A woman may have to go for a hysterectomy for multiple reasons, including, but not limited to, endometriosis, painful periods, uterine fibroids, or in the worst case, cancer. The recovery from the hysterectomy depends on your surgeon’s surgical approach for the operation and your health. It may take from several weeks to a few months for a full recovery.
This article will help you understand everything that you may expect post-hysterectomy. We shall also touch upon the ways to handle your pain and emotional ups and downs.
Rest better with pillows and icepacks
We all know that a hysterectomy is major surgery. You may feel tired for several weeks as your body is recovering from the operations and trying to adjust. Therefore, the amount of rest your body gets directly impacts the recovery time.
Having a set of pillows around you may help you relax better. In particular, you can get a body pillow because it enables you to sleep better. Also, you may use a travel neck pillow. It is small, convenient, and fits between your stomach and the seat belt in our car. You can hold it against your tummy when you cough or sneeze to protect your incisions.
Besides that, ice packs are beneficial and comforting. Having two ice packs will ensure you have one of them when the other one is in the freezer. Moreover, the body pillow will make it easier to hold the ice pack in place.
Exercise, but take care of your incision
While resting is important, moderate exercise is essential for a healthy recovery from a hysterectomy. Walking and moving around helps get the heart rate up and strengthen the pelvic muscles. These activities also help relieve gas pains and constipation, prevent a blood clot in your legs or lungs.
Taking care of your incisions, vaginal or abdominal, is extremely critical. Your doctor or the nurses in the hospital will demonstrate how to wash and care for your incision.
You must follow their instructions to ensure that the germs do not infect your incision. If it happens, you may have to take more medication to prevent the spread of infection, OR your doctor may have to reopen it and clean it – not very comfortable.
Healthy and nutritious food
After a major surgery, you may crave comfort foods. However, it is vital to eat lots of fresh fruit and veggies is the best way to recovery. To stay on top of that fiber and keep you regular, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins like beans are the best food possible. Eating nutritious food will also help you prevent weight gain even when you are not very active physically.
Besides nutritious and healthy food, you must consume a lot of liquids to stay hydrated. Although water is always the best beverage to hydrate yourself, you may also take fresh, healthy juices like fruit juices like cranberry juice. Fluids are especially required because the antibiotics and pain medications you take post-surgery come with their potential side-effects on your body.
You may get a big water bottle or jug. It will help you set a routine of consuming at least a specific amount of water. If you stay hydrated, you will avoid any potential issues and also expedite recovery. If you are drinking fruit juices, you should make sure that you have low sugar, fresh juices, and not the sugar-laden packaged ones.
As covered next in this article, you will be on pain medicines for a few days post-surgery. They may make you nauseous unless you take them between meals.
It is a good idea to keep easy to eat snacks such as apples, bananas, cereal bars, and peanut butter near you. In fact, you can keep a bottle of water, a fruit, and a cereal bar beside your bed.
So, if you need to take medication, you could have a snack before the medicine and wrap up the ritual with water right there without getting off your bed.
Overall, a healthy diet routine will ensure you get rid of constipation faster, keep your mood stable and positive, and have the energy to heal holistically.
Control pain with prescribed Medications
For several weeks Post-hysterectomy, you may feel significant pain and soreness in your lower abdomen. To control your pain, your doctor will prescribe medication like Ibuprofen or Advil. You must ensure that you take them on time as specified. No following the routine may make it much longer for you to feel its effects.
You are strong, and while delivering babies, you have already borne the ultimate pain. You may think that you can handle the pain of hysterectomy as you delivered your children naturally without any no pain medicine. While you may well be right, the pain post-hysterectomy surgery may not be easy to handle, even for a supermom like you.
Moreover, if your body spends its energy fighting pain, it will spend less energy on your recovery, thereby elongating the recovery time. So, you must take the drugs to expedite your recovery. These will also help you stay in a drug-induced inertness for the first 24 hours after the surgery.
