Recovery after hysterectomy

Recovery after a hysterectomy is a very personal experience which means that your experience will be unique and unlike anyone else’s. It is governed by a huge range of factors that include: how ill you have been leading up to your hysterectomy, how you react to anaesthetic, why you had your operation, what type of operation you had, your age, general fitness levels, how much support you have at home, the type of work you do and whether you have additional stressors to deal with (such as small children or dependent relatives). Of course this list is not exclusive and there may be other additional factors to take into account.

Because your recovery is governed by such a complex range of differing things, this means that there is no set guideline for when you should, or shouldn’t be doing any particular activities. You will recover at your own rate, and not one pre-determined by your doctor, gynaecologist, employer, friend or relations. In fact, expectations of recovery times can hinder rather than help.

  • During your operation, you may well have been catheterised. It means that straight after the operation when you are at your most uncomfortable you do not have to worry about going to a toilet to pass urine; this will be simply passed into a bag at your side and emptied regularly by the nurses. It will be removed after the first 24 hours and is painless.
  • Immediately after your hysterectomy you may find you are attached to a PCA (Patient Controlled Analgesia), this is usually morphine. This means you will be in control of your own pain medication.
  • Drink plenty of water, to replace that lost through the anaesthetic and operation. You will probably be attached to a saline drip to help you re-hydrate as well.
  • You may have some slight vaginal bleeding; this is normal and should soon clear up.
  • A mild and gentle laxative can help you to open your bowels, this will make you feel more comfortable. You might also have from trapped wind and indigestion due to lack of movement; this can be relieved by medication and/or by gentle exercise.
  • Once you return home you must make sure that you are taking things easy (however what ‘easy’ is can be difficult to determine). Your hospital physiotherapist may give some exercises to do to help you get back to full mobility.
  • As you shouldn’t be lifting anything heavy, such as shopping, for a while it is important that you have a support network around the help out. If you live alone and this isn’t possible ask your nurse for the details of the local support network that can help.
  • Gentle walking, a little further each day, will help to get your circulation working properly and begin to eliminate any anaesthetic still lingering.
  • A little back ache, discomfort in the abdomen, are common for the first few weeks after surgery. If you have a browny discharge this should change to creamy white. You may also notice that any internal stitches are passed out of the body as well.
  • If you have any additional pain, pus, fresh blood or smelly discharge after you have returned home you should see your doctor as soon as possible.
  • It is normally around six to twelve weeks before patients think about a return to work, however this will depend on the type of work that you do, for instance if you have to do heavy lifting or very physical work it may take a lot longer to recover fully enough to return.

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13 thoughts on “Recovery after hysterectomy”

  1. Hi Dawn I’m coming up to 5 months post op, after sub total hysterectomy due to multiple fibroids and experienced complications during my op. I went back to work after 3 months. My tummy is still swollen and very tender. Suffer with lower back pain and still have to sleep with pillows supporting me. I still get very tired too so draining. My employer has been very supportive and said any time I need to work from home, to do so. It is so frustrating as you feel you should be back to normal as do family at home. They see you walking about and think everything is fine. Trust me take your time do not be rushed listen to your body. Everyone’s recovery is unique to them, and as my doctor advised it can take some women up to a year to feel normal again. You have been through a major operation and it will take time for your body to heal, it is a very emotional healing process too, which some people also fail to understand. Look after yourself and take each day as it comes.

  2. I had laparoscopic hysterectomy 17 days ago
    I started to get viginal discharge s and have pain a the bikini line and some inside burning sensation is it normal

  3. Hi, my mum is 83 and has had womb removal, fibroids and also prolapse repair to bladder. She is one week on and is not eating very much, has diarrohea (given her immodium today), is very weak and tired and also down in the dumps. Would like to compare recoveries if possible – can’t help but be very worried. I had a hysterectomy 7 years ago and know how long it took me to recover and I was in my 40s then!

  4. I am 60 and 9 weeks post vaginal hysterectomy, still experiencing lower back pain and abdominal pain with occasional swelling. Been signed off work for another 3 weeks.

  5. Same for me, agony! Complete abdominal hyst. Walking only does so much, get movicol powder sachets from GP or over the counter at chemist.These really helped me…still taking g at 5 weeks actually. The pain will get better,plenty fluids, exercise and plenty of fruit and veg. You’re probably doing great!

  6. My mother is 90 years of age and has had a major operation to remove womb and ovaries
    she had the operation 8 days ago, but she has fluid retention and is so tired and is not staying awake
    for very long, will she get better, but she is strong in every other area, she is not moving around a

  7. 3 weeks post op fullhysterectomy I can feel to go to toilet I just get bad pain. Is this normal. Been to the doctors and they just told me to excise. If any one got anything that can help would be grateful

  8. I am 4 months post total hysterectomy via vertical abdominal cut. My stomach is still swollen and im still not down to my post weight which is very frustrating. I went back to work 2 weeks ago . I have a physical job and have been experiencing stomach pain. Not sure I should go back to go or not? Any advice?

  9. Im a 53yrs young woman 3weeks aftermy op had a tummour in my womb had a full hysterectomy i have recovered well so far still soar. L l ys of diffrent emotions 😅

  10. I am 6 weeks post vaginal repair and hysterectomy and still have very swollen tummy, unfortunately I don’t know how long this will last.

  11. I am 4weeks post opp vaginal hysterectomy @ pelvic floor and I’m 71 yrs old my stomach still swollen and feels tight how long do yo think this will last. Mo

  12. 3 days after my hysterectomy I wore tank tops and a mild strength waist trainer or a Gold’s Gym Waist trainer to help bring down the swelling on my tummy. I’m 4 weeks out and still wearing it and it’s helping me get around a lot. I recommend wearing something similar. I picked mine up at Walmart. Good luck!

  13. I am 6 weeks post full surgical hysterectomy and still have a swollen abdomen although the wound itself is healing well and I no longer need dressings. Is this normal? I am normally a size 10/12 and my swollen belly is difficult to hide. I am have also now got a “ledge” below my belly button and above my healing scar, is this normal? I am concerned as my belly button itself is still quite painful. Any advice would be gratefully received. Tina

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