How Long After an Appendectomy Before I Can Exercise?

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Appendectomy is a common procedure performed when your appendix has become infected and painful. Following the surgery, is it crucial that you rest and refrain from physical activity for a period of time to allow your body to heal. This usually takes about two weeks, although you should consult with your doctor before resuming exercise to ensure you do not put yourself at risk for complications.

Appendectomy

An appendectomy is a surgical procedure in which your appendix is removed from your body. The appendix is a small pouch attached to your large intestine. According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC), scientists are unsure of the function of the appendix, but removing it does not appear to affect a person’s health. An appendectomy is usually done to treat appendicitis, which is a painful swelling and infection of the appendix. During the procedure, a small incision is made in your abdomen, the appendix is detached from surrounding tissue and removed, and the incision is closed. The operation usually takes between one and two hours.

Exercise

You should rest and not participate in any strenuous activity for at least one or two weeks following an appendectomy. During this time, you should not exercise or do any heavy lifting. Consult with your doctor before beginning exercise as he may prescribe more recovery time. Remember that resting allows the tissue to heal and starting too early can jeopardize your health. When you do begin exercising, make sure to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity.

Children usually require more time before resuming exercise. According to the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, participation in contact sports and gym class is prohibited until the child attends a follow-up appointment with the surgeon. This usually occurs about two to three weeks post-op.

Prognosis

Appendectomy is an effective treatment for appendicitism and most patients resume their normal lives without any symptoms. You can resume your normal diet as soon as possible. You may be prescribed antibiotics to fight infection. Take all you medicine even if you begin to feel better early. Full recovery usually takes about four to six weeks.

Considerations

Infections can occur on the incision, so be sure to keep the area clean and dry. Change the dressing over the incision as directed and wash your hands beforehand. Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower, bathe or soak in water. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any complications. These can include fever and chills, swelling, increasing pain and excessive bleeding at the incision site, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain and increased abdominal pain.

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