How to Get Fit Again after Surgery

In this article, I will offer valuable advice on expediting your recovery following a laparoscopy.

If you are approaching your first surgical procedure, it is natural to have many questions and apprehensions. You can access information regarding the pre-operative preparations for a laparoscopy, along with essential considerations, right here.

Pain after Surgery

Post-surgery pain is a normal part of the healing process as the body mends its wounds. Following a laparoscopy, it is common to experience pain at the puncture sites or in the abdomen and lower abdomen. Interestingly, although only minor external wounds are visible, the more extensive internal injuries often contribute to the discomfort.

One frequently encountered issue post-laparoscopy is pain in the right shoulder. This peculiar discomfort arises from the gas introduced into the abdomen during the procedure. While most of this gas is removed after surgery, some may linger and apply pressure to the diaphragm.

As you sit up, the gas rises, leading to shoulder or chest pain.

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

Given the variability in individual responses, open communication with the hospital staff and attending physician regarding your pain is crucial. This ensures you receive appropriate pain relief measures customized to your needs.

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

Usually, your medical team will prescribe painkillers following your surgery as a standard procedure. However, some patients, especially those familiar with pain due to conditions like endometriosis, may initially hesitate to take pain medication, believing they can endure post-surgery pain.

It is crucial to understand the advantages of painkillers during this stage. Pain medications alleviate discomfort and possess anti-inflammatory properties that can facilitate your recovery. Furthermore, they encourage early mobility, which benefits your healing process. While it is essential not to overexert yourself, starting to move as soon as you can manage it is pivotal.

In the immediate aftermath of the operation, you might require assistance from a nurse or an escort for simple tasks like going to the toilet. Gradually, you can begin moving around your hospital room or take short walks down the corridor, all at your own pace and with consideration for your comfort. The key is not to remain confined to your bed once your pain allows for increased mobility.

Taking your prescribed painkillers is paramount if you experience severe pain after surgery.

With the assistance of your loved ones, you can even take a few steps in the corridor on the same day as the operation. Instead of prolonged periods of inactivity, getting up several times and engaging in brief walks is advisable. More frequent, albeit shorter, movements can significantly contribute to your recovery journey.

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

Managing Abdominal Air Post-Surgery

Besides the surgical gas utilized during the laparoscopy, your abdomen may still contain residual gas, which can lead to discomfort. Additionally, the functioning of your intestines tends to slow down after an operation. This highlights the significance of staying physically active.

Maintaining an active lifestyle also reduces the risk of potential complications, such as thrombosis or pneumonia, even though these occurrences are relatively rare.

Try to get up and move around as soon as you can. Strict bed rest is not necessary unless your doctor specifically recommends it for your unique situation.

Consider consuming caraway, anise, or ginger tea and incorporating anti-inflammatory medications for added relief. These measures can contribute to a smoother and more comfortable recovery process.

Listen to Your Body: A Guide to Post-Surgery Recovery

It is paramount not to push yourself too hard, not only in the initial few days following your operation but throughout the entire recovery period at home.

While external wounds on the abdominal wall tend to heal relatively quickly, internal surgical wounds can be substantial and require more time to mend.

Engaging in excessive exercise, particularly high-impact activities like jogging or heavy lifting, can strain these internal wounds substantially. Even if external injuries appear closed, they may not be fully healed and remain vulnerable.

Typically, resuming sports activities should be postponed until at least four weeks after a laparoscopy. If you are uncertain when to reintroduce a specific sport or activity, discussing it with your doctor beforehand is essential.

The same caution applies to any activity that stresses the abdomen, particularly heavy lifting.

If you are eager to return to exercise, consider starting with low-impact activities like cycling that do not strain your abdominal muscles.

Walking is an excellent way to begin.

Exercises that involve abdominal tension, including Pilates and yoga, are not recommended immediately after surgery.

Post-Surgery Follow-up and Sick Leave Considerations

To arrange for follow-up treatment, it is advisable to contact the hospital’s social services department, ideally within 14 days after your operation.

Following the procedure, you will initially be on sick leave. When considering your return to work, attuning to your body’s signals is crucial. Taking at least four weeks of sick leave is advisable if your occupation involves physically demanding tasks such as nursing or heavy lifting. However, two weeks of sick leave may suffice if your surgery is less extensive and your job does not require strenuous physical labor. These are general guidelines, but remember that each person’s situation and operation are unique. If you still feel weak or unwell, you must continue taking sick leave.

Always consult your doctor to determine the most appropriate action based on your condition and recovery progress.

Nutrition and Post-Surgery Healing

Maintaining a healthy diet is crucial to expediting your recovery after surgery.

In addition to the benefits of anti-inflammatory painkillers, your diet can significantly support your body’s healing process. You can find comprehensive information about the advantages of an anti-inflammatory diet here.

Both in the weeks leading up to and following surgery, it is advisable to adopt a diet that prioritizes vegetables and is low in fat. Remarkably, these dietary recommendations align with the guidelines often recommended for managing endometriosis.

Ginger, in particular, offers notable advantages. Scientific studies have highlighted its analgesic properties, even for toothache, and its capacity to alleviate post-surgery nausea can be beneficial.

Nutrition Immediately After Surgery and During Hospitalization

Whether minimally invasive or open, surgery places significant stress on the intestines. The pressure, manipulation, and anesthesia can disrupt normal bowel function, and the intestines require time to recuperate.

It is common to experience sluggish bowel movements, which may lead to the accumulation of gas or less frequent bowel movements than usual. These changes are a natural response to the surgical process and should not cause undue concern. However, it is vital to anticipate these changes and initially avoid heavy or hard-to-digest foods.

Adopting a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet can have positive effects in the long term, even if the benefits may not be immediately apparent.

Before and after surgery, it can also be advantageous to adhere to a low-histamine diet. Foods prone to fermentation, like hard cheeses or salami, often have elevated histamine levels. Histamine, while a natural messenger, can amplify pain perception.

In the weeks leading up to and following surgery, it is advisable to follow a low-histamine, anti-inflammatory, and endometriosis-friendly diet.

It is essential to avoid planning extended car trips immediately after surgery. Despite sitting relatively still in the car, you sometimes engage your abdominal muscles while sitting. Prolonged car journeys can exert significant strain on your abdomen.

This discomfort should subside around two weeks after the operation, making car trips more manageable. However, always prioritize your comfort and well-being.

Regarding comfort, remember that the laparoscopy’s external wounds are typically located in the groin and belly button area, precisely where the waistband rests.

Therefore, post-surgery, opt for comfortable pants with a broad, elastic waistband that will not constrict or apply pressure to your abdomen. Pregnancy pants can be an excellent choice.

General Considerations

For any general inquiries, it is crucial to consult your doctor or hospital staff. Typically, you can wash or shower the day after surgery without issues, even if some shower gel or shampoo comes into contact with your stomach. Usually, the wounds are still covered and protected with plasters or steristrips. However, refrain from thoroughly lathering your abdomen for at least a week, considering your wounds’ size and healing process.

Furthermore, while unrelated to the surgery, certain activities can strain your abdominal muscles. For example, if you are a musician, playing a wind instrument may be too strenuous during the initial stages of recovery.

If you seek additional information about endometriosis surgery, consider downloading the Endo-App, which provides valuable insights from our experts.

How quickly were you able to regain your fitness level after surgery, and what strategies aided your recovery?

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Dr. med. Nadine Rohloff