Post-hysterectomy pain management
June 30, 2018 10:25 AM   Subscribe

If you've had a laparoscopic hysterectomy, for how long did you need narcotic pain relief afterwards?

I had a total hysterectomy and ovary removal Wednesday. At the hospital, I was on a Tylenol drip with Percocet given orally every six hours. This was... not effective, and I was able to eventually advocate to eliminating the Percocet in favor of Dilaudid administered intravenously every two hours.

On Thursday, we had difficulty getting my pain level to a four so I could be discharged. Ultimately, we found that Vicodin worked better than Percocet; however, the order for Percocet had already been called in and picked up earlier that day. The (female) doctors discharging me told me to try the Percocet for a day and if it wasn't providing adequate relief, to call the hospital.

Since the Percocet only works for three to four hours and I can only take it every six, I called the hospital today, only for a (male) doctor to hardcore lecture me that I shouldn't be taking ANY narcotics AT ALL at this point. He was seriously so fucking rude and dismissive.

I feel like I'm in a normal amount of pain for just having major surgery on Wednesday and that it's still absolutely appropriate to be taking narcotic pain relief, but doctor dude has me second guessing myself so I'd like to hear the experiences of others. I've been dutifully taking my short walks and non-narcotic pain medication as well.
posted by Ruki to Health & Fitness (8 answers total)
I've not had a hysterectomy but have had several major surgeries. That doc is a judgy piece of shit. You shouldn't even think about reducing pain meds for a week. Get out of pain first. Call and ask for a different doc, and enlist someone to help make sure you are appropriately relieved of pain.
posted by Dashy at 10:57 AM on June 30, 2018 [2 favorites]

I've had a laparoscopic hysterectomy and oophrectomy. I found the pain nearly unbelievable for the first three days and shot through crazy amounts of opioid painkillers, then the pain tapered off sharply and I was able to stop taking the pills during the day. I was off painkillers entirely 10 days out.

I tell you this as merely a data point. It doesn't actually matter what I did or what MY pain levels were. You are in pain after major surgery and the total removal of a huge bodily system. The doctor you spoke to who was a lecturing prick doesn't actually matter. He's not experiencing your pain. He wasn't even in the operating room. He doesn't know the ins and outs. You might have had a particularly tough time on the table. You might have a very sensitive sense of pain. In the end, you're in pain: you don't have to be. Take pain pills. The pills prescribed to you by your ACTUAL doctors. The pain will fade as fast as it fades. When you feel better you'll feel better and likely you'll find yourself skipping your pills when you're ready to stop.
posted by DSime at 11:49 AM on June 30, 2018 [4 favorites]

it's been 3 fucking days from an ORGAN REMOVAL and he's lecturing you? ignore him. what a garbage moron piece of shit.

anyway. i took vicodin for 8-9 days i think? but i busted stitches open on day 6 trying desperately to poop so that set back my recovery a bit. i also 100% always ignore what the prescription says wrt how many times per day i should take something. if i'm in pain from having my body cut open then i'm going to pay attention to the things my body is telling me, like MAKE THE PAIN STOP. if it's every 4h the first day or so, i don't worry about it at all. (however if it was like every 2h then i would call the doctor and say that something feels Not Right)

also i would call back and ask to speak to that doctor again and say DID YOU THINK I WAS ACTING HYSTERICAL and then hang up on him but i make bad life decisions.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:59 PM on June 30, 2018 [9 favorites]

I had robotic laparoscopic hysterectomy in December. I think I was on Vicodin for about 5 days after overnight in the hospital.

I’m sorry that you were treated like that. You should be able to devote your time to healing, not justifying your need for pain medication right after major surgery

Your request is perfectly reasonable. Do you have someone who could call on your behalf? Also, uncontrolled post-op pain is a valid reason to visit the ER. However, you may risk readmission.

Another thought: what is the dose? I am pretty sure I was on 7.5 or maybe even 10 mg of hydrocodone when discharged. I don’t think the 5 mg dose would have been effective for me. There are medications that can be given to potentiate opiates, and you may be able to add ibuprofen if your doctor says it’s ok (it thins blood so it is not always appropriate for post op pain).

I also found the biggest source of my pain was GAS!!! It hurt so bad when I had to pass gas. It was sharp, stabbing pain in my abdomen. Are you taking anything to help with gas? I’ve had abdominal surgery before, several times actually, and never had this type of gas pain with those procedures. Nothing helped that pain except farting/pooping and a stool softener. Opiates and anti-nausea meds usually cause constipation anyway.
posted by FergieBelle at 5:26 PM on June 30, 2018

I had a robotic laparoscopic hysterectomy/salpingo-oophorectomy about 6 weeks ago. I took my prescribed endocet for a week, and then was fine with ibuprofen and occasional acetominophen.
posted by theatro at 7:11 PM on June 30, 2018

Response by poster: Hey! So since I posted this question, I've been treated for a post-surgical infection and I'm about to head out for an ultrasound to check for internal bleeding. So that doctor can go fuck himself sideways. (My surgeon also hasn't done anything to relieve the pain, but is at least trying to find the cause of it, because it's getting worse instead of better, and he did call in prescriptions for HRT now that I finished the antibiotics and also something for the yeast infection the antibiotics caused, so there's that.)
Thanks for the answers, my people!
posted by Ruki at 10:05 AM on July 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure from your question if your surgeon is also your usual gynecologist - if those are two different people, you may wish to see your gynecologist for a prescription for painkillers. They may be more familiar with and receptive to the concept that uterus-related issues can be extremely painful. If I'm reading you right it sounds like no one has actually yet prescribed you the painkiller that actually works for you (Vicodin). If you can, go see someone who will help you manage your pain while your healing takes place, even if it's your PCP.
posted by DSime at 2:48 PM on July 16, 2018

Response by poster: The surgeon is at the same practice as my GYN, so going to her isn't really an option. And you're correct. I never got the Vicodin. On really good days, I can get the pain down to a six with naproxen in the afternoon (after I take it for the second time that day). I go back to the surgeon Wednesday. The ultrasound tech went to talk to the radiologist after she had finished and he came in to do another ultrasound so, uh, that was interesting. Obviously, he couldn't tell me much, but did say there was some free fluid and inflammation. He was super sympathetic to my pain, too.
posted by Ruki at 4:02 PM on July 16, 2018

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