies

You cannot wash your hands enough after surgery. The frequent use of hand sanitizers and antibacterial soap can prevent infection and the spread of it. Place hand sanitizers next to your bed, the kitchen, near the toilet, and at your front door for visitors to use upon entry.

Curity gauze spongesYour regular personal hygiene routine might not be possible when you are recovering. With some surgeries, your doctor’s orders may include for you to not get wet for the first few days after plastic surgery. Stock up on no-rinse products like foaming cleansers and body wash, rinse-free shampoo, and no-rinse perineal cleanser. These products can help you feel cleaner and more comfortable.

white exam glove on handYou can also benefit by being well-stocked on wound care supplies such as gauze sponges and pads, wound care spray, and alcohol prep wipes or swab sticks. Your doctor may send you home with a little care pack that includes a limited amount of these supplies, but that will usually not be enough. Depending on the directions you receive from your surgeon, your would site may need to be cleaned and redressed multiple times a day. Having an ample supply of wound care products can keep your surgery site sterile and help reduce the risk of infection.

And don’t forget about a box of gloves. Even though you will frequently be washing your hands and using hand sanitizer, when you are cleaning a wound site and replacing the dressings, you will want to handle your wound care supplies with just as much care.

Prepared Meals

four plastic containers of prepared healthy meals

Making sure you have plenty of meals prepared for when you get back from the hospital is essential since you may not be up to cooking for the first several days after surgery. Prepping extra food when cooking in the weeks leading up to your surgery will help fill your freezer with easily accessible reheatable meals during recovery. You can also opt for prepared meals that come in a can or microwaveable container that similarly provide balanced nutrition, especially if you might have any trouble swallowing.

Certain surgeries, such as breast surgery, will limit your range of motion. It is wise to place items you will need out of the refrigerator, freezer, and cabinets down to a more accessible level. Anything that is 5 lbs. or more should also be distributed into smaller, more manageable containers to not lift more than you should during your recovery.

In addition to your favorite healthy foods, have a few options on hand that are gentle on the stomach in case of irritation. You might feel nauseous after anesthesia or when using pain medications, so having items such as ginger ale, applesauce, bananas, rice, and crackers are foods that may have a calming effect on the stomach when you feel nauseous after surgery.

And always remember to stay hydrated! Keep plenty of fresh water around you at all times. The body heals quicker and better when it is adequately hydrated.

Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medications

Clearlax laxative powder

It would be a wise decision to ask your doctor what prescriptions you will be required to take to get these filled in advance if possible. Some patients don’t need prescription pain relief and easily manage discomfort using over-the-counter options. Make sure you have ibuprofen and acetaminophen on hand, as these are potent medications that can enhance your comfort while you heal. Just make sure your doctor approves of these kinds of over-the-counter medications as sometimes they can interfere with the prescriptions or the healing process.

As we mentioned earlier, your surgeon may also recommend over-the-counter products to counteract constipation resulting from the pain medications. These may come in the form of powder, liquid, pills, or fiber intake. You can avoid discomfort by making sure you have these ready and available should the need arise.


Don't Forget to Ask for Help

Make sure you have someone to help you around the house for the first few days. You can also hire a home health care service to help you with chores or small errands like prescription refills if necessary. In addition to the meals you ready prepped, friends and family can help cook some comfort foods to keep you well-stocked. It never hurts to ask for help, and you will be surprised how many will be more than willing.

As you prepare for plastic surgery, you may need to ask for help in the following ways:

  • Someone to drive you home on the day of your surgery
  • Someone you trust to stay with you for the first day or two
  • Help with your children, if you have young ones at home
  • Assistance cleaning up around the house or running quick errands
  • Someone to drive you to and from post-surgical appointments until you’re off pain medications and able to drive yourself

Recovery is often the most challenging part of the plastic surgery process, but with a little preparation and a bit of patience, you’ll soon be looking back at how quickly it all went. Take your time throughout the recovery process and allow your body to heal at its own pace gently. While there is no checklist that works to fit everyone’s personal preferences and doctor recommendations, this list of “must-haves” may be a great place to start.

For any questions about any of the products we offer that might help you with your plastic surgery recovery process, our Personally Delivered Product Experts are just a phone call away and ready to assist. Remember, recovery is a process. It takes time, patience, and everything you’ve got.

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A Tracheostomy: Navigating Life With One

You may have many questions about the future if you or a loved one has recently had a tracheostomy while in the hospital. Everyone’s experience as to why they needed a tracheostomy in the first place and what their future looks like will differ. Many people live for a long time with a tracheostomy. However, having one usually requires several adjustments to your lifestyle and careful planning to ensure adequate care.

We will discuss what a tracheostomy is, why it would be needed, ways to cope, and some standard terms associated with a tracheostomy. We hope you will find this information beneficial as you or a loved one navigates through life with a tracheostomy, whether it is a temporary or permanent solution.

What is a Tracheostomy?

An assortment of tracheostomy tubes available at Personally DeliveredA tracheostomy is an opening in the front of the neck that’s made during an emergency or planned surgery. A tube is inserted into this opening in the trachea, or windpipe, for the person to breathe. This opening makes an airway for those who cannot breathe independently or have a blockage affecting their breathing. A tracheostomy may be needed if a disease, such as cancer, is expected to cause difficulty breathing.

