Health Beat

Health Beat: Recovering from a hysterectomy

ORLANDO, Fla. - Whether you're having a vaginal or abdominal hysterectomy, there's one thing you'll want to ask your doctor before surgery.

"You want to ask your doctor, are you going to cut me open or, if possible, can you just have a few small holes, because it will make a huge difference in terms of my recovering," said Dr. Dwight Im, a gynecologic oncologist at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore.

It usually takes three to six weeks to fully recover, but you'll want to get up and walk around as soon as you can to prevent dangerous blood clots.

Because you're also at an increased risk for hernia, you should not lift anything heavier than 20 pounds and avoid abdominal exercises for at least a month.

If you haven't gone through menopause, you will probably begin having symptoms like hot flashes and mood swings. One study found eating foods that contain phyto-estrogens, like edamame, tofu and whole grains, may help prevent conditions related to loss of estrogen.

Perhaps one of the worst parts about the procedure is the constipation. Doctors say to stay well-hydrated and use a stool softener.

After a hysterectomy, you may feel happier and relieved to no longer be feeling any pain, but some women also experience depression related to the loss of fertility.

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