Happy Camper Post-Op Tips

Nutritionist Dawn Aubrey guided me through a body boost program when I wasn’t making  progress in recovering from my hysterectomy.  Women experience many symptoms post-op, so we talked about some of the most common challenges,  causes and nutritional solutions.  Acupuncture is a very effective supplement and between the two strategies, my healing process accellerated and energy levels are back to normal. Note: It can take a year or more to fully recover internally and emotionally. These tips are meant to make you as comfortable as possible and kick-start the healing. Of course, your doctor should be a part of the conversation.  Here are Dawn’s post-op tips:

Thea: What is the biggest health challenge women face when recovering from a any surgery?

Dawn Aubrey

Dawn Aubrey

Dawn: Fear, anger and loss, which in Chinese medicine affects the liver, gallbladder and lungs. Surgery is a physiological trigger for stress response. Anesthesia is an environmental trigger to a stress response.  From a western nutrition perspective, anesthesia interrupts the breathing dynamics, alters the hormonal balance, and therefore the adrenal glands.  Sleep challenges usually is the symptom that shows up first. Most importantly, the modern woman puts undue pressure on herself to bounce back to superwoman. Remember to ask for help, so that others will be blessed to give. The giving/recieving dynamic actually creates endorphins for both individuals. So, give someone else the opportunity to feel wanted and needed.

Thea: How can we overcome that challenge with nutrition/supplements?

Dawn: Most surgeries trigger an inflammatory response, and natural antiinflammatories are very helpful. Since I am an enzyme therapist, my favorite supplement post-surgical is Transformation Enzyme Corporation’s TPP Protease. A double blind study at Baylor University showed inflammation reduction in several markers in blood work.

Thea:  Many women get hormone imbalances– especially when ovaries are removed.  What can they do to get their chemical balance back? 

Dawn:  Since hormones are made of fat and protein, the intake of quality, healthy fats and proteins are extremely important. Healthy fats include avocados, nuts, seeds, olives, flax, and coconut for starters. Organic, is preferred, since they have less toxins, and more nutrients. Proteins should be organic, grass fed, and free range roaming, as these proteins contain Omega 3 fatty acids (good fats), and inorganic, grain fed proteins contain Omega 6 fatty acids which increase an inflammatory response. At the same time, a woman should consult with a functional medicine practitioner about hormone balance, through testing to achieve the best of medical and nutritional worlds.

Of course it makes sense for anyone who wants a higher level of health to take plant-based full spectrum digestive enzymes with meals to absorb all possible nutrients from healthy food. Further, if we have food cravings, usually we are not digesting those foods. For example, if we are craving sweets, we probably are not breaking down starch and other carbohydrates properly. The body sees that nutrient missing, and triggers the craving. To break the viscious cycle, take enzymes with your meal.

Thea: Another common complaint is constipation. What causes it and how can we treat it without medication?

Dawn: Constipation usually is because of leaky gut, lack of fiber, and lack of quality sleep. In the case of post-surgical situations, often yeast and fungus can trigger an imbalance in the G.I. tract, and create more constipation. So, several servings of fiber rich foods such as beans and legumes and water dense vegetables are very helpful, to get the G.I. tract moving again. Water intake is also important. Rule of thumb is to take your body weight, divide by 2, and this tells us how many ounces of water to drink a day, as a minimum. (Not coffee, tea, sodas, or alcohol.) Additionally, probiotics and insoluable fiber supplements are helpful as well. I personally use Transformation Enzymes TPP Probiotic 42.5, and Releasezyme, and recommend it to my clients.

Thea:  Some women feel a tremendous sense of loss after a hysterectomy and end up with depression and/or anxiety.  Do you have “happy camper” nutrition tips?

Dawn: Yes!  Address the loss as you would the loss of a family member, pet, or a move. Keep a journal, and talk to a trusted friend or therapist. Give yourself permission to grieve, and move on. See the “Mourner’s Bill of Rights.” With the loss of B vitamins because of surgery, depression can feel worse. Talk to your nutritionist and doctor about a micro nutrient test, and address your needs specifically, as supplementation for specific B vitamins and antioxidants vary from person to person. Eating nutrient-dense, organic vegetables has an incredible healing factor. Eating comfort foods can worsen depression, stress, anxiety and sleep problems, though there is a temporary stimulant involved.

Additionally, taking a media fast is helpful to disrupt stress triggers. To tell a bit of a personal story, I had to learn to be a good advocate for myself while my son was deployed in Iraq. I had to tell well-meaning friends and family that their efforts were not helpful, and created more stress. Once prompted, they were grateful for the ques. See also “Trip to Tahiti” relaxation technique.

Thea:  We typically forget about pre-op steps we can take to ease recovery.  Any suggestions there?
Dawn:  Yes. Address inflammation before the surgery. Address family dynamics before, and address emotional components before the surgery. Recognize that surgery may disrupt the usual routine. Prepare some meals ahead, or ask family/community members to help with meals, carpooling etc. Often neglected is the spiritual component. A recent study proved that people who were prayed for, with physical touch, recovered faster than those who weren’t prayed for, or touched.

Have a question for Dawn?  Please post it in the comments below or visit her web site for more information.  If you have experienced a life-changing event and are ready to create a new Signature Style, please contact me.

thea2013floralThea Wood
Signature Stylist
Because You’re Going Places
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