Alcohol after Hysterectomy

The rule for this varies from patient to patient. In general, alcohol should be avoided for at least the first 48 hours after your hysterectomy. From there, it can depend on a variety of factors. Some HysterSisters have been allowed alcohol at one week post-op, others have had to wait several weeks.

The wait time depends on your specific health situation and medications. No alcohol should be consumed while you are taking narcotics. You should also check with your doctor about mixing alcohol and over-the-counter medications, especially those with blood thinning properties such as Aspirin and Ibuprofen.

There are several reasons to avoid alcohol during your recovery. As little as two to three drinks per day can impair the immune system and slow down the recovery process, which can lead to post-surgical cases of pneumonia and infection. Alcohol can also act as a blood thinner, causing bleeding and preventing clotting. Its dehydrating effects can cause drier skin which could affect how your scars heal. Additionally, if you have symptoms of dizziness, nausea, brain fog, or fatigue, alcohol could enhance those issues.

Following a hysterectomy, women can be more prone to urinary tract infections for a number of reasons including irritation, dehydration, and inactivity. Alcohol can worsen those risks by adding to dehydration, causing more frequent urination, and irritating the bladder. You should especially avoid alcohol if you are already having bladder concerns.

Another thing to consider before having alcohol is its effects on menopause. Alcohol can trigger hot flashes for some women. “In addition to weight gain, alcohol consumption has also been shown to increase the risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and breast cancer in women who are in menopause,” (a). Additionally, one study found that “alcohol consumption may increase blood estradiol levels in postmenopausal women who are on estrogen replacement therapy, and this may increase the risk of breast cancer” (b).

Because alcohol weakens the immune system, slows healing processes, impedes recovery from surgery, and sometimes worsens menopause symptoms, women should use caution when choosing to drink alcohol during recovery. Before having your first glass of wine or beer following your hysterectomy, talk to your doctor about the timing and what is best for your recovery and long term health.

(a) Can You Drink During Menopause?
(b) Moderate Alcohol Consumption and Estrogen Levels in Postmenopausal Women

This content was written by staff of by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support. Reprinted with permission: Alcohol after Hysterectomy Sutton
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