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I am 5 weeks post bowel resection. Having disturbed sleep, painful leg and feeling tired. Any advice?

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Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 1835 Questions
Hello. Thank you for your excellent service.
I am now 5 weeks post bowel resection and have started to have very disturbed sleep with restless legs. My legs feel achy and hot and I spend hours tossing and turning. Im still not very active during the day. This lack of sleep is making me even more tired than I am with the surgery recovery.
Would appreciate any advice
Thank you XXXXXXX
Posted Wed, 15 Aug 2012 in Sleep Disorders
Answered by Dr. Ashish Mittal 6 hours later
Thanks for your query.
I appreciate your efforts for medical consultation in so much distress.

Important aspects of your query are:
•     63 year old female
•     Known case of post bowel resectio
•     Complaints of: sleep difficulty, restlessness, leg ache and tiredness.

You case is interesting and but difficult too considering diagnosis. I will try to give my best effort to help you in this problem.

I would like to consider multiple possibilities in following hierarchy:
•     Anxiety disorder: need to be rule out by detailed interview by psychiatrist. Anxiety may be due to (isolated or combined) following reasons in your case.
-Vitamins deficiency due to bowel resection
-Stress of surgery
-Post operative pain or discomfort
•     Poor sleep hygiene
•     Thyroid related problem: get thyroid hormonal assay done
•     Side effect of substance use: Stop use if present

Focusing and managing above causes will relieve your symptoms. Follow below measures:
-Take multivitamins and healthy diet.
-Daily Morning walk
-Following principles of sleep hygiene
-Get thyroid function test done
-Short course of hypnotic medicines in supervision of physician.

Irrespective of cause, below principles of sleep hygiene which will help you in long term:
•     Fix a bedtime and an awakening time. Do not be one of those people who allows bedtime and awakening time to drift. The body "gets used" to falling asleep at a certain time, but only if this is relatively fixed. Even if you are retired or not working, this is an essential component of good sleeping habits.
•     Avoid napping during the day
•     Avoid caffeine 4-6 hours before bedtime. This includes caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea and many sodas, as well as chocolate, so be careful.
•     Avoid heavy, spicy, or sugary foods 4-6 hours before bedtime
•     Exercise regularly, but not right before bed. Regular exercise, particularly in the afternoon, can help deepen sleep.
•     Use comfortable bedding.
•     Find a comfortable temperature setting for sleeping and keep the room well ventilated.
•     Block out all distracting noise, and eliminate as much light as possible.
•     Reserve the bed for sleep. Don't use the bed as an office, workroom or recreation room. Let your body "know" that the bed is associated with sleeping.
•     Practice relaxation techniques before bed. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, XXXXXXX breathing and others may help relieve anxiety and reduce muscle tension.
•     Don't take your worries to bed. Leave your worries about job, school, daily life, etc., behind when you go to bed. Some people find it useful to assign a "worry period" during the evening or late afternoon to deal with these issues.
•     Establish a pre-sleep ritual. Pre-sleep rituals, such as a warm bath or a few minutes of reading, can help you sleep.
•     Getting Up in the Middle of the Night :Most people wake up one or two times a night for various reasons. If you find that you get up in the middle of night and cannot get back to sleep within 15-20 minutes, then do not remain in the bed "trying hard" to sleep. Get out of bed. Leave the bedroom. Read, have a light snack, do some quiet activity, or take a bath. You will generally find that you can get back to sleep 20 minutes or so later. Do not perform challenging or engaging activity such as office work, housework, etc. Do not watch television.
•     A Word About Television: Many people fall asleep with the television on in their room. Watching television before bedtime is often a bad idea. Television is a very engaging medium that tends to keep people up. We generally recommend that the television not be in the bedroom. At the appropriate bedtime, the TV should be turned off and the patient should go to bed. Some people find that the radio helps them go to sleep. Since radio is a less engaging medium than TV, this is probably a good idea.

I hope this information has been both informative and helpful for you. In case of any doubt, I will be available for follow ups.

Wish you good health.
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