After surgery, you will be taken to the recovery room, where you will wake up from anesthesia. Once awake and stable, you will be given water or juice. In most cases, you will have a small tube in your bladder to measure how much urine you are producing and how well your kidneys are functioning. You may also be given oxygen. You will have an IV drip in your arm providing fluids. You will be placed back on your regular medications—with the possible exception of some diabetes, blood pressure, and blood thinner medications.
You’ll likely be given medications to control your pain. It is common to develop occasional crampy pain and bloating in the abdomen after surgery. This is caused by gas building up in the intestines. The discomfort is usually temporary and will resolve after passing gas or having a bowel movement. Some patients are helped by non-prescription gas-relief medications. Pain or discomfort should improve over time.
It is normal to feel tired for a day or two after surgery, especially if general anesthesia was used. However, while rest is important, it is also important to walk around several times a day, starting on the day of surgery. This helps to prevent complications, such as blood clots, pneumonia, and gas pains.
You can resume your normal daily activities as soon as you are comfortable doing them. Walking and stair climbing are fine. Gradually increase your activity level as you are able. Your surgeon can give you specific instructions.
You may return to work when pain is minimal and you are able to perform your job. After minor procedures, you may be able to work within a day or two, while for major procedures, you may require four to six weeks to recover.
After surgery, you will likely be given chewing gum up to three times a day to help get your bowels moving. Recent research has shown that gum chewing makes bowel contents travel through faster. Your initial bowel movements may become loose, or you may be constipated. However, for the vast number of patients, this will get back to normal with time.
You may eat and drink normally after gynecologic surgery. You may have a decreased appetite for the first few days after surgery. Eating small, frequent meals or bland, soft foods may help. A high fiber diet may help to prevent constipation, although other treatments for constipation are also available.
Make sure you eat nutritious meals, drink plenty of fluids, and take regular walks in the first two weeks after your operation. However, if you are not able to eat or drink anything or if vomiting develops, call your healthcare provider.
Most women will have a follow up appointment with the surgeon two to six weeks after surgery. At this visit, the doctor will usually examine your abdomen and pelvic area to be sure that the tissues are healing properly.
You will be informed about your results if you had a biopsy or tissue removed, and you can ask questions about the procedure or your healing process.