Hysterectomy is surgery to have the uterus removed. If the fallopian tubes and ovaries are also removed, it is called bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy with total hysterectomy. Lymph nodes in the pelvic and abdominal areas may also be removed. This sheet will help you take care of yourself at home after one of these procedures.
Make sure you:
Understand what you can and cannot do.
Keep your follow-up appointments.
Call your healthcare provider if you have any question or are concerned about any symptoms.
You may have to limit some activities for a period of time after surgery. You may need extra rest throughout the day. But, try to get up and move around as you are able. Ask family members or friends to help with shopping, meals, housework, and other tasks. Talk with your nurses or other hospital staff about having an aid through a home healthcare agency, if needed.
Make sure you know:
When you can use stairs. Go slowly and pause after every few steps. Have someone with you at first.
When you can do house or yard work or return to your job
Whether or not you can lift heavy objects
When you can begin driving. Don't drive if you are taking pain or other medicine that causes drowsiness
To help with your recovery and avoid complications you should:
Take only the medicines that are prescribed by your healthcare provider. These include herbs, vitamins, and other supplements.
Take pain medicine as directed.
Do the coughing and breathing exercises that you learned in the hospital.
Try to avoid constipation:
Eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Drink plenty of water and other healthy drinks.
Call your healthcare provider if you are having trouble with bowel movements. You may be prescribed a medicine.
Some procedures have cuts in the skin (incisions) and some do not. Talk with your healthcare provider or nurse about taking care of any incisions.
Talk with your healthcare provider or nurse about managing any bandages you may have.
Know when you can shower or take a bath.
Avoid putting anything in your vagina. Do not use tampons or douches or have sex until your doctor says it’s OK.
Tell your doctor if you have hot flashes or mood swings. There are medicines that can help you if needed.
Make a follow-up appointment as directed by your healthcare provider. If you're going to get more cancer treatment after surgery, be sure you understand the plan and what you can do to be ready for treatment.
Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following:
Fever of 100.4°F (38.0°C) or higher, or chills
Bright red vaginal bleeding or a foul smelling discharge
Vaginal bleeding that soaks more than one sanitary pad per hour
Trouble urinating or burning when you urinate
Severe pain or bloating in your belly
Redness, swelling, or drainage at your incision site
Persistent nausea or vomiting
Chest pain or shortness of breath
Swelling in your legs
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