Optimizing Health For Surgery

Optimizing Health For Surgery

By: Holistic Bladder Care - Dr. Ashley Girard ND

The vast majority of us go under the knife at some point in our lives to treat a health concern. Over half a million surgeries are done in Canada each year and it can be a nerve-racking experience. It is important to bring your “A game” health wise to the surgical table, just like you expect your surgeon to in order to prevent complications. The healing process after surgery can slow down if you have nutritional deficiencies cause by a poor diet and lifestyle, inadequate sleep, high stress levels, chronic illnesses, digestive issues, and elevated inflammation just to name a few things.  The longer it takes to heal, the more complications occur like wound infections, hemorrhage, clotting, post-surgical pain, and loss of function caused by excessive scar tissue. Each person has a different terrain to consider when heading into surgery, and this can be assessed and optimized by a Naturopathic Doctor.

Some areas that as a Naturopath I specifically focus on with patients heading in for surgery include:

  • Determining the right amount of protein before and after surgery.
  • Improving Vitamin D3 levels in advance – studies show patients with low Vitamin D3 levels have more complications. The only way to know your level is to test!
  • Education on which foods give you the right micro-nutrients to improve immune function, and/or consider which nutritional support formulas will optimize levels best.
  • Learn what you can do to better manage and reduce your stress hormone before surgery. Stress suppresses the immune system and prolongs healing time.
  • Strengthening the digestive system to ensure that you are getting the most out of the foods you eat. Especially if you are taking acid suppressant medications which can impair the bodies ability to extract nutrients out of food and supplements.
  • Find out about other options for pain management while healing to decrease potentially harmful and addictive medication use.
  • Discussing if a probiotic is appropriate to take after your surgery, how much to take, when to take it, and which types protect you from specific complications like c.difficile or yeast infections.
  • Resolving sleep issues in advance of the surgery since 40% of your healing happens while you are asleep.

There are many considerations! Every patient is unique and needs a different approach. Get a holistic view from a Naturopath on what you can do before and after surgery to make your recovery period as short and smooth as possible, so you can get back to life and doing the things you love.