Natural remedies can help you to heal faster after a hysterectomy. Lemon balm and ginger teas can help to stimulate a diminished appetite. Vitamin C and Vitamin A help to strengthen the immune system while bromelain and devil's claw help with pain relief. During the healing process, be careful not to overdo with strenuous exercise or lifting heavy objects.
Is A Hysterectomy the Right Decision for You?
At some point in their lives, many women find themselves faced with the decision on whether or not to have a hysterectomy. For a young woman, the decision to remove the uterus and perhaps the ovaries can be traumatic. An older woman past the childbearing years may find the decision easier, but it is still difficult. This is a major surgery and requires careful consideration. Some of the most common reasons for a hysterectomy would include uterine or ovarian cancer, fibroids and endometriosis. If the condition has not spread, the hysterectomy could result in a complete cure.
There are several different types of hysterectomies, with varying recovery times. A total hysterectomy, either done vertically or along the bikini line, will normally require at least 3 days in the hospital and an 8 week recovery period. If the surgeon performs a laparoscopic hysterectomy or a robot-assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy, the patient may leave the hospital in 24 hours and have a 2-3 week recovery. Instead of one very large incision, a laparoscopic or robotic hysterectomy will only require 5 small incisions (each approximately 1" long). Before making a final decision, discuss the surgical options with your doctor.
Tips on Faster Healing After a Hysterectomy
Get Up and Walk!
A nurse will want you to get up and walk with assistance as soon as possible (usually within a few hours after surgery). The purpose of this is to reduce the chances of developing a dangerous blood clots in your legs (deep vein thrombosis). Once at home, don't become a couch potato. Walk a little at first, increasing the time and distance gradually.
Eat a Nutrient-Rich Diet - Even if You're Not Hungry
Your body is working extra hard trying to heal and needs fuel, but many people have little appetite after surgery.
Lemon balm tea (Melissa officinalis) is excellent to stimulate the appetite. Sip the tea often throughout the day. In Germany, lemon balm is officially recognized as a natural appetite stimulant. Lemon balm is also a natural sedative, helping you to get needed rest after surgery.
Ginger Tea Will Help with Post-Op Nausea
Anesthesia triggers nausea for many people, but ginger tea will help. Studies have found that ginger is safe and effective; some studies reported that ginger worked as well as some anti-nausea drugs.
Do Not Become Constipated
Becoming constipated after a hysterectomy would be dangerous and painful. Drink plenty of water. Many women find that an over-the-counter stool softener is helpful, but check with your doctor first.
Strengthen Your Immune System
After surgery, your immune system needs help. Antibiotics can suppress immunity. Nutritional reserves are busy repairing tissue and fighting infection. General anesthesia can temporarily lower T-cell activity. Antioxidants stores may be depleted.
Vitamin C enhances production of white blood cells, raises interferon levels and increases production of antibodies - all very important to faster healing. Researchers also report that Vitamin C helps to metabolize anesthetics and may even help to reduce post-op bleeding.
Vitamin A and beta-carotene (its pro-vitamin form) is a potent antioxidant, helps protect against infection and causes immune cells to function more efficiently. Many people take more Vitamin A than normal while convalescing. CAUTION: More than 100,000 IU a day over a long time can damage your liver. Beta-carotene isn't toxic to the liver and may be the best source of Vitamin A.
Glutamine and Arginine can boost immunity. Glutamine has been found to shorten hospital stays. Arginine assists with the production of proteins in blood serum. Both reduce the risk of post-op infection.
Green tea 'turns on' immune cells and may help to prevent bacterial infections. Some people take their medications with a cup of green tea.
Fo-ti (polygonum multiflorum) has been used for centuries in China to strengthen immune systems and as an antibacterial. It has also been found to be an antioxidant and to increase the formation of red blood cells.
Reishi and Maitake mushrooms stimulate immunity and help lessen post-op stress.
Fight Pain Naturally
Instead of using narcotic analgesics, natural pain relievers may be all you need. Many people do not like the side effects of these potent drugs.
Bromelain is an enzyme extracted from pineapples and has been approved in Germany for acute post-op swelling and as an anti-inflammatory. Researchers found that patients taking bromelain needed less pain medication, had less swelling and healed faster, with no adverse side effects.
Devil's Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) can help to reduce both inflammation and pain.
Don't Resume Your Normal Exercise Routine Immediately
A few days after surgery, women who have had laporascopic hysterectomies may be experiencing little pain. However, this does not mean that healing is complete - it isn't. Wait until the second week for light exercise, but hold off on heavy exercise until cleared by the doctor. Do not do any abdominal exercises for at least a month. Count on not resuming strenuous activity for 2 months, at least.
Do Not Lift Anything Over 10 Pounds
Lifting anything heavy requires the use of abdominal muscles and can increase the risk of developing a hernia.
Don't Drive Immediately After Surgery
Depending on the type of surgery, your doctor may advise that driving be postponed for a week or two. The reason for that is that emergency braking could put pressure on the abdomen and the incision.
Protect the Incision While It's Healing and Prevent Scarring
Follow discharge instructions for incision care in order to prevent the incision from becoming infected. Keep the incision clean, using soap and water; dry carefully. Notify doctor if there is swelling, redness, drainage, an open wound or if you develop a fever. Wear loose clothing.
Vitamin A is necessary for the creation of healthy tissue and for tissue repair. It also stimulates immunity and helps to protect against infection.
Vitamin C speeds wound healing and helps the creation of stronger tissue.
Zinc is vital for tissue repair and healing. Even a mild deficiency can delay the healing process.
Honey has been used for centuries as an effective treatment for wounds; it helps with infection and to reduce inflammation.
Coconut oil is very good for the skin.
Wait to have sex until it has been cleared by the doctor.
CAUTION: Any alternative medical therapies used to speed healing after a surgery should be cleared with your physician in order to ensure that there will be no harmful drug interactions or other complications with your existing post-operative treatments.
Contact us and let us know what helped you to heal after your hysterectomy.
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