Now that your surgery is behind you, we are here to help you on the road to recovery! The information provided below is designed to assist you and help answer any questions that might come up after you are discharged by your physician. She may give you slightly different instructions depending on your particular situation; please follow your individualized instructions in the event of any discrepancy.
Following your discharge from the hospital, you should have a postoperative appointment scheduled for two weeks after surgery. If this is not the case, please call our office to schedule.
Frequent short walks are encouraged along with several rest periods throughout the day. You may resume driving once you have stopped taking narcotic pain medications and you feel as though you could quickly step on the brakes if something unexpected happened while driving. Housework should be limited for six weeks after surgery and very minimal in the first two weeks. Use common sense and do not lift more than 15-20 pounds for the six week recovery (a gallon of milk is a good upper limit of lifting). By two or three weeks after surgery, you may be ready for short outings such as dining out or an early movie.
Showering is preferable for the first two weeks after surgery. Once you have stopped bleeding, you may resume tub baths, but use only gentle cleansing products (no bubble baths, etc).
Following hysterectomy, you may have light spotting or bleeding for a few weeks. Your flow may increase around the 10th-12th day after surgery as the stitches in the vagina begin to dissolve. Usually a pantyliner is sufficient. Call your physician if your flow is heavy, such as soaking pads or passing large clots. Do not use tampons.
Small, frequent meals may be easier to digest than sitting down to three large meals a day. You may experience a decrease in appetite for the first couple weeks after surgery. Listen to your body and eat only what appeals to you. Drink plenty of fluids, usually six to eight glasses of water per day.
We recommend using an over-the-counter stool softener DAILY after leaving the hospital. Colace or Miralax are suggested. If needed, a Fleet enema can be used in addition. If you have had rectal surgery, please consult with your physician before using an enema. A bland diet also assists in prevention of gas formation and subsequent discomfort. We recommend using Gas-X or Mylanta liquid as needed for gas discomfort.
You may experience the need to void more often than usual for a few weeks after surgery. Occasionally, if the bladder becomes too full, you may experience “bladder spasms” as you are trying to empty. Voiding every two hours during the day and stopping fluids about two hours before bedtime can help prevent this discomfort. Please call your physician if you notice burning with urination or difficulty emptying your bladder. Make sure you keep up with hydration, drinking six to eight glasses of water daily. If you have had bladder surgery, you may be given additional specific instructions by your doctor.
You should call your physician with any temperature elevation of 100.4 degrees or above.
Any abdominal incisions will be “watertight” by 24 hours. Steri strips may be applied to these incisions and can be removed at your two week post-operative appointment. You may remove them sooner if they seem to be peeling off on their own. Occasionally, small separations and slight drainage occurs as the incision heals. You can clean the incision with alcohol swabs or peroxide. A heating pad may be used on your abdomen to facilitate healing and comfort, but please keep it on a low setting to prevent inadvertently burning your skin. If you notice increased drainage, redness, or worsening incisional pain, please call our office.
Surgery can increase your risk of blood clots. The best way to prevent blood clots is to take frequent, short walks once you are discharged from the hospital. You may also wear compression stockings, which can be purchased at any pharmacy. You may machine wash these stockings, but do not put them in the dryer. They should be taken off for 30 minutes twice a day and should not be so tight that you notice any numbness or tingling. Additionally, if you notice any redness, swelling or tenderness in the calf area of one leg, please call our office.
After a hysterectomy, the incision inside the vagina takes time to heal. Do not resume intercourse until you have had an exam with your physician and she has given you the “go ahead,” usually six to eight weeks after surgery. The vagina may be a little dry initially. Any over-the-counter lubricant (such as KY Jelly or Astroglide) can be used as needed.
Your physician will discuss any prescriptions you might need for pain following your discharge. We generally recommend taking 800mg of ibuprofen (Advil) every six hours as well as 1000mg acetaminophen (Tylenol) every six hours. These can be staggered to maximize pain relief. A narcotic pain medicine may be prescribed by your doctor to take in addition to these medications.
PLEASE NOTIFY OUR OFFICE OF THE FOLLOWING:
Fever over 100.4
Heavy vaginal bleeding
Pain not relieved by your prescribed medication
Burning with urination, blood in your urine, or difficulty emptying your bladder
More than three days without a bowel movement
Pain/swelling/redness in one leg, chest pain, or difficulty breathing
Redness, tenderness, heavy bleeding, or drainage from incision
We hope you have a smooth recovery from surgery! Please do not hesitate to contact us at
(303) 795-0890 with any questions or concerns.