If, for whatever reason, a hysterectomy looms in your future, there are many things you can do ahead of time to ease the process. While surgery of any kind is no one’s idea of fun, with a little forethought and planning, you can ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible.
When it comes to surgery, there’s very rarely any good news. In your case, however, it’s more than likely that you’re undergoing a hysterectomy to seek relief from heavy bleeding, pain, or some other medical problem. Now, add the fact that Dr. Gary Willen of Tahoe Women’s Care is highly-experienced in the latest robotic surgical technology, which affords women in Carson City, Nevada, greatly-reduced downtime and risk. All of a sudden, your hysterectomy may seem like a fair trade for a future of good health.
To prepare yourself for your hysterectomy, we’ve gathered a few tips that will help you better weather your surgery and your recovery.
Load up on fitness
Since you won’t be able to engage in much activity for a few weeks after your surgery, put some fitness in the bank. Add a few workouts to your routine so that you’re fighting fit for your surgery, and you won’t feel guilty about a little inactivity during your recovery.
Besides, losing a few pounds, if you’re overweight, or improving your cardiovascular health before any surgery is a good idea.
As long as we’re talking about fitness, you’d do well to add a hefty dose of Kegel exercises to your daily routine. Kegel exercises strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, and once we remove your uterus, you’ll need those muscles more than ever to keep your other organs in place.
Talk to your partner
Physically, you won’t be able to participate in sexual intercourse for six weeks after your procedure. Mentally, you may need more time than that. Talk to your partner ahead of time to make sure the lines of communication are open during every step of this journey.
Understand the consequences
There are different variations of hysterectomies, and your doctor determines if other organs are removed in addition to your uterus. If your ovaries are removed at the same time -- called an oophorectomy -- your body goes into menopause, since your ovaries won’t be producing reproductive hormones anymore.
The effect this hormonal change will have on you is hard to predict. Some women sail through menopause while others are plagued by side effects like hot flashes and painful sex for years.
Feel free to ask us anything you’d like about menopause so that you can be prepared for the road ahead. We don’t want you to assume that it’s going to be a bumpy journey, but it’s always good to have an idea of the potential impact. As well, we can fill you in on all of the wonderful new treatments for menopause, so please know it’s not a life sentence.
When it comes to your hysterectomy, we’re able to use the latest surgical techniques, including both laporscopy and the da Vinci® robotic system. This means we only need to make very small incisions to do the work, rather than using the traditional method of cutting across your abdominal muscles. As a result, your postoperative downtime shrinks from four to six weeks to only one to two weeks.
That said, it’s still surgery, and though the incisions may be small, you’ll still need to take it easy for a while afterward. To help you get through this time, make plans beforehand for any chores and tasks that you might need help with.
For example, enlist friends and family to do some of the heavy lifting around the house for the first couple of weeks, from mowing the lawn to vacuuming. The more you can get covered ahead of time, the better able you’ll be to get down to the business of healing.
As the date of your surgery approaches, we’ll give you a list of preoperative instructions. We ask that you follow these carefully to make sure the procedure is as routine as possible. Cheating on the eating restrictions, for example, may leave you feeling very ill after the anesthesia. And you don’t want to be vomiting with abdominal incisions.
We understand that a hysterectomy is a big decision, and we’re here to help you every step of the way. Please call us with any questions you may have before your procedure. Your comfort and success are important to us.