The tracheostomy opening is a stoma that looks similar to the lining inside the cheek. The stoma is pink or red and will be a hole in the front of the neck. Because a tracheostomy helps someone breathe, the larynx, or voice box, remains in place.

With a tracheostomy, if a person’s lungs still function well, they breathe through the tube directly in the trachea instead of breathing through their nose and mouth. If a person’s lungs are not working correctly or are affected by a disease, assistance from a breathing machine can help push air in and out of the tracheostomy tube.

What are the Reasons For a Tracheostomy?

There are three main reasons a tracheostomy is performed:

  1. The upper airway is obstructed
  2. To remove and clean the airway from secretions
  3. To deliver more oxygen to the lungs

There are many reasons why sufficient air cannot reach the lungs, and a tracheostomy must be performed.

Airway Problems That May Require a Tracheostomy

  • Tumors in the throat or neck area
  • A large tongue or a small jaw that blocks the airway
  • Infection that causes swelling inside the trachea
  • Laryngectomy (removal of the vocal cords)
  • Tracheomalacia (collapse of the airway)
  • Vocal cord paralysis caused by nerve damage or disease
  • Blunt or severe trauma to the throat, neck, or mouth
  • Congenital abnormalities of the airway
  • Inhalation of corrosive material, smoke, or steam that burns the airway
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Obstruction from a foreign body

Lung Problems That May Require a Tracheostomy

  • Chest wall injury
  • Chronic pulmonary disease – the lungs become inflamed and obstruct airflow
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia – abnormal development of the lungs of infants that causes a breathing disorder and causes the need for prolonged respiratory support
  • Dysfunction of the diaphragm

Other Situations That May Require a Tracheostomy

  • Fracture of cervical vertebrae with spinal cord injury
  • Neuromuscular diseases that paralyze or weaken the diaphragm and chest muscles
  • Aspiration related to muscle or sensory problems in the throat
  • A severe allergic reaction
  • Long-term coma or unconsciousness
  • Facial surgery and facial burns
  • Other emergencies when breathing is obstructed, and emergency personnel can’t put a breathing tube through the mouth and into the trachea

Is a Tracheostomy Permanent?

A tracheostomy can be either temporary or permanent, depending on the problem being treated. If a medical issue needs to be resolved, a tracheostomy provides an alternate breathing route and is meant to be temporary. However, a tracheostomy may be the best permanent solution if a person needs to remain indefinitely connected to a ventilator.

If the plan is for a tracheostomy to be temporary, the length of time it is left in place depends on why it was done and how long that problem will take to get better. For example, if a patient needs help from a breathing machine, the issue that caused the tracheostomy will need to heal or be fixed before the tracheostomy can be removed. If the tracheostomy was done due to a blockage, injury, or disease, the tube would probably be needed for an extended period. A tracheostomy could be in place for the rest of the patient’s life if part of the trachea is required to be removed or if it doesn’t get better. The hole may close and heal on its own or be closed surgically.

What to Expect After Tracheostomy Surgery?

After tracheostomy surgery, several days will be spent in the hospital as your body heals. Learning skills necessary for maintaining and coping with your tracheostomy during this time are essential.

While you are in the hospital:

  • Learn how to care for your tracheostomy tube. Cleaning and changing your tracheostomy tube helps prevent infection and reduces the risk of complications. Your team of nurses will help train you on how to care for your tracheostomy tube.
  • You may need help speaking. A tracheostomy usually prevents speaking because exhaled air goes out of the tracheostomy opening rather than through your voice box. Speaking with the tube in place depends on the tube type, the width of your trachea, and the condition of your voice box. A speech therapist or trained tracheostomy care nurse will discuss communication options and help you learn to use your voice again.
  • Eating will be difficult. Swallowing will be difficult after surgery. You will receive nutrients through an intravenous (IV) line, a feeding tube that passes through your mouth or nose, or a tube inserted directly into your stomach. It may take some time and patience to regain the muscle strength and coordination needed for swallowing.
  • Discuss ways to cope with dry air. After a tracheostomy, the air you breathe will be much drier because it no longer passes through your moist nose and throat before reaching your lungs. You may experience episodes of coughing or excess mucus coming out of the tracheostomy. Secretions can be loosened by putting small amounts of saline directly into the tracheostomy tube. Having a humidifier or vaporizer in the room can also be beneficial, as they add moisture to the air.

When you get home:

  • Get plenty of rest. Getting enough sleep will help you recover, and remember not to overdo it.
  • Plan for time off work. Depending on your work type, plan on taking about two weeks off. Even if you work from home, focus on your healing, and take it easy. You never know how you will feel and what health issues may arise once you get home.
  • Fit in a little exercise. Aim for a daily walk. Start slow and work your way up to longer times. Avoid anything strenuous, like running or lifting weights. Walking is best and boosts blood flow, which helps prevent constipation and pneumonia.
  • Bathe carefully. Stick to bathing in a shallow bathtub and try to avoid splashing water into your trach. You can also try showering, but aim the stream away from your tracheostomy. Bacteria can quickly enter the tracheostomy, and you don’t want to get an infection. It would be best if you did not swim with a tracheostomy.


