Deep abdominal exercises to help recover after hysterectomy

There is a lot of confusion about how you can best recover after a hysterectomy. Sometimes it’s easier to be shown what you can do rather than have a written list. The following video from Michelle Kenway demonstrates how to do the Kegel exercises correctly.

36 thoughts on “Deep abdominal exercises to help recover after hysterectomy

  1. Jayashree Balachandran

    Hi,
    I had a vaginal hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo oopherectomy on 18th dec, 2013. I would like to know if going back to work by Feb 20 will be ok. My work in the pharmacy requires full time standing and moving and no sitting absolutely, except 2 half hour breaks. Also, kindly let me know if going back to gym is ok from March first week. I sweat a lot and feel very hot always. Right now I am in India, but I will be back in Toronto by Jan end.

    1. Linda Parkinson-Hardman Post author

      The average time off work is between 9 and 13 weeks and many women take longer off if they have particularly heavy jobs that involve standing or lifting, if they have to travel a long distance or if they have other problems such as young children or relatives to care for.

  2. Nicole

    I’m in my 2nd week after a total hysterectomy. Did a laproscopy vaginal hsyterectomy. On pain killer and antibiotic for 1 week. Started doing some light housework in my second week like, sweeping, simple cooking , laundry, etc.
    Feeling find but worry about the effect of early menopause. My gynae told me not to worry too much as she herself had undergone the same operation 13 years ago and she’s feeling great. Still worry about the side effects though like, menopause, osteoporosis, heart problem, etc.
    Lately felt vaginal dryness and itch. Any advice?

  3. Debbie

    I am 4 weeks post AH (womb and cervix removed) and still feel real fragile around my lower abdomen . Since day 10 (post op) i started bleeding ! Went to GP and put on antibiotics as precaution! Still bleeding at 21 days so went back to hospital but they couldn’t find anything wrong .Is this normal or should i be concerned and ask for another opinion . I feel well apart from soreness and bleeding.

  4. Carole

    I am 7 weeks on from my TAH. I have taken it easy at first and then slowly upped the exercise, walking and gentle pelvic floor exercises. I am going back to work in 2 weeks as my brain has begun to turn to mush – day time TV! I think everyone is different , but you do need to move around as much as you can manage right from the start – I am not convinced that lying around in bed is good from a physical or mental recuperation point.

  5. Hayley

    Hi everyone. Its been 7wks since my total abdominal hysterectomy. For 5 of those weeks i’ve had an infection (still have it). I was in hospital 2 days. I think I was sent home to soon??? I’m on my 5th lot of antibiotics too. I am 40 and suffered with painful heavy periods. Since my op I have felt down and almost emotionless. I’ve heard women say that having a hysterectomy was the best thing they had done, they feel happier and its changed their lives. Right now I’m feeling so disappointed and worried that I’ll never feel the same again. My tummy above my scar has also got bigger and is ugly in the way it is hanging over. Does or has anyone else feel/felt like this?

  6. tanya

    I sank into a deep depression after my hysterectomy, I went into a coma after the operation. when I awoke from the coma 4 days later, it took me awhile to process that information and spending christmas in the hospital. through this emotional turmoil I’ve been so busy LIVING I’ve packed on 30lbs most of the weight settling in my abdominal area. what types of abdominal exercising should I do for the best results.It seems as though everything has been a struggle, sex has become such a task more than a pleasure. the adjustments to the very basics of pleasures have been so emotional to methat I chose to ignore some important things like my weight and my health. I’m hoping that someone out there has some suggestions and encouragements and/or literature to aid me in a full recovery mentally physically and emotionally,
    I would be eternally greatful.

    1. Linda Parkinson-Hardman Post author

      The best types of exercise would be a combination of yoga and pilates as these will build your core abdominal muscles and include some meditative processes too – this might help with the emotional trauma of the hysterectomy. It might also be worth asking your GP for a referral to a counsellor as well as they may be able to help you too.

  7. Jayne

    Hi, my situation is similar to Marie’s with respect to the type of surgery as well as her occupation. I had a laproscopic vaginal hysterectomy on October 2 and had everything removed except my ovaries. I had been diagnosed with Adenomyoses – a painful uterine condition. My biggest fear/concern is that I will return to work too early and then suffer either bladder or vaginal prolapse. This has affected 3 of the 5 women in my workplace who have had the same proceedure. I would really like to re-strengthen my core to prevent this but am not sure what moves would be best. I’m 2 weeks in to healing but feeling pretty good. Any advice would be gratefully received. Thanks.

  8. Marie

    Hi Linda

    I wonder if you can advice me. I am seven months on from having a sub-total hysterectomy everything went apart from my cervix. I had a laparascopic operation and was in theatre for three hours as my womb was bulky due to fibroids. At my six week appointment with the gynaegologist he told me I had endemetiosis also and it was all through the womb muscle tissue which had contributed to my pain. I keep reading stories of how well other women are feeling and I am so down as I do not feel this. I returned to work after four months I do a heavy lifting job in a warehouse. I lift from floor level to table after been given some lighter duties they have put me back into my own job and I am not coping well at all. Up to this point I thought I had been doing okay as I have noticed that I’m getting stronger but I feel I’m going backwards now. The pain and burning sensation in my abdominal muscles were they have been working has returned. I am so worried that I will never be fit enough to do my job which I love. I told the doctor I was still fairly uncomfortable but she examined me and said everything seems normal. What should I do, giving up work isn’t an option for me.

