Overall recovery from abdominal hysterectomy is four to six weeks and may be earlier with laparoscopic or vaginal hysterectomy. To prevent complications and optimize healing, it is important that you follow your surgeon's instructions carefully and carefully. These may include observation times, activities that need to be limited (such as climbing, having sex, driving, etc.), and symptoms to look out for, such as fever or abnormal drainage from the incision site.
Tracking the operation
Generally, after a hysterectomy, you will need two postoperative appointments:
- One to two weeks after surgery : Your healthcare provider will check the incision site (s). If staples were inserted to secure the cut, they will be removed.
- Six weeks after surgery : Your doctor will perform a vaginal exam. Your healthcare professional will also examine the incision site for bruising or swelling that should be gone by now.
It is important to make an appointment for these and other appointments that your surgeon may recommend for your particular case. In addition to this, it is also important to consult your gynecologist and / or GP for your usual care.
Recovery begins in the hospital after surgery. Most women who have an abdominal hysterectomy stay in the hospital for two to three nights. In a laparoscopic hysterectomy, a woman can only stay one night .
During your hospital stay, you can expect pain, constipation, and / or vaginal bleeding / discharge. These symptoms will continue as you heal at home, perhaps for several weeks, but with less severity .
Return to normal activities.
When you return home from the hospital, your healthcare provider will ask you to rest, but not stay in bed all day. Standing, stretching, and moving are important in preventing blood clots and your overall healing and recovery.
At first, you can take short walks around the house and then move on to longer distances, for example, walking around your neighborhood.
There may also be restrictions on the following activities:
- Weightlifting: Typically no more than 10-20 pounds in six weeks.
- Driving: You will probably be able to drive again two weeks after surgery and after you stop taking pain relievers.
- Sex: should be avoided for the first six to eight weeks after a hysterectomy.
- Work – You may need six weeks of vacation, especially if your job is physically demanding.
Talk to your doctor about specific limits and when you can resume these actions.
Wound care and surveillance
Carefully follow the surgeon's instructions for the incision site; You will have a larger one if you have an abdominal hysterectomy, and smaller ones if you have a laparoscopic hysterectomy.
Your surgeon may ask you to do the following :
- Wash the incision area daily with warm soapy water and then pat dry. (You may not be able to bathe until the incision has healed; you can usually take a gentle shower immediately after surgery.)
- Wear loose-fitting cotton clothing to avoid irritating the incision (s).
- Apply cream to the skin around the incision site if it feels itchy.
Be aware of your symptoms and whether they get better or worse. Call your surgeon immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms during your recovery :
- Redness, swelling, pain, or yellowish-white discharge in or around the incision site
- Persistent or heavy vaginal bleeding (soak the pad in less than an hour)
- Profuse or foul-smelling vaginal discharge
- Severe pelvic or abdominal pain.
- Inability to pass stool or gas
- Nausea and / or vomiting
- Urinary problems
Call 911 if you have chest discomfort or tightness, trouble breathing, or have pain, redness, or swelling in your calf, knee, thigh, or groin.
How to deal with your recovery
Overcoming an obvious problem with a hysterectomy has physical aspects, but it can also have mental aspects. It helps you know what you might be facing and how to deal with it.
To ease your pain, your healthcare provider will give you medicine. A typical pain management plan may include the following:
- Tylenol (acetaminophen)
- Nonsteroidal anti- inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen.
- Opioids (only as pain relievers, meaning they are prescribed if pain occurs despite taking the above medications)
You can control vaginal bleeding and discharge that can last for several weeks with sanitary pads. The bleeding should get thinner and easier over time. Avoid using vaginal products like tampons for six to eight weeks after your surgery.
Because it can take time for the intestines to function normally again, your healthcare provider may recommend the following to help relieve constipation:
- Liquids (eight to 10 glasses of water a day).
- Increase the amount of fiber in your diet.
- Take a stool softener like Colace and / or a laxative like Senokot
Lastly, if you have not yet gone through menopause naturally and had your ovaries removed during a hysterectomy, you will experience surgical menopause . This leads to immediate menopausal symptoms of varying severity, such as :
To minimize these symptoms, hormone replacement therapy may be recommended.
As you physically recover, seek help from others, whether it's opening a pharmacy, helping with your pet's care, or traveling to and from the doctor.
Also keep in mind that emotional changes are normal and common after a hysterectomy. Some women like the improvement of symptoms such as pelvic pain or vaginal bleeding. However, other women may feel sad or even depressed after a hysterectomy.
To deal with these various emotions, you might consider joining a support group or visiting a therapist. If you have symptoms of depression , see your doctor.
Get the word of drug information
For many women, life after a hysterectomy is a great improvement compared to solving the problems that made the operation necessary in the first place. However, recovering from a hysterectomy can be challenging and requires patience, alertness, and diligence. As your body heals, feel free to contact your surgical team if you have any questions or concerns.