Hysterectomy is the process to surgically remove the uterus. This process is used to treat conditions such as uterine fibroid, endometriosis, ovarian or cervical cancer. It is a major surgery so recovering from a hysterectomy takes time as it may also involve removal ovaries, fallopian tubes and cervix. Here are some tips on recovering safely following a hysterectomy.
1. Balance activity with rest
Doctors suggest walking as the best way for the body to heal and recover. Start slow and take rest if you are tired. Do not exert yourself. Avoid lifting heavy weights for atleast a few weeks. Because of the process, your movements may be uncomfortable so do not perform any strenuous activities.
2. Eat a well-balanced diet
A balanced diet is essential for overall good health, especially during the recovery phase. Drink plenty of water and a diet of protein, fiber and healthy fats such as nuts, seeds and olive oil. Food rich in fiber will also help prevent constipation problem. Doctors may recommend stool softeners or gentle laxatives to manage constipation.
3. Keep your wound clean
Taking care of your wound will help your incision heal faster and prevent infection. Wash the incisions with warm water every day and pat dry. Do not submerge fully in the bathtub until the doctor suggests. Also notice if there is any redness, swelling, tenderness or drainage as it may lead to infection. Immediately contact the surgeon if you see any signs of infection.
4. Avoid sexual intercourse during recovery
Doctors advise not to get indulged in sexual activities for a few weeks. The doctor will let you know once it is safe to resume. Do not put anything, not even tampons, in the vagina until the doctor says you are good to go.
5. You may experience body changes
After a hysterectomy, it is normal to have vaginal discharge for a few days. You also experience symptoms of menopause which include hot flashes, vaginal discharge, difficulty sleeping and mood swings. You may also have less appetite or feel more tired. If there is any such symptom which causes discomfort, speak to your surgeon.
6. Work to remove hormone changes
Talk to your doctor if you decide to take hormone therapy or treatment to help with your symptoms.
7. Do not wait for the right time to call your doctor
If you have a fever, difficulty breathing, uncontrolled bleeding or something wrong with the incision, there may be a delay in the recovery.
8. Wear loose and comfortable clothes
Get some loose clothes to feel comfortable. There should not be any pressure on your belly and your incision so that the incision does not pain too much.
9. Stay ahead of your pain
Hysterectomy is a major surgery so the doctor may prescribe medication for pain relief. Take the medicines as prescribed by the doctor. If you wait for the pain to be severe, it may take longer for you to feel better.
In general, it takes 4-6 weeks for complete recovery after the hysterectomy surgery. But, the patient can resume work after the first week. Some women may experience weakness or get tired a lot. It is advised to take more rest in that case.