  • Cardinal Health suction canister for those with a tracheostomyEating. Can you eat with a tracheostomy? Yes, you can! You should be able to eat without a problem, but if food or liquid gets into your tracheostomy tube, suction it out immediately. It is helpful to sit up while you eat. The suction canister kit by Cardinal Health is an excellent option for this.
  • Drinking. Staying hydrated is also very helpful, so ensure your fluid intake is sufficient.
  • Regular bowel movements may be off. It is common to experience irregular bowel movements after surgery. Taking a fiber supplement or mild laxative may help move things along. However, you will need to contact your doctor if you have not had a bowel movement after a couple of days.
  • Your stomach may become upset. If your stomach is upset, try bland, low-fat foods like plain rice, broiled chicken, toast, and yogurt.

What Kind of Food Can You Eat With a Tracheostomy?

An assortment of Thick-It ready-to-serve puree dishes available at Personally DeliveredEating and swallowing patterns are usually not affected by having a tracheostomy. When you get your tracheostomy tube, you may be first started on a liquid or pureed diet. Once the tracheostomy tube is switched for a smaller size, swallowing is more comfortable. If there is a concern that your swallowing is impaired, nutrients will be administered through IV (an intravenous catheter placed in a vein) or a feeding tube.

Once you have healed from surgery, your doctor will inform you when it is safe to advance your diet to take in solids and liquids by mouth. At this time, a speech therapist will also help you learn how to swallow with a tracheostomy tube.

Certain factors may make swallowing difficult, such as:

  • Not having eaten for an extended period
  • Changes in the structure of your airway
  • The health condition that caused the tracheostomy in the first place

Tips for Eating and Swallowing

Here are a few tips that may help with swallowing problems:

  • Make sure to suction the tracheostomy tube before eating to prevent coughing while eating that could lead to throwing up.
  • If your tube has a cuff, ensure the cuff is deflated when you are getting ready to eat for easier swallowing.
  • Sit up as straight as possible when you eat.
  • Take small bites, chew food thoroughly, and swallow before taking another bite.
  • Keep mealtimes relaxed by planning them so that you are not in a hurry. Turn the tv off and put your cell phone away.

Common Terms Associated With a Tracheostomy?

Having a tracheostomy procedure done on you is a scary and life-changing event. However, it is a necessary procedure that will save your life. Thus, it is essential to know these terms and have an idea of terms that you will hear once you’ve had this procedure done.

Trach Tube – The tracheostomy tube or trach tube is a tube that is inserted into the trachea to provide a channel for air to pass through

Inner Cannula – A tracheostomy may or may not have an inner cannula, a liner that can be locked into place and then unlocked so it can be removed and cleaned.

Cuffed and Uncuffed Tracheostomy Tube – The cuff is a seal that inflates inside the trachea to block air from leaking around the tube. It forces all air going in and out of the lungs to go through the tube and stops saliva and other liquids from accidentally reaching the lungs.

  • A cuffed tube is often used when a patient is on a ventilator or needs help from a breathing machine. The healthcare team monitors the cuff pressure, adjusting the breathing machine as needed.
  • Uncuffed tubes are used for patients who do not need a ventilator or help from a breathing machine. With an uncuffed tube, some air can still flow around the tube and up through the trachea to the larynx.

Trach Cover – To prevent dust and dirt from accumulating, the trach tube is kept protected using a trach cover. It is also referred to as a tracheostomy stoma cover. The trach cover is essential to properly care for the throat stoma after the larynx is partially or fully removed.

Trach Tube Holder, Collar, or Tie – Any of these three terms are used to describe devices that hold the tracheostomy tube in place. A trach tube holder or trach tube collar has a firmer hold, while trach ties can be adjusted and are cheaper.

Purple Passy-Muir Low-Profile Tracheostomy and Ventilator Swallowing and Speaking ValvePassy Muir Valve – The Passy Muir valve helps the patient speak more normally and goes on the outside opening of the tracheostomy tube. It opens when air is breathed in and closes when air is breathed out. The Passy valve is also called a Passy-Muir speaking valve.

Stoma Shield Cover – The stoma shield cover is an essential protective device that guards the tracheostomy hole against water during showers.

Trach Heat Exchanger – This device heats and humidifies the air that comes into the trachea. A trach heat exchanger is an expensive approach to coping with dry air after surgery.

Tracheostomy Cleaning Tray – This single-use kit includes everything needed to clean and prep the whole tracheostomy system. A complete tracheostomy tray should include latex gloves, gauze, and other essential materials used to clean the entire system.

Whether you’ll be having a tracheostomy temporarily or for life, it is essential to become acclimated with these devices to maintain yourself. Try to ask as many questions as possible while you are in the care of your doctor and nurses to help get as much information as possible before you head home.

For questions related to the tracheostomy supplies we carry, our Personally Delivered Product Experts are just a phone call away and ready to help.

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