Looking after yourself
An adult must stay with you for the first 24 hours after your operation in case you experience any problems.
If you're still in pain after going home, continue taking painkillers as advised by the hospital.
Applying gentle pressure to your wound using your hand or a small pillow can make coughing, sneezing and moving between sitting and standing more comfortable.
Make sure you follow the instructions your nurse gave you about caring for your wound, hygiene and bathing.
Straining on the toilet because of constipation can cause pain around your wound.
You can reduce your risk of constipation by drinking lots of fluids and eating plenty of vegetables, fruit and high-fibre foods, such as brown rice, wholemeal bread and pasta.
A mild over-the-counter laxative may also help.
If the operation was carried out under a general anaesthetic (which puts you to sleep during your operation), your co-ordination and reasoning may be affected for a short time.
Avoid drinking alcohol, operating machinery or signing legal documents for at least 48 hours after any operation involving general anaesthetic.
Over time, you can gradually return to your normal activities as soon as you're able to do them without feeling any pain.
Most people are able to do light activities, such as shopping, after 1 or 2 weeks.
You should also be able to return to work after 1 or 2 weeks, although you may need more time off if your job involves manual labour.
Gentle exercise, such as walking, can help the healing process, but you should avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activities for about 4 to 6 weeks.
You may find sex painful or uncomfortable at first, but it's usually fine to have sex when you feel like it.
Speak to the medical professional in charge of your care for advice about when you can drive.
It's usually advisable to avoid driving until you're able to perform an emergency stop without feeling any pain or discomfort (you can practise this without starting your car).
It'll usually be 1 or 2 weeks before you reach this point after having laparoscopy (keyhole surgery), although it may take longer after open surgery.
It's usually recommended that you contact your car insurance company before starting driving again.
When to call a doctor
Call your surgeon if you develop any of the following symptoms:
- a persistent high temperature over 38C
- increased swelling or pain in your abdomen
- pain that isn't relieved by painkillers
- persistent nausea or vomiting
- persistent coughing or shortness of breath
- increasing redness surrounding your incisions (cuts)
- difficulty passing urine