A hysterectomy in Arizona is without a doubt a major surgical procedure. The recovery will take time and the patient will experience quite a bit of post-operative pain as they heal. Today we’re sharing 8 things you should expect following the procedure.
1. Hospital Stay: Patients who undergo an abdominal (in which the uterus is removed via an incision in the lower abdomen) or radical hysterectomy (where your cervix, parts of the vagina, and lymph nodes are removed along with the uterus) can expect a hospital stay of at least 2 to 3 nights. Less intensive vaginal (where the uterus is removed via an incision in the vagina) or laparoscopic (the uterus is removed in pieces via the abdomen) hysterectomies will require at least an overnight stay.
2. Prescription Painkillers: Your doctor will recommend prescription pain relief following such a major surgery in order to diminish pain and give the body the best opportunity to heal, as well as to prevent any infection at the incision site.
3. Insertion of a Catheter: A catheter is often inserted following a hysterectomy in Arizona to make urination possible for the first few days following surgery. However, it’s important to get up and get moving as soon as you can in order to regain strength and prevent blood clotting in your lower half.
4. Sanitary Feminine Pads: Vaginal bleeding will occur for several days to a week (spotting) following your hysterectomy, particularly if you have a vaginal incision. The use of sanitary feminine pads will keep you and your underclothes clean and prevent any embarrassing leaks. Keep in mind that wearing tampons is not recommended during this time.
5. Rest and Recovery: While your doctor will encourage you to move around and do gentle exercise (such as going for short walks) in the weeks following surgery, any movement that makes you strain or lifting heavy objects (i.e., shoveling snow, vacuuming, picking up kids or pets) is not recommended as it may reopen a surgical incision. You will also have to refrain from having sex for a minimum of six weeks.
6. Hormone Replacement Therapy: One major concern for women who have their fallopian tubes and ovaries removed is the quick dive into menopause and the associated hot flashes, irritability, and vaginal dryness that may kick in quickly and without warning. Your doctor may recommend hormone replacement therapy to ease menopausal symptoms (and provide the body with estrogen) following your hysterectomy. This is a very personal choice, and you should have an in-depth conversation with your doctor about your options.
7. Post-Op Check-Ups: Your doctor will expect to see you in the weeks and months following surgery to ensure that your incision is healing properly and to answer any questions and concerns you may have regarding the healing process, as well as lifestyle changes to make post-surgery.
8. Annual Pap Smears and Pelvic Exams: Having a hysterectomy does not mean you won’t need annual pap smears and pelvic exams. It is in your best interest to continue these on an annual basis, minus the pap if your cervix has been removed. Yearly pelvic exams and mammograms are a small inconvenience to pay in order to remain healthy and cancer-free.
Have questions or want additional information regarding hysterectomy in Arizona? Call our office today to schedule a consultation so we can discuss your goals and options that are available to help you reach them.