    1. Linda PH

      It sounds like you may be overdoing it Marie – the average length of recovery time is around 13 weeks (so almost four months) and for women doing physically demanding jobs it’s going to be much longer than this. It would be worth talking to your employer to ask for light duties for a month or two to see if that helps the situation. Also, if you have endometriosis now then you will be getting more pain and I’m surprised they didn’t remove your ovaries during the op if this was the case. It might be worth asking for another appointment to find out more about the endo.

  9. sheena

    5 week post abdominal hysterectomy, has anyone experienced the roll of fat above wound site? wondering if I will always have this. Otherwise doing ok!

    1. Paula

      Yes, I too have a ridge above the scar; it looks like a roll of fat. It is quite numb too. I had my operation in September 2011 – everything removed abdominally – ovaries, womb, cervix. I mentioned it to my surgeon at my 6 week check. He explained it was the site of internal stitching. The numbness may always remain to some extent. The ridge may flatten a little in time (mine hasn’t yet). A small price to pay though to be free of all my troubles. Good luck!

  10. Joanie

    I recommend wear a ab support belt as soon as you can. It help support your weak tummy muscles allowing you to get up and about for a longer period of time. I agree with Wendy that rest is very important after walking or getting a bit of exercise. It has been almost 4 weeks for me and I can finally (slowly) climb a flight of stairs without discomfort.

    I drink lots of water and high fibre foods to keep me regular. Chia seeds are a great source of fibre and I add it to my morning meal. Vitamins and antioxidant are a must.

    Happy recovery : )

  11. Evelyn Brown

    I have found this site really helpful. I had a very large fibroid removed, and the uterus, seven weeks ago. I now want to increase exercises and keep my weight down. I have been doing the basic tummy pull-ins, pelvic floor exercises and walking twenty minutes a day. Two women on my hospital ward were back after their hysterectomies having lifted heavy boxes after five and a half weeks!

  12. wendy

    I had a hysterectomy at the end of October – just a large fibroid out plus my uterous. It wasn’t simple – vertical incision, 4 hour op and quite a lot of blood lost – so i expected recovery to be slow

    However just over three weeks later I find myself walking (2 hours cross country fairly easily), having “outerware sex” and starting to feel fantastic. So to tips:

    First week, FORCE yourself to get up and move – little and often, I tried every 90 minutes. Then straight back to bed and full rest. This is essential for wind! Dont forget the peppermint tea and drink loads of water

    Second week onwards, wear a support belt if your scar can stand it. This gives your tummy support when you move and makes walking short distances really comfy. You can buy one on this website-i used an old wetsuit material one i had already. Try some gentle pelvic exercises and keep these up. Increase the walking (little and often) and try other exercises that are not abdominal. i started squats when cleaning my teeth- 30 plus just to get my heart racing. keep exercising short and hard (every 60 – 90 minutes and then resting. i went back to bed a lot

    Second week onwards- go and see a CST expert (or maybe a physio?) to get your pelvic area loosened up. After three weeks my tummy was becoming hard and lumpy and my bowel etc movements hurt because there were several internal lesions. This apparently is very common. After 40 minutes gentle (EXPERT) massage my tummy felt like my own again. Lumps and tightness has disappeared and everything seems to be working much better. I am expecting no problems with numbness/pain etc as I heal-its really worth investing in this!

    Finally count your blessings. I was lucky and managed to loose 4 kilos – just looking forward to trying on some tighter and sexier clothes- maybe end of week 4 as I dont want to irritate my scar. I dont miss my bump nor the problems it caused me! and I’m going to start pilates and a bit of yoga to keep in trim!

    Good luck!

    1. Linda Parkinson-Hardman

      Wow, that’s fantastic Wendy and some very useful tips there; but just a word of warning to everyone else don’t compare yourself to others, it’s not fair on you or them and the reasons people do so well or so badly are many and varied. BTW, I love the term ‘outerware sex’….. :-) If anyone is interested in the support belt Wendy mentioned, you can find them in our shop at: http://shop.hysterectomy-association.org.uk/abdominal-support-band/

  13. Kath Bell

    I recently had a vaginal hysterectomy.Uterus and Cervic were removed.Are devices such as Athena pelvic Toner helpful to maintain/improve muscle tone.I did suffer fro urge incontinence and a mild cycstocyl prior to operation.
    Kindest regards
    Kath

    1. Linda Parkinson-Hardman

      I can’t comment specifically on the Athena Pelvic Toner as I don’t know it, but anything that helps to tone the core abdominal muscles will help significantly once you are fully recovered. That includes things like Yoga and Piliates as well as the Kegel exercises too Kath.

  14. maria

    I ‘d like to preface this by saying that I have always done lots of execise and was very fit before my op in July this year.
    I had the same condition and ensured that i walked throughout – initially just a few yards very slowly . I built up by adding a few more steps once an hour. I joked that I knew how the little mermaid felt when she was walking on knives!
    Ten weeks later I’m still sore but walked eight miles along the grand union canal on saturday – took it slow and had a great time :-)

    Take it at your own pace and good luck

  15. mary lennon

    can anyone help by telling me how long will i have to wait to do exercise after having a heamatoma on my scare i am finding it very hard to walk i am 21 day’s post op thank you

    1. Linda Parkinson-Hardman

      I’m not sure I can answer this one for you Mary, perhaps someone else can help too. It is important to at least walk as this should help but if it’s difficult I’m not sure what to suggest. Have you spoken with the physiotherapist attached to your GP surgery?

  16. katarina stav

    good excercises for quick recovery . This cd should be given to all women when leaving hospital. Well done to all that have contributed to this cd. kat from North Wales .

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