Preparing yourself before hysterectomy surgery would involve gearing yourself up mentally and physically for the operation. Though hysterectomy is a safe and ‘normal’ procedure, it is still a major operation that involves the removal of either the entire uterus or parts of it.
Depending on the medical condition, the ovaries and the fallopian tubes could also be involved in the surgery. It is a well documented fact that most women scheduled for hysterectomy do undergo varying degrees of emotional and physical trauma. Preparing yourself before a hysterectomy procedure would help you to cope with the situation.
Preparing for Hysterectomy: The Physical Aspects
Once the hysterectomy diagnosis has determined the surgery as a form of treatment, you have to take care of several physical aspects before hysterectomy. These include:
(i) Getting fit and healthy. If you are overweight, enrol yourself for a healthy weight loss program before hysterectomy. Aerobics, brisk walking and a nutritious diet can help your body become stronger before D-Day arrives.
(ii) If you are a smoker, steel yourself for a few days of abstinence. Getting nicotine free will definitely help you to recover faster from your operation.
Preparing for Hysterectomy: The Emotional Aspects
It’s quite natural to undergo some emotional turmoil before hysterectomy. Most women have several questions regarding their sex life in the future. Younger women scheduled for hysterectomy may be traumatised by the fact that they will be unable to have children in future. It is important to get emotionally strong before hysterectomy. This can be done by:
(i) Reading up on the topic as much as possible.
(ii) Talk openly with your doctor about your fears. He will help you deal with them or put you in touch with a professional counsellor.
(iii) Do not be hesitant about reaching out to your family for support.
(iv) Know the risks that could arise from hysterectomy complications. Find out from your doctor what exactly your hysterectomy entails. Knowing exactly what will happen to your body will help you to cope better with the changes.
Preparing for Hysterectomy: The Medical Aspects
You will need to undergo several tests before hysterectomy. The medical preparations would include:
(i) Tell your doctor about all the current medications that you are on. He will advice you on which drugs may have to be discontinued temporarily. You will probably be told not to take any anti-inflammatory medication as they inhibit clotting of blood post surgery.
(ii) Have a talk with your anesthesiologist. You will have to give a detailed description about your medical condition.
(iii) Donate your blood in case it is required during surgery. This must be done at least 10 days prior to the operation.
(iv) Other tests would include a physical exam, pelvic exam and blood tests. If you are over 40 or have diabetes or heart problems, you would be required to undergo an ECG.
Preparing for Hysterectomy: The Practical Aspects
A hysterectomy would require a hospital stay of at least two days. You will also be expected to take things easy for a few days post-surgery. The practical aspects to be taken into consideration include:
(i) Buy some loose comfortable clothes to wear after the surgery to ensure that there is no irritation of the incision site.
(ii) Since you are going to be out of circulation for a few days, make the necessary preparations at home. Prepare and freeze food, do your grocery shopping and let friends and family know that you may call on them for help.
(iii) Buy a few good books or DVDs to keep yourself entertained post surgery.
(iv) A full body pillow is a good buy as it will help you cushion your abdomen while lying in bed.
The trauma of undergoing a hysterectomy can be considerably reduced if you are systematic about your preparations. Preparing for your hysterectomy will also help you to recover faster from the surgery.