It used to be a person had a 50/50 chance of recovery after undergoing surgery. Fortunately, today we have much better percentages to rely on post-op. Still, there are complications that can arise after being in an operating room. For example, the University of Rochester Medical Center lists the following post-op discomforts:
- nausea from anesthesia
- sore throat, if a tube was placed in the windpipe
- soreness or swelling around the operated site
- restlessness and difficulty sleeping
- constipation, possible flatulence
Additionally, a patient might experience lung complications and urinary retention. Despite all this, a successful surgery means that you are on the road to recovery. And if you are like many post-op patients, chances are good you feel impatient to get back to feeling like your best self.
Everybody will heal at a different rate, depending on factors particular to your case and your body make-up. Yet, there are still ways to ensure that your body has everything it needs to make that process and transition as fast as possible.
Here are ways you can speed up your body’s healing time.
Eat recovery foods.
Depending on your surgery type, your doctor might suggest certain foods to steer clear of and certain foods to add to your diet. For instance, there are recommended vitamins after bariatric surgery patients are advised to take.
Outside of doctor recommendations, general tips for all no matter the surgery type include eating protein. Protein is the building block of the cells and muscles in your body. It will help your body stitch itself back together. Once you are back on a solid diet, eat eggs, chicken, and other heart-healthy proteins.
Another recovery food? Healthline recommends increasing your iodine intake. Add dark leafy greens to your diet. For example, kelp, kale, spinach, parsley, and green beans all should make an appearance in your post-recovery meals. Feeling nauseous? Drink some grated ginger tea and eat some mushrooms to help promote health. For foods that boost your immune system, add sources rich in probiotics. Yogurt, soy beverages, and kimchi.
Obviously, avoid foods that you know you should not be eating, even if you weren’t healing from your surgery. You know the drill. Deep fried foods, foods high in sugar, foods bad for your cholesterol levels, etc.
Manage pain and get in your Zzs.
A surprising entry on this list is the importance of pain management. Foregoing painkillers might seem noble, but sleepless nights are not. While we applaud your aversion to becoming addicted to OTC meds, managing your pain is essential for recovery. How? When your pain levels spike, your energy feels drained and you feel like you lack the energy to move about.
Pain can also interfere with the quality of your sleep. And when your sleep takes a hit, your recovery will slow down. The role of sleep in aiding the body’s recovery on multiple levels has long been documented by researchers. If your pain is keeping you up at night, you are doubly hurting yourself.
No need to dose yourself to a numb state. Choose a level where the pain is tolerable and that allows you to engage in activities that will aid your health and wellness.
Don’t be a couch potato.
While resting is important, it’s almost equally important to get moving as soon as you get your doctor’s permission to do so. Walking and moving about will get your body’s systems functioning once again. You may need to hold off on your gym appointments. And you will absolutely want to get your doctor’s take on when you can begin sweat-inducing exercise plans. But walks are something that most any patient can engage in because they can be adapted to any stage of your recovery. Start off slow and work up to brisk.
Even just moving about once every hour can prevent blood clotting, pneumonia, and constipation.
Don’t skip your follow-up doctor appointments.
Are you healing fast? When things go too well, the temptation is to feel that you no longer need to keep after surgery appointments. This thinking could get you into trouble. Your doctor will be on the lookout for complications that go beyond what is visible to the average person on the surface. Occasionally, certain issues only come to light post-op, and if you’ve blown off your doctor-date, the situation could worsen.
Also, checking in with your doctor will allow them to adjust your pain meds if needed. They can give you new post-op instructions, tailored to your recovery rate.