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Your nurse will go over discharge instructions specific to you and give you several prescriptions. To help you prepare, these instructions are summarized in the following sections.
Expected course of recovery
Pain - it is normal to experience crampy abdominal pain for several days after the procedure, similar to an intense menstrual period. Symptoms should respond to Narcotic pain relievers such as Vicodin or Percocet, and a heating pad is also helpful for many women.
Bleeding and discharge - it is normal to have some bleeding or spotting for a month and occasionally beyond. It is usually much less than before the procedure if your symptom was excessive bleeding. Occasionally you may miss a period for a cycle or two. Please contact us if you have foul-smelling discharge, since this could indicate an infection.
Mild fever - normal following embolization, but should not be over 101 degrees Fahrenheit. Nausea is also not uncommon for a few days after the procedure. Anti-nausea medication should relieve this.
If you had any dietary restrictions prior due to other treatments or diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or renal disease, please continue with these. Otherwise, there are no restrictions on your diet, but eating too much too soon might make you feel sick. Begin slowly with small amounts and avoid rich foods. Nausea after embolization is usually mild. If your symptoms are more severe, you will be given a prescription for medication that can help with that as needed.
For pain: Strong pain reliever, usually Vicodin or Percocet. You can take one or two of these every six hours, but only as needed.
Do not drive after taking these medicines, they cause drowsiness
These contain Tylenol. Please do not take any extra Tylenol for pain for fever if you are taking either of these medications.
For fever and inflammation: Naprosyn (prescription strength Aleve), is a non-narcotic pain medicine and anti-inflammatory. Take this medicine at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and bedtime, regardless of your pain level for 7 days. This medicine specifically targets the pain producing cells in the uterus. It may also be helpful for your first menstrual period to take Naprosyn if you have cramping.
It is important to take this medicine with food to prevent or reduce GI upset/heartburn
Stool softener: Senokot or Dulcolax are stool softeners that will prevent or help with constipation. Take this twice a day, morning and night. A number of factors may tend to make you constipated, such as pain pills, a decrease in food and water, and a tendency to be less active. After two or three days, if you haven't moved your bowels, you will need to get two Fleets enemas from your local pharmacy. If the first has little or no effect, take the second after a half hour or so. Continue to take the stool softener until you are having regular bowel movements.
For nausea: Phenergan may be taken every 6 hours, only if you are having nausea. This medication may make you drowsy, please do not drive.
Expect to be tired for the first week or two after the procedure and gradually gaining strength back. Do not plan anything active or requiring your close attention for the first few days following discharge from the hospital. Avoid lifting more than 10 pounds for 48 hours. Strenuous exercise, including activities that increase blood flow to abdomen (some yoga positions) is discouraged for one week. If you work, arrange for two weeks of time off to allow complete recovery.
Bathing: You may shower 24 hours after the procedure. Gently wash the catheter insertion site with soap and water, do not scrub. Do not bathe or soak in water for 5 days following the procedure.
Most women do not need a follow up visit in Interventional Radiology after this procedure, but we will be in contact with you several times by telephone during your recovery. We want to be contacted if you experience any unpleasant side effects not relieved by your discharge medications, especially fever, cramps, abdominal pain and/or vaginal discharge. These could indicate an infection.
It is not uncommon to experience a change in your menstrual periods after the procedure. Abnormally heavy periods usually become much lighter, or you may miss a period or two altogether. If your fibroids are submucosal, you may find that you are passing clots during and even in between your periods. Sometimes you will even see bits of fibroid tissue pass. Most of the time, this will happen without any additional discomfort. Occasionally, however, a large portion of the fibroid will break off and passes slowly or even become lodged. If you feel crampy abdominal pain that lasts longer than a few hours or there is foul-smelling discharge, please contact us immediately. Usually oral medications will suffice, but occasionally we will need to have you return for evaluation and possibly admit you to the hospital.
When to get medical and emergency help
See our contact information below and ask for the on-call fellow:
If you have a temperature over 101
If you have chills, a new cough, or feel weak and achy beyond 1 week of the procedure
If your pain is not controlled
You have questions about your treatment or new prescriptions