Surgery and Health

Prior to surgery, nutritional supplements are frequently needed.  Surgery of  can raise anxiety for for the whole family, and surgery on reproductive organs can be especially difficult for both sexual partners.  Both deserve to know as much as possible about what may occur and how to prevent future problems.  Some physicians prefer to give minimal information, hoping to minimize problems.  However, this approach leaves the couple with less hope, more anxiety, and fewer resources when problems do occur.  They may be less able to approach the physician for further assistance.

“I know I’m gonna have to have that surgery.  That’s another big worry, for me and my husband.  He thinks things down there will never be the same.  He’s afraid he’ll hurt me, hasn’t touched me for weeks since Doc said I had to make plans.  Those floods every month have been draining me of my strength.  I know I gotta take iron.  I’m so tired, I need something to build me up.”

Surgery of any kind is stressful and increases the body’s needs for nutrition.  Additional protein, carbohydrates, and a little fat is necessary for the repair of cut and torn tissue.  The strain on the nervous system and the higher demand on the metabolic processes increases the needs for the Vitamin B Complex, Vitamins A, D, and C, and the mineral zinc.  When bleeding is heavy before or during surgery, additional iron is needed.  In some cases, additional Vitamin K and/or calcium is needed to control bleeding.

If you are accustomed to taking supplementary vitamins and minerals, be sure to advise your physicians that you would like them continued after surgery while still in the hospital.  Water soluble vitamins B’s and C are quickly excreted from the body and need to be restored to the customary level as soon as possible and can be added to the usual intravenous fluids.

Family members and staff who are supportive and capable of giving tender, loving care and accurate information are needed in the period immediately surrounding the surgical event.  If the recovery time is prolonged, encouragement for the patients to do more for themselves is needed.

The physical, surgical removal of hormone producing tissue, such as thyroid, adrenals, pancreas, testes, ovaries and lesser known hormone tissue, dramatically demonstrates the effects of hormones on emotions.  Each hormone tissue has its specific set of deficiency symptoms upon removal.  Insist that your doctor tell you the possible “side-effects” and feelings you may experience so that you will know what may occur and what to report to the doctor.

Decreases of progesterone hormones after a hysterectomy, and of estrogen after removal of one or both ovaries, frequently affect women’s emotional responses.  Those affected have “jittery, tense, something’s not right” feelings, and have “creepy crawly” sensations under the skin.  Emotions are easily aroused with high sensitivity to otherwise ordinary events and comments of family members.  “Crying jags” are common.  Patients comment, “I feel like I’m losing my mind!”  These feelings are over and above the physical effects of the actual surgical removal, repair, and healing of tissue.  Replacement hormone therapy is very helpful in relieving these symptoms.

Even if you do not have the above symptoms, discuss the advantages and disadvantages of replacement hormone therapy with your doctor.  In addition to helping you keep emotional control, replacement hormones benefit skin, bones, vaginal and bladder tissues.

Acne

Severe Acne sometimes requires surgery to repair scarring.
When hormone replacement for women includes testosterone, acne may occur.  And acne can occur from other sources.  See http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/acne-care-11/medications (accessed Nov. 1, 2013).

Allergies and emotions may complicate the acne condition.  When ordinary measures of cleanliness and nutrition fail to control acne, a physician’s help for antibiotic treatment and allergy testing needs to be sought.

“Sissy won’t eat, but she does love chocolate.  Both those kids have a sweet tooth.  Then she goes spastic if she gets a pimple.  Junior acts like he doesn’t care, but I’m afraid he’s going to scar, it’s so bad.”

Self-Esteem
The effects on self-esteem from scarring due to severe acne is dramatic.  Effective methods to reduce and control acne must be utilized.  Avoiding foods that cause flare-ups, keeping one’s face and hands clean and hands away from the face are important.  For details on treatment options when over the counter aids fail, see
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/acne/DS00169/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs (accessed Nov. 1 2013)

Self-esteem may be affected by any kind of surgery depending on how the patient views the situation, loss of body parts, scarring, changes in body functioning…all affect our emotions about ourselves and sometimes about our relationships.  This can be particularly true in the case of bowel or urinary system surgery, with or without some type of ostomy (opening for body excretions).

A post surgical problem of dehydration and constipation is common on top of the emotional effects from changes in body image.

Dehydration
Dehydration is common in other situations also but especially in
Heat Stroke

“Junior got his first job this summer.  I think he got heat stroke.  The boss said the men folk told him not to drink anything ’cause it would make it worse.  They didn’t have any salt pills!  Well, he got dizzy and pale as a sheet.  Couldn’t walk straight.  Couldn’t talk straight.  Passed out for a little while.  They got real scared and took him to the emergency room.  He was out of his head when I first saw him.  They figured it out, thank God, and gave him some I.V’s.  In a few hours he was feeling O.K. again.”

Severe dehydration due to heat may mimic mental illness.  Restoration of fluids with salt, potassium, and calcium can provide a dramatic recovery.  Fluids by mouth, such as Gatorade and beef broth can help.  Intravenous glucose and electrolyte fluids may be necessary.  Neglect of dehydration and heat stroke can be fatal.  Dehydration also occurs in elderly who lose the sensation of thirst or who are restrained from activity without access to fluids.

Too often seniors are too far from or too weak to handle their water containers when hospitalized.  When you leave your loved one’s bedside, offer fluids, and be sure they are within easy reach.  For more about dehydration go to Dehydration Symptoms at http://www.news-medical.net/health/Dehydration-Symptoms.aspx

Toxins
Dehydration makes any toxic substance worse.  And undiagnosed toxin damage can complicate recovery from surgery.  Anesthetics are not technically considered toxins, however, for prolonged surgery and for persons who are sensitive to drugs, including most elderly people, the after-effects may be very serious.

Brain function can be damaged, sometimes permanently, by toxic levels or chemicals and metals, infections with high fever, head injuries, vitamin B12 deficiency, and tumors.  When brain function deteriorates, a thorough evaluation by a physician is mandatory to obtain accurate diagnosis and treatment of reversible conditions and assistance in coping with non-reversible ones.  Infants and children are especially vulnerable to toxins such as, smoke, lead, mold, and many more sources of illness existing in the environment.

For more information on a wide variety of toxins in the environment go to
http://www.webmd.com/allergies/tc/environmental-illness-health-tools#
and

http://www.webmd.com/allergies/tc/environmental-illness-toxins-in-our-environment
and for other places to find help
 http://www.webmd.com/allergies/tc/environmental-illness-other-places-to-get-help
The blog that follows Surgery and Health will deal with the stresses of daily living.

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