Diet Tips During Recovery After Hysterectomy

Hysterectomy is a surgical procedure which consists in removing the uterus. A total or partial hysterectomy can be performed, sometimes even accompanied by the removal of the ovaries. The recovery period after hysterectomy will take some time. What you eat during this recovery period is very important. Recovery diet should include only healthy foods which will provide you all the necessary minerals, vitamins, and nutrients to recover faster. A healthy diet will prevent you from gaining weight, which is a common occurrence after hysterectomy. For any questions you might have about your diet during the hysterectomy recovery, consult with your gynecologist.

Hysterectomy Recovery Diet

A healthy diet while recovering from a hysterectomy surgery is important.

Foods that are rich in fibers are recommended. They will also regulate your bowel movements which can be a problem after the surgery. Some foods that are rich in fibers include avocado, blueberries, raspberries, pears, Brussels sprouts, barley, leafy greens, etc.

Eat foods that have proteins and healthy fats. Such foods include nuts, seeds, olive oil, etc.

Eat fresh products instead of frozen, canned, or processed foods. Eating colorful foods is also healthy. From red foods, you can choose red peppers, strawberries, etc. From green foods, you can choose green peppers, broccoli, etc. From yellow foods, you can choose yellow pepper, lemon, ginger, etc. From orange foods, you can choose mango, carrots, etc.

Drink plenty of fluid. This is one important part of hysterectomy recovery diet. Make sure to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. If you prefer juices instead of water, drink apple juice, cranberry juice, or orange juice. 

The repair of body tissue requires vitamin C, iron, zinc, and proteins.

  • Eat eggs and fish as they are rich in proteins.
  • Fruits smoothies made with low-fat milk or low-fat yogurt should be part of your diet.
  • Low-fat foods will help you maintain a balanced body weight and prevent you from gaining weight.
  • Lean meat and some fruits such as oranges, strawberries, or blueberries should be part of your hysterectomy recovery period as well.

Prevent diseases with phytoestrogens. After the surgery, it is normal to have a weaker immune system which will increase your chances of developing other health conditions. Scientists suggest eating foods that contain phytoestrogens as they can help prevent conditions related to the loss of estrogen due to the removal of the ovaries and uterus. Foods rich in phytoestrogens are whole grains, soy milk, tofu, flaxseed, edamame, etc. Include them in your hysterectomy recovery diet.

More Tips on Hysterectomy Recovery

Wound Care/Hygiene

Taking good care of your wound is very important during the recovery period. First of all, it is very important to keep it dry and clean. Here are some tips how to take proper care of your surgical wound:

  • Wash the wound, as well as, your intimate area using a mild soap and warm water.
  • After washing yourself carefully, gently dry the area by patting it instead of rubbing.
  • Check your wound for any signs of infection such as redness, tenderness, or swelling.
  • Wear comfortable and loose clothes which will not irritate or rub your wound.
  • Don’t use tampons, or douching products for at least 8 weeks after the surgery. You should not put anything in your vagina for this period.
  • Avoid direct sun exposure immediately after the surgery.
  • If you have a drain, then make sure to clean and dry the area around the drain carefully. Also, check the amount of fluid that is drained from the wound. If there is a large amount of fluid coming out from the drain or if this fluid becomes bloody, then seek immediate medical help.
  • You will probably have metal clips, known as staples on the wound which will help the incision heal. These staples are usually removed 10 to 14 days after the surgery. Once the staples are removed, steri-strips are applied.

Physical Activities

The recovery period after hysterectomy surgery varies from one person to the other. Beside hysterectomy recovery diet, rest, and plenty of sleep, physical activity is also important. First, you can start by walking around the house before engaging in other activities and before doing any other physical exercise. Once you feel strong enough start by walking up and down the stairs. Later you can start doing other exercises.

Listen to your body and take all the time needed. Don’t force yourself too much. If you feel weak or tired just sit down or lie down, stop what you are doing and take some rest. Make sure not to lift any heavy objects in the first few weeks after the surgery in order not to strain the abdominal area and the groin area. 

Usually, you will be able to drive again about 2 weeks after the surgery.

Bathing

Keeping the incision wound dry and clean is very important while recovering from hysterectomy surgery in order to avoid any wound infection and other complications. Showering is usually allowed once you get back home from the hospital, but you should pay attention so the water does not directly hit on the wound.

Instead, you should allow the water to run over your incision wound. It is also important to gently wash away any dried material from around the wound. After having a shower, dry the area around the wound and the wound itself slowly and gently by patting it with a clean towel, instead of rubbing.

Bathtubs are usually not recommended for the first 4 weeks after the surgery, or at least until your wound has healed completely. Bathing too soon after the surgery will increase your chances of getting an infection and other possible complications associated with hysterectomy surgery.

Sexual Activity

In general, you should not have sexual intercourse for the first 8 weeks following the surgery. However, you should consult with your healthcare provider for this problem as well.

Tampons and even douche products are also not allowed for the first 8 weeks following the hysterectomy surgery.

Medications

Prescription pain medications, as well as, anti-inflammatory medications are usually prescribed during the hysterectomy recovery. Mild to moderate pain is quite normal once you go home so these medications will help you relieve the pain and discomfort. If the pain is not relieved with medications then you should consult with your healthcare provider.

Take the medications just as your doctor instructed you. Make sure to take any other medication that you have been taking before the surgery for other health problems unless your doctor has instructed you not to take them or has replaced any medication. If you have any questions or concerns about the medications you take or should be taking after the surgery, call your healthcare provider anytime.

Body Changes

Certain body changes are normal while recovering from hysterectomy. You will probably have vaginal discharge up to 8 weeks after the surgery. In the first few days following the surgery, this vaginal discharge is bloody but tends to get lighter and thinner as days pass.

An increased vaginal bleeding is likely to occur two weeks after the surgery. There is no need for you to worry about as this is quite normal and will resolve on its own within 24 hours. However, if this increased vaginal bleeding persists or becomes heavier than you should, consult your healthcare provider immediately.

If both ovaries are removed together with your uterus during the surgery, you will experience the signs and symptoms of menopause. Common signs and symptoms of menopause are:

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness, etc.

When to Seek Medical Help?

You should call your healthcare provider and seek medical help if you experience any of the following:

  • High fever and chills
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain around your surgical incision area or abdominal pain that tends to get worse
  • Redness, tenderness or swelling of the wound and around it
  • Heavy vaginal bleeding
  • A foul odor coming from the vagina
  • Painful urination
  • Inability to urinate
  • Prolonged constipation
  • Diarrhea, etc.

You should seek immediate medical help and call the emergency if you notice shortness of breath, chest pain, heart palpitations, calf pain, etc.

 
 
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