Healing After Hysterectomy
A partial hysterectomy is a surgical procedure to remove a woman’s uterus. In some cases, a total hysterectomy is performed, removing the cervix, ovaries, and uterus. More than 600,000 women have hysterectomies yearly. Doctors will recommend the procedure for women struggling with conditions like abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB), uterine prolapse, endometriosis, or cervical cancer. Some women who are done having children will remove the uterus as a form of permanent birth control. Whatever the reason, the patient will need to heal at home after surgery. Taking the proper precautions will ensure a smooth recovery.
The laparoscopic approach
There are different ways to remove the uterus, including open surgery or vaginal hysterectomy. However, most procedures occur via laparoscopy. This procedure uses small incisions and a device to access and view the uterus. From there, the surgeon uses small incisions and tools to remove the uterus and ovaries if necessary. Most patients take 6-8 weeks to heal and return to daily activities. Since laparoscopic surgery is minimally invasive, the patient leaves on the same day, and almost all the recovery happens at home. The following tips can ensure a smooth, safe recovery at home.
Take it easy
A hysterectomy will result in some post-operative pain. However, the pain may not be intense for some women. These patients may be tempted to quickly jump back into everyday activities, such as work and household chores. However, any patient undergoing a hysterectomy requires rest for the wounds to heal. Avoid lifting heavy objects, bending over, lifting children, or other everyday tasks. Mix in rest in bed with short walks to improve circulation and reduce swelling.
Manage your wounds
There will be multiple incisions in the abdominal area. The surgeon will recommend wound care to prevent post-op infections from occurring. Wound care involves cleaning and changing bandages. The patient will be responsible for keeping the wound clean and dry. After 1 week, most of the wounds will be healed. If any signs of infection appear, such as pain, fever, or an unusual discharge, contact the doctor immediately for proper treatment.
A hysterectomy can take a physical and emotional toll on the body. Therefore, adopting a healthy self-care routine helps with healing and recovery. Start with a healthy diet and lots of water to stay hydrated. Meditation, light yoga, and massage can help relieve stress and improve circulation. Studies also show that acupuncture can help improve recovery. Some women will have changing hormones due to the immediate onset of surgical menopause. The medical team may recommend supplements or medication to manage symptoms.
Take healing seriously
Although minimally invasive, a laparoscopic hysterectomy is still a surgery that requires a period of healing. Most patients will see improvement in symptoms almost immediately, but a safe, simple recovery strategy is still necessary. Focus on rest, light movement, wound care, and self-care. If there are any signs of complications, speak with the doctor as soon as possible.