Laparoscopic Myomectomy: What to Expect at Home

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Your Recovery

After surgery to remove one or more fibroids, you may feel some pain in your belly for several days. Your belly may also be swollen. You may have a change in your bowel movements for a few days. And you may have some cramping for the first week.

It's normal to also have some shoulder or back pain. This is caused by the gas your doctor put in your belly to help see your organs better.

To help with pain, your doctor will prescribe medicines. You will need 2 or more weeks to fully recover. It's important not to lift anything heavy for about 1 week. Your doctor may talk to you about when you can have sex and when it's safe to try to become pregnant.

You may have light bleeding for up to 8 weeks. You may have a brown or reddish brown vaginal discharge or spotting for a few weeks or until your first period. This is normal. Expect your first two periods to start early or late. They may be more painful or heavy than usual.

This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.

How can you care for yourself at home?

Activity

  • Rest when you feel tired.
  • Be active. Walking is a good choice.
  • Allow your body to heal. Don't move quickly or lift anything heavy until you are feeling better.
  • Ask your doctor when you can have sex.
  • Hold a pillow over your incisions when you cough or take deep breaths. This will support your belly and may help to decrease your pain.
  • Do breathing exercises at home as instructed by your doctor. This will help prevent pneumonia.

Diet

  • You can eat your normal diet. If your stomach is upset, try bland, low-fat foods like plain rice, broiled chicken, toast, and yogurt.
  • If your bowel movements are not regular right after surgery, try to avoid constipation and straining. Drink plenty of water. Your doctor may suggest fibre, a stool softener, or a mild laxative.

Medicines

  • Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • Your doctor will tell you if and when you can restart your medicines. He or she will also give you instructions about taking any new medicines.
  • If you take blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin, be sure to talk to your doctor. He or she will tell you if and when to start taking those medicines again. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.

Incision care

  • If you have strips of tape on the cut (incision) the doctor made, leave the tape on for a week or until it falls off.
  • If you have skin adhesive on the incision, leave it on until it falls off. Skin adhesive is also called liquid stitches.
  • Wash the area daily with warm, soapy water, and pat it dry. Don't use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol. They can slow healing.
  • You may cover the area with a gauze bandage if it oozes fluid or rubs against clothing.
  • Change the bandage every day.
  • Keep the area clean and dry.

Other instructions

  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing. For a few weeks, avoid anything that puts pressure on your belly.
  • You may have some light vaginal bleeding. Wear sanitary pads if needed. Do not douche or use tampons.
  • You may want to use a heating pad on your belly to help with pain.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).
  • You have severe trouble breathing.
  • You have severe belly pain.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • The incision starts to bleed, and blood soaks through the bandage. Oozing small amounts of blood is normal.
  • Your pain is not controlled by medicine.
  • You have signs of infection, such as:
    • Vaginal discharge that smells bad.
    • Red streaks leading from the incision.
    • Pus draining from the incision.
    • A fever.
  • You have severe vaginal bleeding. This means that you are soaking through your usual pads every hour for 2 or more hours.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You do not have a bowel movement after taking a laxative.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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