Many women experience abdominal swelling after a hysterectomy, but there are a variety of ways they can manage the issue. It is very important to get enough rest to allow the incisions to heal; too much activity too soon after surgery can contribute to swelling. Anti-inflammatory medications are another option that can provide relief. Applying ice packs may reduce inflammation around the surgical site. Bands or underwear that provide support of the abdomen may also help.
One of the most common causes of swelling after having a hysterectomy is too much activity. A hysterectomy is a major surgical procedure and the body needs time to recuperate and heal; women who are eager to get back to normal quickly may do too much too fast. Excessive walking, lifting, or even standing can aggravate the tissues in the abdomen and cause them to swell, and may eventually lead to injury. Women recovering from surgery should be sure to follow their doctor's orders regarding rest and appropriate levels of activity, even if they feel they can do more.
Medication is another option to manage swelling after a hysterectomy. Many doctors will prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs for patients prior to sending them home after surgery. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, or NSAIDs, which are available over the counter, may also be helpful for reducing swelling as well as helping to manage pain. Patients should consult with their doctors before taking any drug to ensure it is the best option.
Application of cold may also help bring down abdominal swelling after a hysterectomy. Swelling is generally caused by inflammation of the tissues around the incisions, and cold helps reduce the inflammation. Ice packs or cold compresses should be applied to the swollen area for brief periods of time, followed by breaks to keep the tissue from becoming too cold. They should not be applied directly to the skin or left on until the area becomes numb.
Those suffering from swelling after a hysterectomy swelling may also benefit from using compression on the surgical site. Compression can help reduce fluid accumulation in the surrounding tissues. One option is the use of compression bands that go around the stomach to help control any shifting of internal structures during healing. Support hose or underwear may also be used. They should be supportive but not restrictive, as ones that are too tight may aggravate the swelling instead of helping.