A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is a surgery that removes excess skin and fat from the abdominal area, as well as tightening the abdominal muscles if needed. As with any surgery, there is a recovery period associated with a tummy tuck. Here is your guide to resuming sex and exercise after recovering from a tummy tuck.
When You Should Resume Exercise After a Tummy Tuck
At first, after surgery, it might be a good idea to walk around leisurely to get your blood flowing and aid the healing process. You should be accompanied by someone else as you walk, because your strength and balance might not be at their normal levels right after surgery. You shouldn’t do anything more strenuous than walking around shortly after surgery.
Within the initial 24 hours of your recovery, you can shower (with supervision) and take short, leisurely walks. Gradually increase how far you walk each day to improve your strength. Your doctor should give you the go-ahead to start exercising again after about six weeks post-surgery. For strength training like weightlifting, start off lifting lighter weights and doing more repetitions. Weight training is strenuous and can strain the stitches and incisions from surgery, so it’s very important to take it easy and increase the intensity very gradually.
Changes to Your Daily Activities
In everyday life, you should avoid lifting or pushing/pulling heavy objects (more than 5 pounds) for about six weeks after surgery. Always listen to your body and stop any activity that is painful or strains your incisions.
Your surgeon will tell you how long you should stay home from work. Depending on the type of tummy tuck, you may need to take up to 10 days off for an intensive procedure. While this sounds like a long time, it is necessary for your body to start healing, the pain to subside, and for you wean yourself off any pain medication you are taking. You should not drive at all while still taking the pain medication.
Other Considerations for Your Recovery
It will likely take some time before you feel back to normal again. Many patients wonder when they will be able to continue their normal eating, sleeping, and sex habits. Here are some tips to help guide you in terms of these lifestyle changes:
- Eat lightly at first, gradually increasing the amount and variety of food while listening to your body’s cues
- Don’t sleep on your stomach until the pain has dissipated. Try using three pillows behind your back and head, or a few behind your knees, to make sleeping more comfortable. This will also help you move from a lying to a sitting position without stressing your abdominal muscles.
- You should only resume sex after an abdominoplasty when your doctor gives you the green light, and only when you yourself feel ready for it.
- The pain medication you are prescribed might cause constipation. To avoid this, try taking an over-the-counter stool softener like Colace or Docusate.