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WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- An abdominal hysterectomy (AH) is surgery to take out your uterus (womb). The uterus is the reproductive organ in a woman's body where a baby grows during pregnancy. Your reproductive organs work together to help you have a baby. Your cervix is the narrow part of your uterus that is next to or above your vagina. During an AH, your uterus is removed through an incision (cut) in your lower abdomen (stomach). Other reproductive organs may be removed depending on the type of surgery you are having. After your uterus is removed, you will not be able to have a baby.
- You may need an abdominal hysterectomy if you have a tumor (growth) in your uterus or other reproductive organs. You may need an AH if you have an infection in your uterus, or to treat very bad pain caused by a disease called endometriosis. You may need to have an AH if you have problems with your menses (a woman's monthly period). You may need an urgent abdominal hysterectomy if you cannot stop bleeding right after you have a baby. After an abdominal hysterectomy, problems such as pain and bleeding may decrease or stop.
Take your medicine as directed:
Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not working as expected. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why you take them. Take the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists.
- Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.
- Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.
- Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.
- Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.
- Antinausea medicine: This medicine may be given to calm your stomach and to help prevent vomiting.
- Blood thinners: Blood thinners are medicines that help prevent blood clots from forming. Clots can cause strokes, heart attacks, and death. Blood thinners make it more likely for you to bleed or bruise. If you are taking a blood thinner:
- Watch for bleeding from your gums or nose. Watch for blood in your urine and bowel movements. Use a soft washcloth on your skin and a soft toothbrush on your teeth. This can keep your skin and gums from bleeding. If you shave, use an electric shaver. Do not play contact sports, such as football.
- Be aware of what medicines you take. Many medicines cannot be used when taking medicine to thin your blood. Tell your dentist and other caregivers that you take blood-thinning medicine. Wear or carry medical alert information that says you are taking this medicine.
- Take this medicine exactly as your caregiver tells you. Tell your caregiver right away if you forget to take the medicine, or if you take too much. You may need to have regular blood tests while on this medicine. Your caregiver uses these tests to decide how much medicine is right for you.
- Talk to your caregiver about your diet. This medicine works best when you eat about the same amount of vitamin K every day. Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables and other foods, such as cooked peas and kiwifruit.
Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:
For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.
- You may need blood tests and other tests such as x-rays or an ultrasound during follow-up visits. Ask your caregiver for more information about tests and treatments that you may need after your abdominal hysterectomy.
Ask your caregiver to tell you how to care for the wound on your abdomen.
CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:
- You have a fever (high body temperature).
- You have pain during sexual intercourse.
- Your stitches come apart, or your abdominal wound is red, swollen and draining fluid.
- You feel new pain or fullness in your vagina.
- You feel like something is sticking out of your vagina.
- You have questions or concerns about your surgery, medicine, or care.
SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:
- You are bleeding from your vagina, and it is not stopping.
- You have chest pain or trouble breathing that is getting worse over time.
- You suddenly feel lightheaded and have trouble breathing.
- You have new and sudden chest pain. You may have more pain when you take deep breaths or cough. You may cough up blood.
- Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
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