How to get fit again after Surgery

In this article, I’ll provide you with helpful tips on how to get back on your feet quickly after your laparoscopy.

Especially if you’re preparing for your first operation, it’s completely normal to have numerous questions and concerns. You can find information about the organizational process before a laparoscopy, and what you should consider here.

Pain after Surgery

Post-surgery pain is entirely normal as the body undergoes the healing process, allowing the wounds to mend. Following laparoscopy, it’s not uncommon to experience pain at the puncture sites or in the abdomen and lower abdomen. While externally only small laparoscopy wounds are visible, it’s the larger internal wounds that typically give rise to this discomfort.

A frequently encountered post-laparoscopy issue is pain in the right shoulder. The particular discomfort stems from the gas introduced into the abdomen during the procedure. Although most of the gas is removed after surgery, some might linger and exert pressure on your diaphragm.

Upon sitting up, the gas tends to ascend, resulting in shoulder or chest pain.

The intensity and duration of this pain can vary from person to person. Some individuals may experience no pain or only mild discomfort, while others might contend with more severe sensations. The duration of the pain can also differ, with some finding relief within a few hours, while others experience it for several days.

Since individual bodies react differently, it’s crucial to communicate openly with the hospital staff and attending physician regarding your pain. This ensures that you receive appropriate pain medication if necessary, tailored to your specific needs.

How do I get back on my Feet quickly after Surgery?

Typically, you will be prescribed painkillers after the operation as a standard practice. Some patients may initially resist taking pain medication, especially those familiar with pain due to conditions like endometriosis. They might believe they can endure the pain post-surgery as well.

However, it’s important to recognize the benefits of painkillers at this stage. Pain medications not only provide relief but also have anti-inflammatory properties that aid in your recovery. Additionally, they encourage you to move around a bit more, which is beneficial for your healing process. Of course, it’s essential not to overexert yourself, but moving as soon as you can manage it is vital.

Initially, after the operation, you may need assistance from a nurse or an escort to go to the toilet. Gradually, you can start moving around your hospital room or walk down the corridor, at your own pace and with consideration for your comfort. The key is not to remain confined to the bed once your pain allows for more movement.

If you experience acute pain after surgery, taking your prescribed painkillers is crucial.

With the help of your relatives, you can get up and take a few steps in the corridor on the same day of the operation. Instead of remaining sedentary for long periods, it’s better to get up several times and engage in short walks. Moving more frequently, even if in smaller increments, can aid in your recovery process.

  • Take small steps,
  • Exercise,
  • steadily increase both in moderation,
  • listen to your body,
  • eat healthy.

Abdominal Air

Apart from the surgical gas used during the laparoscopy, your abdomen may still retain gas, causing discomfort. Additionally, the intestines tend to function at a slower pace post-operation. This is another reason why exercise is important!

Staying active also helps reduce the risk of potential complications like thrombosis or pneumonia, even if these occur rather rarely.

As soon as you can, try to get up and move around. There’s generally no need for strict bed rest, unless, your doctor specifically advises it in your case.

To provide extra support, consider drinking caraway, anise, or ginger tea, along with taking anti-inflammatory medications. These measures can contribute to a smoother recovery process.

Listen to your Body!

It’s crucial not to overexert yourself at any point, not just in the first few days following the operation, but also during the recovery period at home.

While the wounds of the abdominal wall close relatively quickly, internal surgical wounds can be larger and take longer to heal.

Engaging in excessive exercise, intense sports like jogging, or heavy lifting can exert significant strain on your internal wounds. Even if the external wounds seem to have closed, there may not yet be fully healed and could be vulnerable.

Sports activities should be resumed no earlier than four weeks after a laparoscopy. If you are unsure about when to restart a specific sport or activity, it’s essential to discuss this with your doctor beforehand.

The same caution applies to heavy lifting or any activity that puts stress on the abdomen.

