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Fighting Fatigue after Hysterectomy

From the Hysterectomy Recovery Articles List

Woman fatigued and exhausted after hysterectomyWhy am I so exhausted since my hysterectomy, and what can I do about it?


Are you two months post hysterectomy and feeling fatigued at the end of the day? Maybe you are a year post-hysterectomy and still falling into bed at the end of the day, exhausted. The good and bad news is that it might be normal.

Fatigue can be prevalent long after you have otherwise recovered from your hysterectomy, and long term fatigue can have a negative impact on your entire life. You can become physically, mentally, and emotionally compromised because you are just so tired.

According to a 2002 study, many women feel fatigued for about 10 weeks after a hysterectomy. In addition, a third of the women who participated felt tired six months after their hysterectomy (a). Many HysterSisters complain of ongoing fatigue following their hysterectomy, even beyond 6 months. As there are a number of possible reasons for the tiredness, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor to discover the underlying cause for you.

Trauma


Fact: Surgery causes trauma to the body which can then cause fatigue during the healing process. The more surgical trauma, such as during an invasive abdominal hysterectomy, the more fatigue you could experience.

Fight it: Though there are many variables with surgery you can’t control, there are some factors you can control. If at all possible, you can choose a minimally invasive surgery to minimize surgical trauma. You can also work to be healthy before and after surgery so your body has a better fighting chance. Taking your medications as directed and following doctor’s orders can also help your body cope better with the healing and not add to the existing trauma. Eating well before and after surgery can also help your body handle the trauma better, thus possibly decreasing our fatigue.

Blood Loss


Fact: You can experience blood loss during a hysterectomy which can cause fatigue.

Fight it: If you lost a lot of blood during your hysterectomy, you may be dealing with anemia and fatigue. Depending on your symptoms and hemoglobin, your doctor may recommend a diet rich in iron, an over-the-counter product such as Fergon or SlowFe, or a prescription iron supplement. If your doctor recommends taking iron, ask how much vitamin C you should also take to help your body absorb the iron better. If you feel your fatigue is related to anemia, talk to your doctor so you can have a blood test for confirmation and then work to find the best treatment for you.

Diet and Exercise


Fact: Diet and exercise are negatively affected by surgery, contributing to post-hysterectomy fatigue.

Fight it: Your body needs adequate nutrition to function and plenty of protein to heal, so try to eat well after your hysterectomy. Exercise also helps the heart work well helping you be well, so walking after your hysterectomy can be helpful. When diet and exercise are compromised in the days before and after your surgery, your body doesn’t work as efficiently at a time when it needs to be working harder. This struggle can leave you fatigued as your body sends what energy it has to the surgical site where it is working to repair itself.

Sleep


Fact: Surgery of any kind causes a disturbance to our natural sleep pattern.

Fight it: The stress, trauma, medications, hormones, and more involved with your hysterectomy can disrupt your sleep schedule at a time when your body needs plenty of rest to heal. You may be worsening sleep problem with some lifestyle choices that aren’t the best, so some simple changes may be needed. Consider forgoing electronic stimulation 1-2 hours before bedtime, cut out caffeine especially at night, and create a bedtime routine. It may also be helpful to drink warm milk, take a warm bath, and do something relaxing as you prepare for the night.

Hormones


Fact: Hormonal issues after a hysterectomy can lead to fatigue issues.

Fight it: Whether or not you had your ovaries removed at the time of your hysterectomy, you can face hormonal changes following your surgery. Hormonal imbalance or menopause can cause sleep and fatigue issues, so it is a good idea to work with your doctor if you will be beginning or ending hormonal treatment following your hysterectomy.

Other Factors


Fact: There are a number of medical, psychological, and lifestyle factors which can cause or contribute to fatigue.

Fight it: Several chronic health issues, such as diabetes, thyroid issues, heart disease, and COPD, can cause fatigue. Obesity, alcohol, too much or too little exercise, and certain medications can also contribute to fatigue and exhaustion. Fatigue is also a symptoms of stress, depression, anxiety, and grief. If you know you have a chronic health condition, be sure you are working with your doctor to keep it under control. If you take medications regularly, check to see if any of them list fatigue as a side effect. If your lifestyle includes poor habits which may be leaving you tired, work to make better choices for better health.

(a) Postoperative Fatigue Negatively Impacts the Daily Lives of Patients Recovering From Hysterectomy

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.

09-22-2015 - 10:28 AM


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