Even minor surgeries can create situations where recovery time may be prolonged. Obviously, the more extensive the surgery, the more time it can take to return to normal lifestyle activities, but the actions that a person takes after a surgery can also influence the speed of recovery.
Specifics And General Considerations
Both before and after surgery, primary health care professionals will go over the expectations for recovery, and any necessary protocols for this process. It is important for patients to recognize that some actions that are required are specific to either their condition, the type of surgery that was performed, or even genetic and co-morbid factors that can impact the process of healing.
This can mean that individuals who have lowered immune systems in general my need special recovery recommendations in order to address this factor. Further, individuals with clotting factor deficiencies or viral conditions that can lead to an increased chance of infection are also candidates for more specialized recovery care. However, even general actions to speed recovery can have a significant impact on the time it takes to return to full wellness.
Although all decisions regarding health behaviors are best made through working collaboratively with health care professionals, the following six steps can enhance existing recovery protocols.
Which Supplements To Take And Quit
Beginning proper supplementation prior to surgery can also enhance the effects of a speedy recovery, although continuing the regimen post op is also important. A complete multivitamin is always beneficial in regards to supplying the cells with the extra nutrients that are needed to heal faster. However, the following additions to supplementation can also speed wound healing and reduce the risk of infection.
- Vitamin C – anywhere between 1000 and 2500 mg as an extra dose has been shown to speed wound healing. The compounds in this supplement are not only vital to cellular energy and the reduction of anti-oxidants, but they are also integral to supporting the structure of skin and connective tissues.
- Bioflavonoids and B Vitamins – these are also vital for proper cellular metabolism and healing, and should be taken in doses of around 1000 mg daily. This will ensure that the body has the extra energy it needs in order to repair the damaged tissue.
- Vitamin E or Wheat Germ Oil – these supplements may be used both internally and externally. Internally, Vitamin E will help with the reduction of infection, but will also contribute to the building blocks needed in repair. Once the wound has begun to self suture, the oil can be used externally to reduce the occurrence of scarring.
- Probiotics – any surgery and the use of antibiotics pre or post op can impact the balance of beneficial bacteria in the body. This will not only cause digestive issues, but can further compromise the immune system, although supplementing with probiotics can help to restore the balance and function of the body more quickly.
- Bromelain – this supplement contains a strong enzyme that helps to break down proteins. Although it is often used as a digestive aid, it will also speed recovery time by aiding white blood cells in the removal of debris around the wound area. Further, bromelain also has anti-inflammatory effects, but without causing the blood thinning that is a usual side effect with NSAIDS.
While many natural supplements will aid in recovery from surgery, there are also supplements that should be avoided. Although these are still natural products, their effects on the body could compromise or slow the process of healing, generally because they are either blood thinners, can be toxic to the healing cells, or contain compounds that may cause skin irritations and lowered immune function. Some of these supplements include:
- St. John’s Wort
The Need To Avoid Alcohol And Pills
As mentioned in regards to supplements that should not be taken after surgery, this is largely due to effects that can become detrimental to the healing of wounds. Alcohol and over the counter pills should also be considered as equally dangerous, since these substances can prolong healing time and lead to complications.
Alcohol presents several issues, not the least of which is counter interactions with professionally prescribed post op drugs. This is particularly important if opioids are given for pain management, since alcohol negates the time release of the drug and can lead to death through accidental overdose. Beyond the interactions, alcohol does reduce the clotting factor in the blood, and this can cause slower healing due to an inability of the skin to form natural sutures.
Over the counter pills, including NSAIDs, diet pills, and other common medications should also be avoided. Although a main concern is with blood thinning even for these medications, healing can also be speeded up when the body does not need to process excess toxins from drugs or alcohol.
The Importance Of Vitamins
As mentioned above, supplemental vitamins can greatly improve recovery times. A general multivitamin should always be included, especially since the body will need extra nutrients in order to recover more quickly. Beyond this, further supplementation of therapeutic doses of Vitamin C, B complex vitamins, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E will aid in rebalancing the body and speeding the heal time for the trauma. Further, a healthy vitamin regimen can also give patients added energy that can improve emotional states during this time of healing.
Sunshine As Therapy
Another helpful point for surgery recovery is to ensure that patients are able to receive ample sunshine. Primarily, the need for natural Vitamin D production is integral to the healing of connective tissue, since this vitamin plays a large role in structure and support for the cells. A secondary, but equally important aspect is that sunshine will also impact emotional states. By encouraging the positivity that can come from hormonal releases through the exposure to sunshine, patients can also find that their better mental state improves the healing process.
Foods To Eat For Recovery
This step may also require collaboration with health care professionals, especially depending upon the individual’s condition or specialized needs. However, in general cases, foods to eat for recovery should include:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Lean proteins
- Unprocessed whole grains
The cleaner the foods are, the better they are able to support the body.
Also, these foods contain many of the vitamins which are already beneficial to surgery recovery, and this can also help boost energy, heal time, and attitude. One of the biggest things that patients should bear in mind is that processed foods can slow down healing, since the body now needs to process more toxins. Whole and clean foods let the body use the nutrients with better efficiency.
Rest Time Is a Part Of The Journey
Although it should seem obvious that plenty of rest is needed to recover from surgery, not all patients truly realize this necessity. The truth is that cells in the body regenerate more quickly and effectively when a person is in rest mode. This means that taking it easy will actually allow for a person to get back on their feet faster, and with less complications.