If you do a lot of strenuous activity and you have got an inguinal hernia, probably the first thought that you have in your mind is, “how can I recover and get back to my normal routine as quickly as possible”?
The situation is more punishing if you are an athlete or like to do a lot of activities like gym, bodybuilding, weight lifting.
Well, depending on the hernia you have and the type of surgery your doctor has performed your recovery time may vary, we will discuss more on that in a different article, but now, we will see things to do and things to avoid after inguinal hernia surgery.
Inguinal hernia surgery is often successful. However, sometimes post-operative pain and fatigue might last longer than expected. Therefore there are a few things you need to do and avoid to reduce the risk of having prolonged recoveries.
Do’s and don’ts after inguinal Hernia Repair
To put it simply after an Inguinal Hernia Surgery, it is OK to do normal activities like walking, driving, jogging, doing simple exercises. In fact, regular activities can enhance your recovery. But any strenuous activity that hurts, should be avoided.
You can expect soreness and swell over the incision after hernia surgery. It doesn’t mean that the surgery was unsuccessful. You will likely suffer some pain for a few days after undergoing hernia surgery, and It is also common to feel more tired, you might have flu or a low fever.
But after 5 days or so, patients start feeling better. A few patients might feel aches or stretch feel in the groin area while moving. But this is the time to resume regular activity without stressing yourself and avoid hurting.
After the surgery, it suggested that you don’t move swiftly or lift anything heavy until you feel completely fine. It would be better if you avoid lifting weights or engaging in sports or strenuous exercises for at least four to six weeks. Make sure to get your doctor’s opinion on resuming exercise routines or sports activities, because every patient’s condition is different and so is the type of procedure done.
There’s a general rule on what you can and can’t do as you recover from inguinal hernia surgery:
- You want to prevent infection
- enhance healing
- avoid strenuous activity that can hurt the place
- avoid brisk coughing and weight gain
With that in mind now let’s see what
- Working: It depends on the type of surgery you had and the type of work you do. Some people return to work within a week. Working is allowed, consider not doing much heavy work that strains the incision. Also, remember that you’ll tire more easily for the first few days. Talk with your doctor about how and when to resume working. If it hurts you must take rest.
- Walking: Walking is good for hernia recovery. It increases blood circulation, which speeds up healing. Just feel your body and make sure it doesn’t strain the abdomen.
- Driving: The effects of anaesthesia that has been used while performing the surgery can stay for up to one week, it is not safe to drive now. Talk to your doctor about when it’s safe for you to drive. You should never drive while taking prescription pain medication.
- Showering: Depending upon the type of repair you had, you may be able to shower in 2-3 days. Ask your doctor whether you need to keep the incision(s) dry for a while.
- Lifting: Avoid it for at least the first few weeks. Then start lifting only very light objects. As you slowly begin to lift more, try to engage your abdominal muscles as less as possible, use your knees and your back instead.
- Sports: You will not be able to play sports or engage in strenuous exercise for a few weeks. Again it will depend largely on the type of surgery you had, and the type of activity. Have a talk with your doctor about resuming sports activities.
- Sex: Ask your doctor when it’s appropriate for you to resume sexual activity. Your physical comfort will provide a good guide. Refer to this post for more details on this topic.
- There are no specific recommendations for diet, you can eat a normal diet. It is beneficial to consume low fat food like plain rice, toast, or yoghurt.
- If your appetite loss persists, and also you have severe nausea or difficulty to take in liquids, and see your doctor!
- Avoid eating constipating foods. Straining on the toilet can make the postoperative pain worse. A diet high in fibre, fresh fruits and vegetables, along with drinking lots of fluids, will help avoid constipation and the strain that goes with it.
- Antiinflammatory and analgesic medications are usually recommended in the first week after surgery. Take all medicines exactly as directed by your doctor! Ask your doctor if you can take OTC pain relievers if you don’t have a pain killer in the prescription.
- If you have antibiotics in prescription, make sure to take the full course of your antibiotics even if you start to feel better.
- If you experience side effects of a particular medicine, let your doctor know, your doctor might suggest you switch to a different medicine.
- Don’t discontinue taking your prescribed medicines without consulting the doctor! If you were taking a particular medicine for another health condition, ask your doctor if you can continue with that medicine after the surgery.
Incision /wound care
- For laparoscopic hernia repair, you may shower after 1-2 days, if there are gauzes on your incisions, take those off before showering, and change them every day.
- Wash the area around incision carefully, you may use lukewarm, soapy water. But don’t put alcohol, hydrogen peroxide or any other medication without your doctor’s permission. Let the area dry before covering with gauze again.
- If you have staples closing the incision, don’t remove the tape yourself!
And finally, you must know that each case is different, each person is different, so everyone will recover from an inguinal hernia repair differently and at a different pace. So, discuss with your doctor about your daily activities, what you can or can not do while you recover and follow all the instructions thoroughly.
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