What can you do after a Laparoscopic Hysterectomy? Here are 10 must-ask questions to ask your doctor before getting the surgery.
But first, Holy Cow, I’m Getting a Laparoscopic Hysterectomy!
Okay, when I first found out I needed to get a Laparoscopic Hysterectomy I was like, “huh?” and “what!” and then I felt dumbfounded because I knew what it was, but I had no idea what it entailed.
Like the sleep deprived mother I am, I walked out of my doctor’s office without a question having been asked and went food shopping.
As I perused the fruits and veggies, I started to think of my impending surgery. When I got home, I did what any one of us would do… I got on the internet. Worst mistake ever!
I was so frustrated I literally shouted at the top of my lungs, “Is there a place I can visit other than the internet to learn the in’s and out’s of what I CAN DO after a Laparoscopic Hysterectomy?”
Seriously, everything on the internet describes what I cannot do after a Laparoscopic Hysterectomy but there is nothing that tells me first hand what I CAN DO after the surgery.
The Meltdown Before Laparoscopic Hysterectomy
Can I take a poo? How do I take a poo without it hurting? What is the earliest I can have sex? If I live in a multi-level home, should I stay in the room nearest to the bathroom to limit the amount of walking I do? How many days will it take for me to be able to walk without pain? How far can I walk immediately after the surgery? When can I increase the distance, say from my living room to the kitchen to walking from my living room to the backyard?
How about stairs — when can I go up and down stairs? How do I get out of bed? Should I roll out of bed? Can I sleep on my side or should I stay sleeping on my back? What foods can I eat other than stool softener and fiber? Will I be able to jog again and do other high intensity exercises or will I always have to fear something falling out?
All of these questions and a million more are swimming through my head. I’m literally 7 days out before my surgery and I’m a nervous wreck. Not because of the surgery itself. Only because there wasn’t too much in the way of directions on what I could do after I get home.
There are a million articles online that explain what I can’t do.
They all say the same things, “Don’t lift anything heavy,”, well what constitutes as heavy? Is it a gallon of milk or is it a dining chair? “Try not to bend over.”, but I have to use the bathroom at some point so how do I do that without bending? Do I just pee and poop in the shower like a toddler in potty training?
I keep hearing statements like, “Eat fibrous foods.”, and “Take a stool softener.”, and “No sex.”, and “Don’t do too much.”.
Really? I’m a mother of four… how the heck am I supposed to stop doing anything!
Now that you’ve heard the inner musings of a worried woman embarking on a new chapter in her life, I’m going to share with everyone a bit of what I DID learn on what I can do post-surgery.
10 Questions to Ask Your Doctor for After Laparoscopic Hysterectomy
#1 What does it mean when you say, “no heavy lifting”? Ask your doctor this question and tell your doctor to be specific. Ask the doctor to give you examples of what you can lift versus what you can’t lift. I was told no heavy lifting but when I asked more in-depth questions, I found out that I could lift up to the size of a half gallon of milk but not more than that.
#2 Can I bend over to pick stuff up? If you’re a parent like I am, then you know that you spend countless parts of your day cleaning random things off the floor. Legos, socks, pants, crayons, toys, snack wrappers, empty juice packs, etc., so you know that bending is a must. Ask your doctor if you can bend right after surgery. If he says no, get more specific and ask how many days before you’ll be able to bend over to pick stuff up off the floor.
#3 How many days in advance should I start to take stool softener? Okay this one is a pretty serious one. Every day when you use the bathroom, you use your abdomen muscles to help you expel waste. When you get a laparoscopic hysterectomy, you have to be careful with how you strain yourself on the toilet. Try to get an idea of when to start taking a stool softener to help with not straining. Ask how many days before the surgery. Don’t let the doctor be vague. Suggest a number like 5, 7, or 10 days to get an idea.
#4 When can I get back to exercising? This is a tricky question. Some people consider low intensity walking as exercise while others consider running a 5k or doing cross fit as exercise. Tell your doctor the kind of exercise you normally do, then ask what kind of exercise can you do and when. Ask if on day 1, walking from your bed to the bathroom is too much. Then ask if by day 5, you can go further and use stairs.
#5 Should I continue taking my daily meds or stop them? This is important as well. You may be on medications for certain health-related reasons or maybe you simply take supplements for fitness. So, it’s necessary to ask your doctor which medications are required to stop taking prior to the surgery and which ones you can remain on. The same goes for any supplements or vitamins you may be on. Also, be sure to ask how many days prior to a surgery should you stop taking these items.
#6 Will I ever get another period? This one seems like a ridiculous question but one that I definitely felt I needed to ask. So when I did, he mentioned that I may still bleed for a bit after the surgery and that it was totally normal but the periods would end indefinitely.
#7 What side affects will this have on my hormones? When you suffer with PCOS and endometriosis like I do, your hormones are always out of whack. You’re always retaining water, you’re always bloated, plus you’re always suffering with mood swings, exhaustion and acne. So, it’s very important to ask if hormone replacement will be necessary after the surgery at any point in order to regulate what you’ll be losing. In my case, I was told no for the beginning and that maybe in the future I may need it.
#8 Will this procedure prevent uterine, cervical, ovarian, or fallopian cancer? Again, another important question. When I asked I was told yes for the parts being removed. So, in my case, my ovaries are staying. The rest are coming out. So, there could still be a chance for ovarian cancer in the future.
#9 How will the other organs be held up once the procedure is done? There used to be a mesh used after this type of surgery was done. In 2019, the FDA banned the used of meshes. So, now there are things like a trans-vaginal sling to use. However, according to my doctor, he’s going to use my own tissue and ligaments to hold everything else in place. He said this was to prevent me from having to need another surgery in the future.
#10 When can I have sex? This is the big one for me. Yes, I’m a mom but I’m still a woman and sex is still very important to me. So, I really wanted to know. My doctor told me two weeks was all I needed to wait as long as there were no complications post-surgery. Depending on the severity of the surgery, some could have to wait between 2 and 6 weeks before they can embark in having sex.