Having a tummy tuck can be life-changing. By removing excess skin and fat, it can give you a trimmer, more toned appearance. From the patient's perspective, undergoing the procedure is pretty easy. You're put under anesthesia, and when you wake up, your excess skin is gone! What comes next, though, is a little harder: recovery. There will be some pain and discomfort, but if you follow the tips below, this recovery process will be manageable.
Limit the salt and carbohydrates in your diet
In the first week or two following your tummy tuck, you will want to avoid any foods that could cause bloating, as that could put pressure on your stitches and intensify any pain. Try to avoid really salty foods, as these encourage the body to hold onto water, thereby increasing bloating. Also avoid carbohydrates, as these tend to pull water into the digestive tract and encourage bloating. While you're recovering, a diet high in protein and with a moderate amount of fiber is ideal.
Drink plenty of water
Drinking plenty of water will help protect against bloating, too. Keep a water bottle near your bedside as you relax and recover, and remember to take a sip every couple of minutes. Often, bottles with straw-style mouthpieces are the easiest to drink from when you're lying down.
Don't do too much too quickly
After a tummy tuck, it is really important for you to avoid physical activity. For at least two weeks, your doctor will recommend doing little more than lying down with your head and chest elevated. Some patients start feeling much better after a few days or a week, so they figure they can do a little housework or get a little more activity. But this is a mistake that often backfires, pulling at stitches and slowing the healing process. Stay in bed for as long as your doctor advises, even if you feel you can do more sooner.
Take stool softeners
Opiate pain relievers are really good at managing the pain during the first few days after a tummy tuck, but they do have the unfortunate consequence of causing constipation, which can make your abdominal pain worse. So, always take a stool softener along with your opiate pain relievers. And as soon as you feel able to stop the opiates and start taking naproxen or ibuprofen instead, do so. Most patients only need opiates for a few days after surgery.
Recovering from a tummy tuck won't be the most comfortable thing you ever do, but with the tips above, you should be able to minimize discomfort.
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