Welcome to the other side! The one with less pain, more energy and fewer worries. Now that you’ve finally had that only-a-matter-of-time hysterectomy, you must feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders. Or your uterus. Now, as you embrace the comfort, cheer and good tidings that this next phase has to bring, accelerate your recovery with simple dos and don’ts that will hold you in good stead.
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Understanding a Hysterectomy
If you’ve heard the word but aren’t quite sure what it means, here’s where you catch up. A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of the uterus. It may be advised in an array of cases, including that of uterine fibroids, uterine prolapse, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, endometriosis, severe pelvic pain, excessive vaginal bleeding and adenomyosis. A hysterectomy, if suggested for a non-cancerous case, is usually a last resort after all other possible treatments have been exhausted. A hysterectomy may be laparoscopic or abdominal, performed vaginally or through a low transverse abdominal incision respectively.
1. Dos After a Hysterectomy
- Wash the stitched up area daily with an antiseptic soap
- Dry the stitched up area adequately to prevent moisture from settling
- Watch for signs of infection such as fever, redness, swelling and wound discharge
- Pick breathable, airy clothes that sit lightly, to allow the wound area to heal
- Increase your intake of fluids, fresh fruits and vegetables to boost your nutritional intake and to help ward off secondary conditions like constipation
- Include protein on your plate to help your tissues heal faster
- Ask your gynaecologist for calcium and vitamin D supplements to help build bone strength and keep fractures at bay
- Rest well and get at least 8 hours of sleep every night
- Pick relaxing activities like yoga and meditation to relax your mind and keep your body flexible and healthy
2. Don’ts After a Hysterectomy
- Keep saturated fats off your plate
- Avoid picking up heavy weights; the resultant pressure could press against your stitches, increasing the risk of a hernia
- Avoid reverting to your pre-hysterectomy exercise routine right away; a 4-week recovery period is advisable but your doctor may recommend a specific timeline based on your progress and medical condition
- Wait to resume sexual intimacy until your doctor gives you the go-ahead; it usually takes 6 to 8 weeks before you’ve recuperated enough to be able to have sexual intercourse safely
- Keep your vagina product-free to avoid contamination, and use sanitary pads for any post-procedural bleeding; say no to vaginal lubricants and tampons
- Refrain from pushing your body; a little activity is good but severe fatigue or dizziness warrants a call to the doctor
It’s important to be forgiving of your body as it adjusts to its new state. And as you heal, be mindful of the little things that could set you back. With these dos and don’ts, you can point yourself to life in the fast lane again.