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Insomnia after Hysterectomy

From the Hysterectomy Recovery Articles List

Insomnia after hysterectomyI can't seem to fall asleep and stay asleep since my hysterectomy. What is wrong with me? What can I do to get back to my normal sleep pattern?


Having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep is common among hysterectomy patients, particularly during the early post-op weeks. The trauma of surgery combined with hormonal disruption (even if you retained your ovaries) can throw your body completely out of whack. Even if you have never been plagued by sleep problems before, you may find yourself lying in bed wide awake for most of the night after you return home from the hospital. For most women, this problem gradually goes away as they continue to heal and recover from the surgery. For temporary aid, many of the HysterSisters have found these remedies effective in promoting a good night’s sleep:
  • Drink a cup of Ovaltine, a mug of hot milk, or “Sleepytime” or other herbal or decaffeinated tea at bedtime.
  • Have a few slices of turkey on crackers as a bedtime snack.
  • If your doctor has cleared you to take baths, take a warm bath (whirlpool if you have one) before bed. Light a scented candle and play some relaxing music to enhance the soothing atmosphere.
  • Take extra steps to make your sore and hurting body more comfortable in bed, such as using extra pillows.
  • When you are sufficiently recovered and physically able to do so, start getting outdoors everyday for fresh air and a brisk walk. Exercise during the day helps you sleep at night!
  • During the late afternoon and evening, avoid foods and beverages that contain caffeine.
  • If you indulge in alcoholic beverages, do so sparingly.
Some women take over-the-counter medications like Tylenol PM, Sominex, Melatonin, or herbal products and say these help combat their insomnia. Please check with your doctor before taking anything of this nature. Just because products are sold without a prescription doesn’t mean that they are safe and appropriate for everyone to use in all situations.

If you start taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) after your hysterectomy, the hormones “should” help alleviate your insomnia. However, bear in mind that it may take up to three months for HRT to reach its full effectiveness. With or without HRT, if your insomnia persists, it is important that you see your doctor about this issue. Chronic sleep deprivation is unhealthy and can be dangerous. It can contribute to the likelihood of being in auto accidents and other mishaps. And, it certainly compromises your feeling of well-being and jeopardizes your overall quality of life.

It is a medical fact that insomnia is caused by an underlying condition. Your doctor can work with you to uncover that condition and treat it with the appropriate therapy. If the underlying condition is successfully treated, the insomnia will go away. So, if you find that you don’t start getting “quality shut-eye” soon, do see your doctor so that you can be helped. After all, you deserve to be the best “you” that you can be, and getting sufficient sleep is part of the formula.



This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

03-10-2005 - 08:12 PM


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