Shaving After Breast Surgery
Shaving after breast surgery with lymph nodes removed is yet another thing you probably didn’t think about when you were preparing for life after your mastectomy. Check out my problems (and solutions) with shaving my underarms.
Shaving after breast surgery is an issue that many women are faced with after healing from a mastectomy. Some women experience extreme numbness and nerve pain that can affect your breast muscle, your back and underarms. There is also a strange hollow pit in your armpit where your lymph nodes used to be.
When you were diagnosed with breast cancer and told that you would need surgery, shaving was probably the farthest thing from your mind. If you don’t have to get chemotherapy and lose your hair, you’ll be back to shaving in no time. It’s surprising how much hair grows in just a few weeks!
When Can I Shave My Armpits After a Mastectomy?
There is no definite answer. If you do a search online, you will find that some doctors tell their patients to shave anytime and others tell their patients not to shave. I think you can shave whenever you feel up to it. My doctor told me there were no special instructions and that I could shave or use hair removal creams like I did before surgery.
Because I had cellulitis after the mastectomy, I was back in the hospital for another week. I ended up with axillary web syndrome and was instructed not to move my arm that had lymph nodes removed for a few more weeks. When I was finally able to lift my arm, I realized that I needed to shave-and fast!
Before I got enough courage to shave, I went online to look for tips on shaving after breast surgery and I could not find anything. I had to learn through trial and error (and a lot of pain) what was the best way to get a close painless shave. Here is what I learned to do-and not to do.
Armpit Shaving Tips
- DO use an electric shaver. While you can get an extremely close shave with a razor, an electric shaver is safer because you are less likely to cut yourself. I recommend a wet/dry shaver that you can use with or without shaving cream.
- DON’T use a razor. It can leave small cuts which can lead to an infection, causing lymphedema.
- DON’T use hair removal creams until your numbness wears off. Maybe I’m crazy but it felt like the cream penetrated my skin and made my nerve endings tingle for at least an hour. Not fun.
- DO get creative in shaving the hallow spot. It is very difficult to shave the hollow lymph nodes area with your arm lifted up. Trust me.
- DO ask for help if you need it. Your husband or partner shouldn’t mind helping you shave.
Ladies, did you have any problems shaving after breast cancer surgery? How did you deal with shaving your pits? Don’t forget to check out Black and Topless on Facebook.