Hysterectomy is a major gynaecological surgery in which all or part of a woman's uterus is removed, and sometimes the ovaries and fallopian tubes are removed as well. Similar to any other major surgery, recovery time can take several weeks after hysterectomy. It is a major surgery which has a big emotional and physical impact on many women, making it important to prepare properly.
Know about your surgery: Discuss with your doctor about the structures that will be removed in your hysterectomy, and the long term effects of removal of those organs.. After this surgery, you will not menstruate or be able to become pregnant. If the ovaries are also removed, you will enter menopause and may experience menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness. Consult your doctor to know about ways to manage menopausal symptoms.
Get fit: If hysterectomy is planned, try to lose some weight if you're overweight, and start doing exercises regularly to strengthen your heart. If you smoke, quit smoking to make recovery easier, and take iron supplement to increase blood levels if you are anaemic. If you are healthy and in good shape—you may need less time to recover and become fit after hysterectomy.
Discuss your medications: Follow your doctor’s recommendations regarding medications before the procedure. Women having diabetes, who are on insulin or oral drugs may need to alter the timing and dose of the medications. Consult your doctor to know about any change in dose or timing of medications both prescription and over-the-counter. You may be advised to stop taking some medications prior to surgery to prevent complications and interactions with anaesthesia. Besides medications, follow your doctor’s advice regarding eating and drinking a few hours before the procedure (such as avoid food and water after midnight). These are important for your safety and well-being.
Prepare for anaesthesia: Discuss with your doctor about your other health problems and allergies. It may help your doctor to know if it could cause a problem with your anaesthesia. Be sure to inform about any long term disease you may have, such as lung disease or heart disease and any previous problems you've had with anaesthesia.
Prepare for after surgery: After hysterectomy, complete recovery will take time and you may need rest for a few days. So take some time off from work and consider getting help from family or friends to handle your household work and children. According to experts, recovery after abdominal hysterectomy takes between four and eight weeks and after vaginal or laparoscopic hysterectomy, (which are less invasive) recovery period is about 1-2 weeks.
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