Post-Op Instructions and Helpful Tips
- Start with easy-on-your-stomach foods when you get home and slowly return to a regular diet.
- Start with small portions.
- In general avoid foods that cause gas and/or constipation.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Walking while sipping on a hot clear liquid will help to expel gas and relieve pain.
If you go home the day of surgery, you may still be groggy from anesthesia but it is important to move. Lying only in one position for a long time isn’t good for you. It can lead to complications such as blood clots in your legs, fever, nausea, pneumonia, and excessive gas pain/bloating, and constipation. Prevent this by changing positions every 1-2 hours and use pillows to prop between knees and behind back for comfort. It is fine to be “Queen of the Remote Control” but remember to move.
For all surgery patients, you may increase your activity when you feel up to it with walking as much as tolerated. Listen to your body, however, and rest when you need to. Now is not the time for the “no pain, no gain” philosophy. In general you should do no heavy lifting, and nothing that requires straining, no pushing/pulling heavy objects. Things like playing tug-of-war with the dog, where there may be a sudden increase in pressure, can really get you into trouble.
You may shower when fully alert and have no dizziness. Keep your first shower brief. (Helpful hint: Avoid hot water which may lower your blood pressure and cause dizziness.) Please have an assistant nearby during your first shower as some people can get lightheaded in the shower. Avoid the bathtub for at least 2 weeks and until all vaginal bleeding has stopped.
Take all medications as directed by your physician. We will usually send you home with prescription-strength naproxen or ibuprofen and Percocet (Tylenol and narcotic combination). Take the naproxen every 12 hours or ibuprofen every 6 hours (don’t take both) and then use the Percocet as needed for pain. When you get to the point that you don’t need the Percocet at all for a full 24 hours, then you can start backing off on the ibuprofen /naproxen. Be sure not to use Tylenol with the Percocet.
During the first 24-48 hours you may want to keep some pain medication in your system around the clock. Stay ahead of your pain. Don’t wait until the pain is unbearable because when/if it becomes unbearable, it usually takes more medication and a longer time to get the pain back under control.
If at any time you develop sign and symptoms of a medication reaction please stop taking the medication and notify your physician for further instructions. If you are experiencing shortness of breath or throat swelling, call 911 or get someone to take you to the Emergency room ASAP.
Many of our patients go home with surgical glue and no bandage. This you can just leave alone. If you have a bandage, it may be removed the day after your surgery. Look closely at your incision at least daily (use a mirror or a have a partner look at it if it’s hard to see) and watch for any changes. Notify us if you notice any worsening redness, foul odor, increasing drainage, fever, significant separation or openings at the incision site. Keep your incision clean and dry. If a small amount of drainage is present you may clean it with hydrogen peroxide and water and put light gauze dressing if needed. If drainage continues, contact the office. Small gaps in the incision can be normal especially where the suture knot is tied at the end, but notify us for gaps getting bigger over time. Make an appointment to remove any staples within 7 days following surgery or as directed by your physician.
Light vaginal discharge/spotting is considered normal after many GYN surgeries. Bleeding in general, however, should slowly taper off. Use a pad and avoid tampons. If bleeding gets heavy (as heavy or heavier than a heavy period day), call us.
It is not uncommon to have constipation after surgery due to the anesthetic, the surgery itself, the pain medications, and the relative inactivity. Take a stool softener (colace) twice a day initially. Walking and drinking plenty of fluids will help as well. If you are still having trouble having a bowel movement then try Miralax (or generic equivalent) daily or even twice a day until things get moving. Note that if you are having vomiting with the constipation then you need to call us immediately.
When to Call:
Call us at 770-997-5714 if you experience any problems after surgery. If you have to leave a voicemail, make sure we know you are a post-op patient. You should get a return phone call within 30 minutes. If you do not, call back, or, if it feels like an emergency, go to the Fayette ER. We need to hear from you if you have a fever (temperature 100.4 or higher), increasing amount of redness, pain, or discharge/drainage either from your incision or vaginally, any foul odor from discharge/drainage, worsening nausea/vomiting, pain unrelieved by pain medication, or inability to pass gas resulting in bloating/nausea, or any other problem that is concerning to you.
We usually want to see you about a week after surgery, so if you don’t have an appointment, call and schedule one.