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Postoperative fatigue negatively impacts the daily lives of patients recovering from hysterectomy

Postoperative fatigue negatively impacts the daily lives of patients recovering from hysterectomy

Obstetrics & Gynecology 99(1): 51-57

OBJECTIVE: To assess, from the patient's perspective, the prevalence and impact of postoperative fatigue after hysterectomy and to increase understanding of physician-patient communications before and after surgery regarding recovery and diminished postoperative energy level. METHODS: We completed a telephone survey of 300 women aged 25-50 who had undergone a hysterectomy or myomectomy within the past 2 years. The patients were recruited randomly from two national, random samples of households: 1) women aged 25-50, and 2) women taking hormone replacement therapy in the target age range. Patients were asked a series of questions about their post-operative fatigue after surgery. RESULTS: Overall, 74% of patients experienced moderate-to-severe fatigue within the first few weeks after surgery. Fatigue occurred more frequently and persisted twice as long as pain, the next most frequent symptom, which was experienced by 63% of patients overall. Fatigue was the symptom that most interfered with daily activities (37%) and also contributed to feelings of frustration (52%), to depression (37%), and to difficulty in concentrating (42%). Patients employed at the time of surgery missed an average of 5.8 weeks of work; 69% of those surveyed required 2 or more weeks of caregiver assistance. Postoperative fatigue was discussed by 68% of patients' physicians before surgery, and 57% of patients discussed postoperative fatigue with their physicians after surgery. Oral iron therapy and dietary supplements were the most frequently recommended treatments; 52% of patients were not offered any treatments or recommendations to alleviate their fatigue. CONCLUSIONS: Fatigue is a highly prevalent posthysterectomy and myomectomy symptom and has substantial negative physical, psychosocial, and economic effects on patients during recovery.

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Accession: 011174724

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PMID: 11777510

DOI: 10.1016/s0029-7844(01)01622-2

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