December 6, 2012

5 Post-Surgery Questions You Need to Ask Your Doctor

Navy doctor prepares to insert an endoscope through a patient's belly button before performing surgery
After any kind of surgical procedure, there is always a list of things you need to do to aid your healing body, in addition to a handful of things you are to stay away from. Among others, here are five questions that your doctor should address:

What Can I Eat and What Should I Avoid? Between surgery, antibiotics, and pain killers, there are certain foods you often need to stay away from, while others are recommended. For example, thicker foods like Greek yogurt are often recommended when taking food before painkillers since it coats the stomach and will help tone down nausea, one common side effect of pain killers.

On the other hand, you will undoubtedly be told after surgery not to consume certain foods. For instance, it might be dairy, raw fish, anything citrusy, or spicy foods.

Can I get the Wounds/Stitches Wet? Your doctor may urge you to keep your bandages dry at all costs. If they get wet, they can sometimes slow the healing process or even cause infection, since bacteria breed in warm, moist environments. Other times, it's not a problem at all. Check with your doctor to see what to do in your specific case, and don't forget to ask that if you can get it wet, if a mild soap is acceptable as well.

Can I Work Out? When in doubt, DON'T work it out; but asking your doctor never hurts. He might recommend that a little light cardio--like a walk through your neighborhood--will do you good; or he might demand that you sit on your butt for two weeks until you've recovered.

If he does tell you to go ahead and work out but to take it easy, don't take his advice lightly. Surgery can be very traumatizing to your body, whether you notice it or not. Be careful not to push yourself as hard as you normally would, and set smaller goals to reach. You need time to work your way back up.

Should I Be Applying Any Cream? After a surgical procedure, you could be instructed to apply a healing ointment that helps reduce scarring or prevent infection; but don't take it upon yourself to do this anyway without being told. Always consult your doctor, since applying an ointment could be incredibly risky and slow down healing if it's not what you're supposed to be doing.

Are There Any Types of Pills I Should Avoid? You never know what a certain combination of pills could do to your recovering system. Find out what else you're allowed to take besides what you've already been prescribed. Even pills that seem as mild as over-the-counter purchases are often on the no-no list from your doctor.

With the right information, your recovery can be a lot easier than you might be imagining. Go into your doctor's office with smart questions prepared, and you'll feel a lot more capable of caring for yourself post-surgery.

Sarah Belcher writes for several insurance blogs. Check online for health insurance quotes or insurance for small companies.

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