This is a guest post from Brooke Chaplan.

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The number one factor that makes recovering from surgery a longer, and more painful process than it has to be is the patient herself. Failure to follow your doctors orders and give your body a chance to heal not only makes recovery a drag, it can increase your risk of surgical complications. The time it takes for you to recover from surgery, and the amount of pain you’ll experience, depends on the type of procedure you underwent and your overall health. However, there are some simple steps every patient can take to make recovery much more manageable and faster.¬†(photo credit here)

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1. Get Some Rest
Resting the operated part of your body is essential to a speedy and painless recovery. Your doctor will give you specific activities that you should avoid for a certain amount of time. For instance, if you underwent laser eye surgery, your doctor may ask that you avoid watching television or surfing the internet to prevent strain and stress to your eyes. (photo credit here)

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2. Keep Your Body Hydrated
Anesthesia and surgery in general dehydrates the body, and a body that isn’t properly hydrated heals much slower. Drink at least eight glasses of water in the days following your procedure. To avoid unnecessary water loss, keep your intake of caffeinated drinks like coffee and soda to a minimum. Caffeine is a diuretic, and diuretics deplete the body’s water supply by increasing the need to urinate. (photo credit here)

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3. Avoid Junk Food
Following surgery, your body needs nutrients and antioxidants to heal. Junk food has no nutritional value. In fact, eating junk food following a surgical procedure can slow the healing process. The high amounts of sodium and processed sugars in junk food causes bloating and inflammation, which places unnecessary stress on the operated portion of your body. Opt for foods with high amounts of amino acids, such as lean meats, fruits and vegetables. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and they are responsible for strengthening and rebuilding tissues and cells inside the body. In addition to avoiding junk food, refrain from alcoholic beverages like beer and wine post surgery. Alcohol not only interacts negatively with your pain medicine, it raises your blood pressure, which increases your risk of other surgical complications.
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4. Rely On the Help of Others
Whether they are bringing you food and drinks, or taking care of household chores, allow your loved ones or friends to help you following surgery. Relying on the help of others gives you more time to rest and will give you peace of mind. Additionally, patients who have the support of loved ones and friends following surgery tend to heal faster than patients who do not. (photo credit here)

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and recent graduate of the University of New Mexico. She writes for blogs about family, health, and well-being.