Discharge InstructionsWhen you are discharged from the hospital your doctor will give you written instructions for pain medications and when to call the doctor's office or head to ER. In most cases you should call or head out if you experience:
Always call your doctor's office with any concerns you have about your health.
Caring For Your IncisionSome types of hysterectomies have external incision/s that require tending. Discharge instructions from the hospital should contain specific instructions for caring for yours. If they do not, ask your surgeon or call their office.
You may come home from the hospital with stitches (or staples) or your stitches may be removed before you leave the hospital and replaced with steri-strips. Generally your incision should remain dry (or be dried carefully after a short shower) and covered loosely. A call to your doctor's office can calm your fears if your incision comes open. Be sure and rest and do not do any lifting. Overdoing things can stress your incision.
While a vaginal hysterectomy does not have external incisions, if you had anterior or posterior repairs, you may have an episiotomy-like incision, if so, the first thing to remember is to avoid sitting. For immediate relief, use a peri-bottle filled with water as hot as you can stand it to spray over the area, every time you visit the washroom. If you were not given one when you left the hospital, you can use a sterilized plastic condiment bottle: it will be just as efficient. Another option is to use a clean wash-cloth that has been thoroughly soaked in hot water.
Usually the 4-5 small incisions of a laparoscopic hysterectomy can be covered with bandaids. Although your incisions are small, internal healing must still take place. Be sure and rest enough so your body can heal properly.
Managing Pain Post-Op HysterectomyUpon discharge from the hospital, your surgeon will send you home with pain medication and instructions.
During the first week it's important that you follow your pain medication instructions, taking your pills on schedule. This is to insure that your pain will be manageable. Waiting or forgetting to take your pain medications may mean that your pain will increase and will be more difficult to "get on top of".
Denying yourself the pain meds might sound heroic but your body will have a difficult time healing from the incisions and repairs if it's spending its energy managing the pain.
Take your pain medications as instructed and call your physician with any questions or concerns.
The Pain Scale is a great way to communicate the intensity of your pain to your family and/or physician.
Andrea Mankowski, software designer and endometriosis sufferer, devised this pain scale to describe her pain to her family and her physicians. Although it is designed to describe pelvic pain, it can in fact be used to quantify pain anywhere in the body. If you research pain on the Web, you can find many references to this method of quantifying pain. Feel free to print this out and take it with you to your doctor appointments or to the hospital.
Constipation Post-OpIf you are experiencing the normal constipation from your surgery, here are a few things HysterSisters recommends:
Vaginal Bleeding Post-OpNo matter what kind of hysterectomy you had, chances are you will need to wear a pad for a few weeks as there will likely be vaginal bleeding post-op. As your healing continues, the bleeding will be less and less red and become more brownish. Around weeks 3 or 4 you may pass some stitches.
If your bleeding was lessening and one day you see much more blood and it is bright red, be sure and call your doctor's office. Lifting or doing too much may result in tearing of stitches which could cause extra bleeding and slow down your recovery. This is another reason to take things easy and allow your body to heal.
The odd odor you may become aware of can be a combination of things related to your hysterectomy. Healing vaginal stitches may be one of the culprits! Pain medications could also add to the odd odor. But remember: No douching allowed. Bladder Spasms Post-Op
During your hysterectomy it is likely you had a catheter inserted for urine collection. Although the catheter is usually removed within a few days of surgery, your bladder may be affected by its use.
Many women complain their bladders feel as though they have an infection. It may be that you have a bladder infection (especially if accompanied by a fever) however many discover that the bladder isn't infected but spasming. Your bladder is irritated during surgery by being moved and also by the use of the catheter. It may take your bladder a while to get back to feeling normal.
Check with your doctor on any concerns you have about your bladder. There are effective medications for bladder spasms or, if you have an infection, your doctor will need to put you on antibiotics.
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