(Abdominal surgery, vaginal, abdominal, or laparoscopic hysterectomy)
It is important to introduce yourself to home-cooked food in a graduated fashion. Remember your abdominal cavity has been through some major trauma during the surgery and soft bland foods are always a best bet for starters. You may increase your diet as time goes on to include all your favorite foods.
For the first several days after your surgery, it is important for you to get as much rest as possible. You may feel very tired and weak. Anesthetic and pain medications accumulate in your body over the hospital course and are excreted slowly from the body over the next several days. You may go up and down stairs; this will not interrupt your surgical incision. You may do walking and riding in the car. Heavy exercise should be delayed until 6 weeks after the surgery unless otherwise instructed by your surgeon. Intercourse is forbidden for 4 weeks post-operatively unless there are special instructions given. Swimming and bathing are not allowed for two weeks. Driving is always a difficult issue. There are situations where stepping on the clutch and brake may be difficult in an emergency situation after an abdominal operation. It is advised that for one week after your surgery you do not drive if at all possible. It is also advised that you not lift any object over 20 lbs. Do not do heavy housework or other strenuous activities in the first several weeks post-operatively.
It is generally agreed that 6 weeks are allowed for recovery from a major abdominal operation, 2-3 weeks from laparoscopic surgery. This may be flexible. At this six week point it is also allowable to start doing heavier exercise, housework, etc. Be aware that your incision heals several days after your surgery. But it may take at least six weeks for the muscles to recover from the insult. Therefore, heavy exercise must be delayed until that time. If you have undergone bladder surgery for incontinence, it is important not to lift heavy objects for 3 months.
You should expect some vaginal spotting or a brownish discharge after a hysterectomy. If the bleeding becomes heavier and longer than a period, please call the office between 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM. If you begin to drain green pus from your incision more than a small spot on your bandage, please also call. Leave any steri-strips on the incision until they fall off. You may cut off the edges if they curl up. If you don't have steri-strips, 1/2 strength Hydrogen Peroxide may be used to clean the edges and Neosporin ointment or Bacitracin applied. You may apply heat (heating pad, hot water bottle, or towel) to your incisions for discomfort, swelling, redness, tenderness, or discharge. Please notify the office between 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM if your temperature rises to 101°F for greater than 24 hours, if you develop severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting or heavy diarrhea, swelling in the extremities (legs), severe fatigue, dizziness, or other symptoms.
You will be given a prescription for pain medication at home. It generally may contain a substance such as Codeine which may be constipating or make you slightly groggy. Over the counter medication such as Tylenol or Advil are often all that you need. Two Advil (200 mg.) every 3 to 4 hours is adequate for pain relief at home. You may use stool softeners, Bran, or Fibercon pills once you get home if you are person who suffers from constipation. Kaopectate 2 tablespoons can be used after each loose stool.
Due to the proximity of the uterus to the bowel, rectum, and bladder and the need for manipulation of all of these areas during this surgery, there will be some unusual sensations during urination and defecation. This is normal. You may feel that your bladder is squeezing or tightening at the end of the urination. If there is pain associated or bleeding from the bladder or severe urge to urinate with frequent urination, this may signal a bladder infection, and therefore you are to call the office. However, a squeezing sensation at the end of urination or a pressure on the rectal area is normal following a hysterectomy.
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