Hysterectomy is a surgery to remove the uterus. Along with the uterus, the ovaries, cervix, fallopian tubes and the upper portion of the vagina may also be removed. There are different procedures. In Total Abdominal Hysterectomy, the uterus is removed through an incision made in the abdomen. In Vaginal Hysterectomy, it is removed through the vagina. In Laparoscopically Assisted Vaginal Hysterectomy, tools are used to detach the organs to be removed and it is taken out through the vagina. The uterus is removed through the navel in Laparoscopic Supra Cervical Hysterectomy. There are many side-effects too, and swelling is one of the most common ones.
Tips to Help you Reduce the Swelling
➟ The best and most effective tip is to rest. Hysterectomy is a major surgery and the body needs some time to heal. Recovery takes anywhere from 2-6 weeks, depending on the surgical procedure. In this period, refrain from excessive physical activity. In the initial weeks, severe discomfort may be experienced, spend this time reading, listening to music and anything that relaxes you. Avoid lifting heavy objects, excessive walking or any form of exercise, as this will stress the muscles and cause them to swell.
➟ Try application of ice packs to reduce swelling. Inflammation of the tissues around the cuts causes swelling. Low temperature will reduce this inflammation as a result of which the swelling will decrease. However, be careful to not place the ice pack directly on the skin. Wrap it in a towel or cloth and use it on the swollen area. Do not leave the pack on for a long time or the area may become numb. Low temperature not only fastens the healing process but also reduces any pain that you may be experiencing due to the swelling.
➟ Medication can also help reduce swelling after a hysterectomy. Most doctors prescribe anti-inflammatory medication before the patient is discharged from the hospital. In case, your doctor has not, ask for it. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs which are available over the counter can also be taken to reduce swelling. Along with medication, over the counter pain killers may also be taken. However, it's always better to consult your doctor before taking any medicine.
➟ Compression is also beneficial for those suffering from swelling after hysterectomy. Compression decreases the collection of fluids in the surrounding tissues. Compression bands can be used, they reduce any discomfort caused due to shifting after the surgery. Compression underwear may also be used. It applies pressure which increases comfort and decreases swelling. However, one must ensure it fits well. In case it is too tight, it will increase the swelling instead of reducing it.
➟ During the recovery time, try to get some help. It is advisable to have someone by your side during the initial weeks, so you do not have to do any of the household chores yourself. Also, check with your doctor on what you can and cannot include in your diet. Try to avoid alcohol, smoking and heavy food. At any time if there is a sudden increase in swelling or the pain becomes unbearable, do not hesitate to call your doctor.
Hysterectomy is a major surgery and the incisions need time to heal. Swelling is common after the surgery. Do not stress yourself or else you will just aggravate the condition. The recovery time depends on the type of procedure and various other factors. Check with your doctor as to when you can resume exercise, intercourse and other every day activities. It's just a matter of time before you get your pre-surgery fitness back.