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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
A hysterectomy is surgery to remove your uterus. Your ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix, or part of your vagina may also need to be removed. The organs and tissue that will be removed depends on your medical condition.
Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) for any of the following:
- You feel lightheaded, short of breath, and have chest pain.
- You cough up blood.
Seek care immediately if:
- Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
- You have increasing abdominal or pelvic pain.
- You have heavy vaginal bleeding that fills 1 or more sanitary pads in 1 hour.
- You have a fever.
Call your surgeon or gynecologist if:
- You have nausea or are vomiting.
- You feel pain or burning when you urinate, or you have trouble urinating.
- You have pus or a foul-smelling odor coming from your vagina.
- Your wound is red, swollen, or draining pus.
- You feel pressure in your rectum.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
You may need any of the following:
- Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
- NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
- Medicine may be given to help treat or prevent constipation.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
- Wear an abdominal binder as directed. An abdominal binder will decrease pain when you move or cough.
- Rest as needed. Get up and move around as directed to help prevent blood clots. Start with short walks and slowly increase the distance every day. Limit the number of times you climb stairs to 2 times each day. Plan most of your daily activities on one level of your home.
- Do not lift objects heavier than 10 pounds for 6 weeks. Avoid strenuous activity for 2 weeks.
- Do not strain during bowel movements. High-fiber foods and extra liquids can help you prevent constipation. Examples of high-fiber foods are fruit and bran. Prune juice and water are good liquids to drink.
- Do not have sex, use tampons, or douche for up to 8 weeks. Ask your healthcare provider if it is okay to take a tub bath.
- Do not go into pools or hot tubs for 6 weeks or as directed.
- Ask when it is safe for you to drive, return to work, and return to other regular activities.
Care for your abdominal incisions as directed. Carefully wash around the wound with soap and water. It is okay to let the soap and water run over your incision. Do not scrub your incision. Dry the area and put on new, clean bandages as directed. Change your bandages when they get wet or dirty. If you have strips of medical tape, let them fall off on their own. It may take 7 to 14 days for them to fall off. Check your incision every day for redness, swelling, or pus.
Take deep breaths and cough 10 times each hour. This will decrease your risk for a lung infection. Take a deep breath and hold it for as long as you can. Let the air out and then cough strongly. Deep breaths help open your airway. You may be given an incentive spirometer to help you take deep breaths. Put the plastic piece in your mouth and take a slow, deep breath, then let the air out and cough. Repeat these steps 10 times every hour.
This surgery may be life-changing for you and your family. You will no longer be able to get pregnant. Sudden changes in the levels of your hormones may occur and cause mood swings and depression. You may feel angry, sad, or frightened, or cry frequently and unexpectedly. These feelings are normal. Talk to your healthcare provider about where you can get support. You can also ask if hormone replacement medicine is right for you.
Follow up with your surgeon or gynecologist as directed:
You may need to return to have stitches removed, and for other tests. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
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