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Diabetes and Hysterectomy

From the Pre-Op Hysterectomy Articles List

Diabetes and hysterectomyI am having a hysterectomy soon. I have concerns because I also have diabetes. What can I do to make sure my surgery and recovery go smoothly?

By itself, a hysterectomy is a major surgery that can require some planning for optimal results. Combining the operation with a chronic health concern like diabetes requires you to be prepared and proactive to allow for the best and smoothest outcome.

First, make sure your entire medical team is fully aware of the upcoming surgery so you can start working together to help the whole process go as smoothly as possible. The doctor who primarily treats your diabetes may have some specific tips for you to prepare you for surgery. S/he may also want to adjust any medications you are using, and s/he may want to see you more frequently during recovery. It is also possible s/he will want to speak to your surgeon about any unique issues for your case and answer any questions your surgeon may have. If at all possible, use a medical facility where both doctors have privileges so they both can take part in your care during your hospital stay.

You will need to know in advance if you are allowed to continue using medications and insulin as usual, or if any adjustments need to be made in the days leading to surgery, during your bowel prep (if one is ordered), and on the day of surgery. Talk to both your surgeon and diabetes doctor about any changes.

Having diabetes can affect how your body will react if you must do a bowel prep, and your bowel prep instructions may need to be adjusted. Talk to both your diabetes doctor and your surgeon if the prep is ordered for you. During the prep, you may need to monitor your sugars more closely and adjust your insulin to avoid issues with hypoglycemia. It's a good idea to keep sweetened beverages and glucose tablets nearby in case your sugar drops too low.

The day of surgery, you may want to bring your monitor with you to help keep an eye on your sugar in case surgery is delayed, especially if you were required to follow a bowel prep the day before, and/or if you have been instructed to stop your diabetes medications. Notify the staff immediately if your numbers and/or symptoms are indicating you need to take action.

If you use an insulin pump, find out exactly what the protocol will be. You will need to know if and when you should disconnect it (i.e. if you should remove it before staring the bowel prep, wear it to pre-op, disconnect it the night before, etc.) You will also want to know when you can start using it again following surgery (i.e. if you can start in the hospital or you need to wait until you are home).

During your hospital stay, your blood sugar levels may be monitored more closely, and your medications may be administered differently than usual. Ask your doctors before hand what the regimen will be so you will be aware of and comfortable with any changes.

Because proper healing and infection can be a concern for those with diabetes, make sure to follow your surgeon’s instructions for taking care of any incisions and watching for signs of infection. Monitor your incisions and notify your doctor of any concerning changes such as pus, redness, heat around the area, a fever, or hardness. Also notify your surgeon of any signs of a urinary tract infection (UTI), pneumonia, or diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). If you have neuropathy, you may not feel any pain associated with complications so be diligent about watching for any other signs that can alert you.

During recovery, you will also want to monitor your diet carefully to be sure you are eating well enough to provide your body with the proper nutrition needed for healing and keeping your blood sugar levels within a good range. Be sure to follow your doctor’s orders for maintaining your blood sugar levels during this time and notify your doctors if your numbers fall outside of what has been determined as the recommended range for recovery. When released to do so, be sure to walk as a light form of exercise, but don't over do it. As always, be sure to drink plenty of fluids.

You, your surgeon, and your diabetes doctor will need to be a team during your hysterectomy journey. Keep the lines of communication open, and be sure to discuss any questions or concerns you have with both doctors. You all need to be on the same page in order for you to have optimal results.

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.

03-16-2012 - 05:26 PM


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