The hysterectomy is an invasive surgery, even if it is done laparoscopically. Post-surgery, your pelvic muscles will be sore. Also, you will have some internal and potentially external stitches to protect them. On top of that, anesthesia, pain medication, and a reduced level of activity can slow down your bowel movements.
Constipation post-surgery can be very uncomfortable. It can be painful and could cause tears or rips, leading to infections. It would help if you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and drink several glasses of water per day. To increase your activity level, you may get up and move around as and when you can.
Besides these natural therapies, your doctor may also recommend stool softeners and laxatives if she finds them necessary. Stool softeners once or twice a day will make your bowel movements post-surgery easy to manage.
Get loose dresses and pants
To feel comfortable while recovering from pelvic surgery, you may need a few things. Post-surgery, you will get substantial swelling around your abdomen. In fact, you may feel, post-surgery, like a six months pregnant woman. It may take up to two to three months before you could wear jeans again.
So, before you go for the surgery, ensure that you get a few pairs of loose stretchy dresses and pants to feel comfortable. You may also get your old maternity gowns to the hospital and continue to wear them for the next two months.
Besides, you should also get a few low-rise active briefs. These will not rub against incisions and keep them secure.
Wear abdomen binder
After the surgery, you may feel soreness in your stomach muscles. A suitable abdomen binder will provide adequate support to your stomach. You must get your doctor’s go-ahead before you purchase them. So, that she can tell you the right way to use the belt, supporting your swelled-up belly.
Get therapeutic massage
Another side effect of hysterectomy surgery is gas pain, which may spread in your whole body. It moves to your jaw, neck, and shoulders. The best way to get relief is through a therapeutic massage. Your therapist will work on your jaw, neck, and upper back to get you rid of the gastric trouble, making you much more relaxed.
Entertain and distract yourself
As mentioned earlier, for a few days after the hysterectomy, you will on completely bed-rest. You may feel tired and sleep a lot for the first two days. However, after that, while you need to rest, you may not be sleeping the whole day. So, to avoid boredom, you may take the help of electronic entertainment, books, or activities.
While television and movies are always options, you may also play card games with your kids. If you love reading books, it might be the best time to finish a few of them.
However, a few of the hysterectomy patients may feel too exhausted to have the attention span to watch a 2-hr long movie. They may fall asleep halfway through any movie. If you are one of them, TV talkshows or your favorite series on a streaming platform will work best for you.
Feel something wrong, call the hospital
While the hysterectomy is the second most common surgery, after the cesarean-section, for women, there can be complications sometimes.
You must keep the contact number of the hospital, your surgeon, and a local physician on your speed dial. You must call one of them right away if you feel fever, have difficulty breathing, unbearable pain, or uncontrollable bleeding.
You must not ignore it if you notice something wrong with your incision. If you try to show braveness here, it may delay your recovery or lead to an emergency. A quicker treatment for anything like this will ensure that you feel better sooner and avoid any complications.
Social and emotional support
Most of the women are in charge of their life and your home. They may feel uncomfortable seeking other’s help after the hysterectomy surgery, which restricts their mobility substantially. However, recovering from a hysterectomy requires social help and emotional support.
Sometimes we don’t realize that helping you may make other people feel good about themselves. So, do allow your loved ones, friends, and families to be part of your pain and recovery, bringing effects like mood swings, hot flashes, and difficulty sleeping, among others.
Also, you may feel uneasy or sad as your body is going through severe hormonal fluctuations. After ovaries are removed along with the uterus, one will begin menopause immediately. To deal with the hormonal changes, you should continue to work with your doctor and decide if you need hormone replacement therapy.
For that, it is a good idea to fix a session with a therapist. You may also reach out and talk to people in online support groups. Many women in these support groups may already have recovered from a hysterectomy. They will understand how you feel and show you to deal with things you are finding difficult to deal with.
In a nutshell, post-hysterectomy, you may have to adjust to the hormone changes in your body. The food, medication, rest, and exercises will help you expedite your recovery and lead to holistic healing.