RELIEF…at the expectation of a cure.
ANXIETY …about what’s expected of you and what to expect of your Gynecologist.
“Your Gynecologist will help prepare you for surgery with information and answers to many of your questions,” says McLeod Gynecologist Charles Tatum, MD. “Don’t hesitate to ask any questions that you don’t think have been answered. The chances of a complication are very small and will be even smaller if you are prepared.”
QUESTIONS TO ASK
When your Gynecologist recommends surgery, here are a few key questions they should answer. If you don’t understand, ask them to explain it further.
Know Your Medications. Have a list of ALL medications you are taking, including prescription and over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen. You may be asked to halt some medications, such as aspirin, which could increase bleeding.
It’s also important to tell your physician if you have sleep apnea, which causes irregular breathing. Sleep apnea increases your risk of cardiac complications during surgery. If you think you might have it, tell your Gynecologist.
Control Your Weight. Overweight patients have more risk of medical and surgical complications. In some cases, surgery may be delayed until the patient can lose some weight.
Stop Smoking. If you can’t stop smoking altogether, at least stop smoking for a few weeks before your procedure. Anesthesia can affect your lungs. So, you want them to be functioning as well as possible before surgery.
Continue those Kegels. If you’ve been doing exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor and muscles, continue them up to your day of surgery. Healthy muscles make the surgeon’s job easier and your recovery faster.
Pre-surgery Checkup. A week or so before your surgery, you may be asked to have a physical exam along with some tests. These could include an EKG for the heart, chest X-ray, and blood and urine lab tests. Your surgeon simply wants to be sure you are healthy enough for the procedure.
Skin Preparation. To help control infection, many hospitals are now asking patients to begin washing the general area for surgery with a special soap or solution several days before surgery. For most Gynecologic surgeries, they prefer that you do not shave for a few days to a week before surgery. If necessary, the hospital will shave a site.
Day Before Surgery. You may be asked to take a laxative the day before surgery. Your Gynecologist will also ask you to limit (or avoid) eating after midnight and to avoid drinking alcohol 24 hours before the procedure.
Preparing to Travel to the Hospital. Don’t wear makeup to the hospital. Remove nail polish or fake nails. Leave your jewelry or other valuables at home. Wear loose-fitting clothing. You’ll be stiff leaving the hospital following your procedure. You’ll appreciate the ability to get dressed easily.
Preparing to Leave the Hospital. As part of your preparations for surgery, make arrangements with an adult to pick you up and take you home. In many procedures these days, you can go home the same day or after an overnight stay. As a result, you’ll be feeling the effects of the pain medication and will be weak after the surgery. So you may want someone to be at home with you for a while, as well as drive you home.
ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE
The information is this article offers general guidelines. Your Gynecologist’s information may differ slightly, based on your specific case.
In the hospital, as you are prepared for surgery and after recovery, you probably ought to have a friend or relative who can act as your advocate, making sure that you are receiving the appropriate care and medications.
You don’t have to suffer Pelvic Organ Prolapse or Stress Incontinence. There are a range of treatments, many of them not involving surgery.
Sources include: McLeod Health, American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, American Society of Anesthesiologists, American Urogynecologic Society