HysterSisters Articles for Hysterectomy
Tummy Care | Swelly Belly
From the Hysterectomy Recovery Articles List
SHARING IS CARING
What is Swelly Belly? What causes it? How do I get rid of it?
First of all, the term "swelly belly" (Latin term: Swellibellicus) is a HysterSisters word that refers to post-op swelling of the abdomen. It can occur in any type of hysterectomy procedure, but seems to be more prevalent in abdominal surgeries.
Swelly belly is caused by trauma to the abdominal tissues, gasses used during surgery, and/or fluids collecting in the tissues due to trauma during surgery.
If you've ever sprained your ankle or been stung by a bee, you've probably had some swelling at the injured site—the same principles apply for swelly belly.
Swelly belly is NOT fat, or weak muscles (though they may contribute), or last nights lasagna collecting around your mid-section (though that can also contribute).
Swelly belly seems to make an appearance soon after surgery in most ladies (though not always all) and may hang around for several weeks or even months. It is worsened by too much activity, lifting things that are too heavy, being on your feet too long, stuffing yourself in jeans that are too tight, and just generally overdoing it. It also seems to be worse in the evenings, after a long day of overdoing it.
So, you ask, "How do I get rid of it?" You don't. It has to go away on it's own. Resting may help: not overdoing it, not lifting things that are too heavy, not being on your feet too long. Avoid all possible triggers for your case of Swellibellicus,
Sometimes a good support panty
can help too, but again, make sure it isn't too tight, or it can make the problem worse. (Support panties work with swelly belly like putting a pressure bandage on a sprained ankle can take the swelling in the ankle down.) Occasionally, ice packs or a heating pad may help too, but check with your doctor first before using either.
What won't help? Exercise, especially too soon, though after your doctor has released you, it will help tighten up your abs. But the swelling in the tissue may not disappear with exercise. Dieting may not help either. If you had somewhat of a tummy to begin with, you may notice some improvement, but dieting will not get rid of the swelling in the tissues.
So what's a girl to do? Just wear your swelly belly proudly; don't sweat the small stuff. Swelly belly is just one of those things you may have to endure until your body has healed. A small price to pay for getting rid of painful periods, excessive bleeding, fibroid tumors, cancer, or whatever else was the reason for your surgery.
The HysterSisters Store has the Perfect Pocket Abdominal Binder
which is a wonderful product that provides support while cooling the incision.
If your tummy becomes hot, red, or painful, please call your doctor. This is NOT normal and NOT part of the normal post-op swelling. Any unusual symptoms, or anything that you're not comfortable with should be reported to your doctor immediately.
This content was written by a member of HysterSisters.com as a non-medical professional based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.
09-14-2004 - 06:32 AM
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