Must Have Items After Hysterectomy

 Will you, or anyone you know, be having a hysterectomy soon?  If so, be sure to check out this list of my must have items after hysterectomy.

I am currently just over four months out from my hysterectomy and feeling really good.  This past March, I had a radical abdominal hysterectomy following a cervical cancer diagnosis.  Having never had any major surgery (or minor surgery, for that matter) prior to this, I wasn’t entirely sure how to prepare.  

Now that I am well on the other side of it, though, I can say that there were a number of items that helped immensely in my recovery.  So, I wanted to share with you all, in case anyone else will be facing the same soon.   

I had an open abdominal hysterectomy.  So, I have an approximately 6 inch long horizontal scar low on my abdomen, similar to a c-section scar.  While there are other types of hysterectomy – laparoscopic/vaginal/etc. – I think this list would apply no matter what type of hysterectomy you may be having.

Must Have Items After Hysterectomy 

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1. Medications

The two medications I would definitely recommend having on hand would be some type of pain killer – Ibuprofen is my go-to – and a stool softener.  You may be sent home with prescription pain killers, but personally, I prefer over the counter medication.  True, it’s not as strong, but it also doesn’t come with as many unpleasant side effects, like constipation.  Constipation is a common problem after surgery, and it’s certainly not something that you want to make worse after lower abdominal surgery.  So, be sure to have plenty of stool softeners on hand.

A third medication that you may consider is Gas-X.  I think post surgical gas is a bigger problem with laparoscopic surgery, as they inflate your abdominal cavity with air.  It’s not an issue that I dealt with, but something to be aware of.

2. Water Bottle/Thermos

Another thing that can help ease constipation is good hydration.  You will want to stay well hydrated after surgery, but you won’t want to have to get up out of bed in order to get a drink.  So, make sure you have a good water bottle or thermos that you can keep next to your bed.  

This 32oz water bottle is great for keeping track of how much you’re drinking, as well as providing some motivation along the way.  My best friend sent me this inspirational travel mug right after my surgery, and I love it.

3. Pillow Pad

My husband has had one of these pillow pads for a few years now, and I totally hogged it for the first few weeks of my recovery. 😆 I did a lot of reading while I was laying in bed during recovery, and this pillow pad was so helpful.  I could set my book/Amazon Fire/phone on it and literally read from any angle.  I often would prop it up next to me and read while laying down.  Definitely great to have on hand.

4. High Waist Cotton Underwear

This is one that I was not entirely prepared for.  Most of my underwear is pretty soft and comfortable to begin with, so I didn’t think I would need anything different.  Wrong!  Most of my underwear is low to mid-rise, which is right where my incision was.  I only had a few pair that hit comfortably above the incision, so they had to be rotated and washed very frequently those first couple of weeks.  

So, you’ll definitely want to stock up on high waist cotton undies.  Also, be prepared for possible stains on the front of them.  My incision was never bandaged, and it did weep some for the first few weeks.  This caused some small stains on the front of a few pairs.

5. Pads/Panty Liners

If you are pre-menopausal, don’t throw all your feminine products away just yet!

This is actually one item that I did not need personally, as I didn’t bleed at all after my surgery.  However, I know that some light bleeding or spotting post hysterectomy is not uncommon, which may be surprising to some of you.  So, I wanted to make sure and include this in the list.

6. Pocket Abdominal Binder

After hearing about my diagnosis and upcoming surgery, my best friend (who lives in a different state) sent me a whole bunch of stuff to help with the recovery process.  One of the items she sent was a pocket abdominal binder, and it was probably my most used/favorite post-surgical item.

Compression after a hysterectomy can be really helpful.  It provides support for the incision, can help prevent tearing, and generally makes it easier to move around with less pain.  So, an abdominal binder can help speed up the recovery process.

The particular binder that my friend sent is called a pocket abdominal binder.  It comes with two hot/cold packs that you can slip into an inner pocket in the binder.  So, you get both compression and heat or ice on the wound area.  I used mine multiple times a day for quite a few weeks afterward.  

This is an item I would highly recommend.  You can find it at the hysterectomy store.

7. Adjustable Bed Frame

So, this is obviously a major splurge, and it is something that we just kind of lucked in to right before my surgery.  But it was absolutely worth every penny.

For years, we had a full size bed in our guest room.  After moving into our new house two years ago, we planned to upgrade the guest room to a king bed.  It had not yet happened, though, at the time of my diagnosis.  We quickly decided to take the plunge and buy a new bed before my surgery, though, since we were going to have family staying with us for a couple of weeks to help out.  We wanted to make sure everyone was as comfortable as possible.

When I went to purchase a mattress, the store had an amazing special going on – buy a mattress, get an adjustable bed frame for free.  So, we took advantage of the deal.  We put the adjustable bed frame in the master bedroom.  (We have a king size bed in there.)  And we took the box springs from our room down to the guest room.

And this was the Best. Decision. Ever.

The adjustable bed frame was so helpful for me getting in and out of bed post surgery.  It’s very difficult to sit up and lay down when your abdominal muscles have been sliced open.  With the bed, I was able to sit myself up before getting out of bed, and gently lay myself down after getting in.  I still love it for reading at night.

If you can afford it, I would 100% recommend an adjustable bed frame for recovery and beyond.

Bonus:

A hysterectomy is major surgery and along with all of the physical items, you will also need plenty of help.  We had family members staying with us for the first two weeks of my recovery, and my friends set up a meal train for us that covered 3 days a week for 6 weeks after surgery.  Both of these were total lifesavers for us. 

My kids were both home full time at the time of my surgery – virtual kindergarten and a 3 year old – plus my husband was working part virtual and part in person.  I’m not sure how we would have managed all of that without help while I was bed bound.

So, don’t hesitate to ask for help, meals, cleaning, etc.  Take whatever you can get so you can focus on healing and getting back to life!

Have you had a hysterectomy?  What items did you find most helpful after surgery?  

 

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