If you want to start exercising again, consider trying low-impact activities like cycling, that don’t require you to strain your abdominal muscles.

The best way to start is to go for a walk.

All exercises that involve tensing your abdomen – including Pilates and yoga – are not recommended immediately after surgery.

Post-Surgery Follow-up and Sick Leave Considerations

To arrange follow-up treatment, you can apply through the hospital’s social services department, ideally within 14 days after your operation.

After the procedure, you will initially be on sick leave. When you’re ready to return to work, you should listen to your body. If your job involves physically demanding tasks, such as nursing or heavy lifting, it’s advisable to take at least four weeks of sick leave. However, if your surgery was less extensive and your job doesn’t involve strenuous physical labor, two weeks of sick leave might be sufficient. Nonetheless, these are only approximate guidelines, as each person and operation is unique. If you still feel weak or unwell, it’s crucial to continue taking sick leave.

Always consult your doctor to discuss the best course of action based on your individual condition and recovery progress.

Nutrition and Post-Surgery Recovery

Maintaining a healthy diet is also important for a swift recovery after surgery.

In addition to the benefits of anti-inflammatory painkillers, you should also support your body with your diet. You can find all the important information about an anti-inflammatory diet here.

In the weeks leading up to and following the surgery, a diet rich in vegetables and low fat is recommended, which coincidently aligns with the dietary recommendations for managing endometriosis.

Ginger, in particular, offers notable advantages. Studies have shown its analgesic effects, even in relation to toothache, and its ability to alleviate nausea can be helpful during the post-surgery phase.

Nutrition Directly After the Surgery and During the Hospital Stay

Surgery places significant stress on the intestines, whether it’s minimally invasive or open surgery. The pressure, manipulation, and anesthesia can disrupt normal bowel function, and the intestines need time to recover.

It’s common to experience sluggish bowel movements, leading to possible accumulation of gas or less frequent bowel movements than usual. This is a natural response to the surgical process, and there’s no cause for concern. However, it’s essential to be prepared for these changes and avoid heavy or hard-to-digest foods initially.

In the long run, a healthy and anti-inflammatory diet can have positive effects, even if the immediate benefits may not be evident.

It can also be helpful to follow a low-histamine diet before and after surgery. Foods that age to ferment, such as hard cheeses or salami, tend to have higher histamine levels. Histamine, while a natural messenger, can amplify pain perception.

A low-histamine, anti-inflammatory and endometriosis-friendly diet is recommended in the weeks leading up to and following surgery.

It is also important to avoid planning long car trips immediately after surgery. Despite sitting in the car and seemingly not moving much, you still engage your abdominal muscles to some extent while sitting. Driving for extended hours can be very strenuous for your abdomen.

Around two weeks after the operation, this discomfort should subside, making car trips more manageable.

To ensure your comfort and well-being, refrain from taking long car rides immediately after surgery, or if necessary, plan enough breaks and make yourself comfortable during the journey.

Speaking of “comfortable,” keep in mind that the external wounds from the laparoscopy are typically in the groin and belly button area, right where the waistband rests.

So, during the post-surgery period, you should wear comfortable pants with a wide, elastic waistband that will not constrict or apply pressure to your abdomen. Pregnancy pants are an excellent option.

General Information

For any general questions, it’s important to consult your doctor or hospital staff. You can usually wash or shower the day after the surgery without any issues, even if some shower gel or shampoo runs over your stomach. Typically, the wounds are still covered and protected with plasters or steristrips. However, you should refrain from lathering your abdomen properly for at least a week, considering the size and healing process of your wounds.

Additionally, certain activities may not be directly related to the surgery but can still strain your abdominal muscles. For example, playing a wind instrument, if you are a musician, may be too strenuous in the initial stages of recovery.

Would you like more information about endometriosis surgery? Then download the Endo-App and access valuable insights from our experts.

How quickly were you back in shape after your surgery and what helped you?

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Dr. med. Nadine Rohloff