My mum recently asked me to look into ways we EndoWarriors may better prepare our bodies to accept, and recover, from anesthesia of our surgeries.
For my July surgery, I cut out alcohol the second I knew I had my confirmed surgery date and waited another two weeks before having my first sip. So, I went a month without any booze. Why? Just because I thought it would be nice to pamper my liver in the hopes that my body would handle things a bit easier…or smoothly…or whatever. But did I do any research? Nope. So, now here comes the research.
Medications, Vitamins, Herbs, Recreational Drugs
This is VERY important so I will begin with this statement. Some medications (including birth control), drugs, vitamins, and supplements may interfere with the efficacy and processes of anesthesia. Please be sure to give a thorough list to your doctor of everything you’re taking the moment you learn you have a surgery date. Your physician may have you stop taking some of these immediately. Others, you may be instructed to stop taking a few weeks, days, or hours before surgery.
One study stated that oral contraceptives should be discontinued six weeks before surgery due to an increased risk of deep vein thrombosis (blood clots).
However, if you are interested in a homeopathic route after surgery to strengthen your body there are many supplements that are touted to boost the liver’s abilities and flush kidneys, etc. Do your research! And…talk to your doctor before starting any supplements.
If you smoke, try to stop smoking as soon you hear you have a surgery date. This could be a month or more in advance. Too much? Try to cut out smoking at least two weeks before surgery. If you can’t cut it cold turkey that far in advance, try hard to at least abstain from smoking a few days before your surgery. It will alleviate a greater potential for breathing problems or complications while under anesthesia.
Alcohol may also interfere with anesthesia as well as lead to excessive bleeding during surgery. Health24 recommends cutting out all alcohol at least a week before surgery, longer if you’re a “heavy drinker.” And you want to keep the liver functioning at full-capacity after surgery, so avoid alcohol a week or two later.
Omitting meat and dairy products before and immediately after a surgery may help with your body’s recovery. Certain foods can cause inflammation and discomfort. And, according to some studies, people who did not consume dairy prior to colo-rectal surgeries had a faster recovery than those who did. A healthy diet of fiber can keep the blood from clotting, which may minimize the risk of clots occurring after surgery. A high-fiber diet will also keep your innards a well-lubed & poopin’ machine.
In 1993, mice were given a high-fat diet for three weeks before surgery, some mice were not, and other mice were switched from a high-fat diet to a low-fat diet. Fatty-tissue chemicals change during surgery. These same chemicals “talk” to organs inside our body. During surgery, that fatty tissue…and those chemicals…are traumatized, just like any other flesh being cut into. The study found that the mice who had the low-fat diet had fewer changes in their fatty-tissue-chemical-balance than the fatty-diet mice. It suggests that a low-fat diet before surgery may aid in recovery because of the potential of minimalized trauma to that tissue.
And a study in 1998 found that potatoes (and fresh eggplant) may make it harder for the body to break down and eliminate any lingering effects of anesthesia. Potatoes and fresh eggplant may contain a chemical called solonaceous glycoalkaloids (SGAs) – ever cut up a potato and found green inside? That’s evidence of SGAs. SGAs are usually found in the stems, leaves, and sprouts, but may make their way into the edible part through damage or light exposure. The broken down layman version of the article? Even a tiny amount of SGAs in your system can cause a delay in the body’s ability to recover from anesthetic compounds.
Drink Your Water!
Staying hydrated, before (not the morning of, unfortunately) and after surgery is always a healthy decision. But it will also help your body operate at optimal capacity. So, drink up. Keep those liver and kidneys happy and healthy!
So what did I learn today? Probably the same things you did. And when I do have future surgeries, I’ll:
- Immediately talk to my doctor about my medications, vitamins, supplements, etc. to see if I need to stop anything – and the timeline to do so;
- Do the same thing I did with alcohol that I did this last surgery: cut it out a few weeks before and after;
- Try to better follow my anti-inflammatory diet (NO CHEEEEEESE!) and steer clear of delicious potatoes a few weeks before surgery;
- Continue to drink lots of water. Seriously, it’s the only thing I drink these days, besides wine and beer (haha).
What about you? Do you do something to prepare your body for surgery and recovery? Share below. I’d love to hear it.
American Society of Anesthesiologists – Preparing for Surgery Checklist
Australian Society of Anaesthetists – Preparing for Your Anaesthetic
BBC News – Gas, Injection or Potato?
California Society of Anesthesiologists – Five Tips to Help Your Patients Prepare for Anesthesia and Surgery
California Society of Anesthesiologists – Ten Questions to Ask Before Anesthesiology
Health 24 – Diet Preparations Before Surgery
Health24 – Prepare Yourself Mentally and Physically Before Surgery
Hippokratia Quarterly Medical Journal – (Article; Jan. 2007) – Preoperative Evaluation and Preparation for Anesthesia and Surgery
Juicing for Health – Anesthesia Side Effects and How to Flush Out Toxins Post-Surgery
Mayo Clinic – General Anesthesia
Mind Body Green Health – 5 Ways to Bounce Back Quickly After Anesthesia
Science Daily – What You Eat Before Surgery May Affect Your Recovery
University of Chicago Medicine – Potatoes Prolong Anesthetic Reaction
~ Again, I am a layman. I do not hold any college degrees, nor mastery of knowledge. Please take what I say with a grain of salt. If curious, do your own research 😉 Validate my writings. Or challenge them. And ALWAYS feel free to consult with your physician. Always. Yours ~ Lisa