The Importance of Hydration
after Plastic Surgery
The importance of hydration after plastic surgery cannot be over-emphasized. It is critical to the healing process, so if you are scared of drinking water after plastic surgery, read on.
Many people mistakenly believe that drinking water leads to swelling. They couldn’t be farther from the truth. Let’s look at why this is not the case.
Our bodies are governed by a very delicate balance of water, salt, and other electrolytes. We generally don’t think about the fact that we lose water throughout the day through sweat, breathing, and urination. Without constantly replenishing these lost fluids, our bodies can become dehydrated.
Dehydration is a condition where the body has lost more water than it is taking in, and given that in order to function we must have a good supply of water, our kidneys stop pulling fluid out of our bodies. When this happens, we tend to swell up.
Part of the swelling associated with dehydration is caused by the retention of excess sodium which the kidneys generally excrete. As sodium levels go up (because you aren’t peeing it out), water is held onto more tightly by the body. If you increase your fluid intake, sodium levels go down as you pee it out and the body quits hanging onto the fluid.
Fluids Are Important for Blood Volume and Pressure
After surgery you will have lost a lot of fluid. This is normal, but it causes your blood pressure to get lower. This is one of the reasons that people feel faint after taking off their compression. The blood vessels are suddenly able to expand and there is not enough blood volume to make up for it. This means that not enough blood carrying oxygen gets to the brain, so you become faint temporarily.
After a few minutes the body will make adjustments and the feelings of faintness will pass. It passes quicker if you have more blood volume. Ensuring that you are taking in enough water is key to keeping the blood volume high.
Water Helps Us Rid Ourselves of Toxins
AND Debris Left Behind After Surgery
Above and beyond the desire to get yourself out of “Swell Hell” another reason behind the importance of hydration after plastic surgery is that it helps us purge toxins (like anesthesia) and it helps us to clear out the debris (dead cells) left behind when the surgeon is done.
It is the lymphatic system that takes up the debris to transport it away, but it has to have enough fluid to effectively transport the waste away from the surgical site. Lymphatic fluid gets very sludge-like when we are dehydrated, so staying well-hydrated helps to make sure that the lymph system can do its job.
“But I Did Drink Water and Now I’m More Swollen!”
If you are dehydrated to begin with and then you suddenly drink a lot of water, yes, this can happen. It isn’t the fact that your body just randomly swelled up because you drank water; rather, it’s an overreaction because you were dehydrated. The body tries very hard to grab ahold of any water it gets and is afraid to let it go.
If this happened to you, continue to drink water and it will pass. As the body adjusts to having a constant supply of water, it will no longer hold onto extra water. This is just a temporary thing. Hang in there and keep drinking water. It gets better.