What can I do for myself to make recovery from surgery easier?
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Written by IAPMD
Updated over a week ago

Oophorectomy (+/- hysterectomy) is major surgery, and recovery can be a complex process.  Being psychologically and physically prepared is key. You can help make it easier for yourself by preparing your home and organizing extra help in advance.

Download the following information in a handy document here:

Preparing Yourself Mindset for Post-Operative Recovery (Advice from fellow patients who have been through the surgery)

  • "Orient yourself to (and print off) the recovery timesheet in the downloads section"

  • "You only get one chance to recover - so plan to take it easy, even if you are feeling OK. There are LOTS of internal stitches and it’s easy to do yourself some damage by overdoing things" 

  • "Be kind to yourself and plan to do things in your own time. Listen to your body and cut yourself some slack. We are conditioned to think we need to be ‘busy’ and ‘useful’ all the time, but it’s one time you need to just sit back, rest, relax, move gently and recover"

  • "Organize some therapy to start a few weeks post-op to get your head around starting a new chapter of your life." 

  • "Undergoing surgery is trauma, while it is physical trauma it has a heavy impact on our mental and emotional health too. So does the anesthesia! Rest is so very important and if pushed too fast too much can set back even the best recovery from any surgery. Our bodies need weeks and months to heal. Your brain will too"

Preparing Your Family and Friends (Advice from fellow patients who have been through the surgery)

Orient everyone you live with to the recovery timesheet (in the downloads section) and have it on the fridge for anyone else in the house to see so they can be fully aware of expected recovery times. 

  • “Do not let other people press their expectations of recovery on you - do it on your timeframe!” 

  • "Tell those around you that the surgery is not a ‘quick fix’ and the hormonal aftermath can be very challenging. Share information with them about surgical menopause so they can understand"

  • "If you have children - then don’t be shy in asking for help from those around you. It is major surgery - ask for help with school runs etc, bedtimes and anything else that involves physical activity for the first few weeks. It is better to be over-cautious"

Preparing Your Home (Advice from fellow patients who have been through the surgery)

  • "Give your home a good, thorough clean in the weeks leading up to surgery if you can" 

  • "Move items that you use regularly to waist height  as bending down can be difficult with all the internal stitches - your belly feels very tight!" 

  • "It is handy to have meals planned for the first couple of weeks so batch cook and freeze some in advance if you can" 

Gathering Tools for Recovery (Advice from fellow patients who have been through the surgery)

  • "A ‘V pillow’ to help support you when you are sat in bed"

  • "A ‘Grabber/reaching stick’ is helpful for picking  things up from the floor when it’s hard to bend down"

  • "Glycerin Suppositories/Stool softeners. Painkillers and anesthesia can cause constipation and with all those internal stitches and swelling - ouch! The softeners that go up your bottom can be really useful to help get things moving! You can thank me later!” 

  • "‘Poop stool’ - a small foldable stool for putting your feet up on when on the toilet was a good purchase. It only cost a few £/$ but it really did help in terms of comfort and ergonomically it is good for your body and helps bowel movements"

  • Peppermint tea - For many, it can help stimulate the stomach and keeps your bowels moving. I drank it constantly from when I woke up to when I went back to bed.”  

  • Treats - "Buy yourself some treats in advance. Recovery can be boring. Get books, podcasts, snacks, your favorite drink, craft materials - line up a list of things to watch on Netflix - whatever you do to relax - stack it up!"

  • "Loose nightgowns. It is likely your stomach will be swollen and so anything around there may be uncomfortable and rub on your stitches/wounds"

Download the following information in a handy document here:

Visit www.iapmd.org/surgery for lots of evidence-based information and resources for those considering, going through or recovering from surgery for PMDD/PME.

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