Recovery after Total Abdominal Hysterectomy – Vicki’s Story

Hi my name is Vicki and I am 44 years old. I had a Total Abdominal Hysterectomy (TAH) on the 17th of September, so I am 6 weeks and 2 days into my recovery. The reason for my TAH was like so many women the discovery of a very large fibroid, im not sure of the exact size of it but my incision had to be vertical due to the size of the fibroid.

When I was first told I was having this operation I felt a real sense of loss and a part of me felt like a failure as a ‘woman’, apparently this is quite normal so if you feel this you are not alone.

I really wanted to post on this forum to let people know that I feel absolutely fine after the op, yes I have taken it easy and still am to a cetain degree, but I have been able to drive from 4 weeks, at first I only did little journeys but have not built it up so I can get out and about as the boredom of been stuck at home was driving me crazy. I have taken all the medical advice given to me but more importantly I have listened to my own body, it has a way of telling you if you have done too much.

So if you have been told the news that you need to have the op, please don’t be scared, hopefully like me you will be well on the way to recovery within 6 weeks.

I really hope this may help some people put their minds at rest before they have this operation.

Vicki
x

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In My Own Words: Women's Experience of HysterectomyNow Available on our online store and all other online book store’s. In My Own Words: Women’s Experience of Hysterectomy is a full many other real-life stories from women the world over. Other people’s stories help women feel less isolated. They show that they aren’t going mad, missing the point or stupid.

62 thoughts on “Recovery after Total Abdominal Hysterectomy – Vicki’s Story

  1. Lindie

    Hello all. First off I would like to apologize in advance for any spelling or grammar mistakes, eng is not my first language! I had a tah on the 2nd of june (almost 3 weeks post op now), been very good with the whole do nothing.. Even learned how to knit lol. Today I have way more pain than the previous week, when I laid in the bath I washed the incision site with soap and water and felt a heavy hardness just above the incision at exactly the same place that the pain comes from the whole day. Its also very tender and has a pulling sensation. You can actually feel the hardness like a ‘knob’. Can only get to the dr on monday and I’m wondering if its something to worry about. I have been sitting in very strange positions the whole day, can that have something to do with it? Incision is healed beautifully, no problems there. Thanx so much for your time :) oh, I’m 31

  2. Martha

    I had a TAH in a renowned teaching hospital on 11 March 2014 because of a suspected cancerous ovarian cyst. Despite a slightly weeping wound I was discharged after 4 days and given a couple of dressings to take a way with me. 2 days later, I was admitted to my local hospital suffering from an infection and cellulitis. While I was receiving IV antibiotics I received a telephone call from the teaching hospital to say the tumour was benign. That news was obviously wonderful (all the other women I was in hospital with had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer at a v late stage) but 4 weeks on from the TAH my wound still hasn’t healed and I’m beginning to wish I hadn’t had the operation at all. I’m 56 and have never really been ill before – now my life is centred around daily appointments with the practice or community nurse.

    1. lisa

      i am 29 years old I am due to have an abdominal hysterectomy on the 25th july 2014,can anyone tell me and help me to not feel nervous and scared about having the procedure done. Its needing done due to have very heavy periods and a lot of pain for around 7 years.I have 5 kids so I am quiet happy to have the surgery but just wants some reassurance on the surgery.
      Thank you in advance

      1. Kate black

        I am 10 days post surgery and doing really well. The first few days are really awful, take any drugs available! I started walking as soon as I could (day 2) and I think that is really helpful. I found walking easier than getting up and down our of bed or chairs. I think walking also got my bowels moving, which was quite a big deal. Make sure you take some sort of fibre straight after the surgery . I also found a lot of my pain was in fact, wind pain! Apparently quite common. When I got out of hospital I went straight to the chemist and they gave me some de-gas (much to my children’s amusement) and Gavison and that helped heaps within a day! So, there are some helpful hints! Good luck with the surgery :)

  3. Charline

    I had a total radical hysterectomy just over a week ago, feeling ok very tired, my tummy is very swollen and is very tender to touch just after the first week, I think I might be doing too much walking around maybe but just sitting and lying down is hurting my back and bottom

    1. Linda Parkinson-Hardman Post author

      You need to do enough to encourage the body to heal but not so much that you over do it. It’s a fine line that is different for everyone, but generally pain will indicate you’ve done too much or that there’s a problem which needs checking.

    2. Sofia

      I had my TAHLSO 4 weeks ago and I’m totally fine. Can drive short distances after 2 weeks, but didn’t overdo it. Bowel & urinating is normal. I eat plenty of guava meat and drink lots calamansi & pineapple juice, plus i’m taking multi vit. My incision is bikini cut & it dried after the 3rd day of surgery. I did not experience any abdominal swelling. I think my ob surgeon was a very good one. I didn’t feel any tiredness. Maybe because i managed the walking exercise well. Hope everyone is feeling better. God Bless!!

  4. Judy

    I am 65 and had a full abdominal hysterectomy two weeks ago because of a prolapsed uterus. A cyst showed up on a scan which turned out to be benign. The thought of this operation really scared me but I’m amazed how good I felt afterwards – apart from the first two days. Home after five days and taking it easy. Bowels are the biggest problem as it can be quite painful but am taking something to make it easier. My advice would be listen to your body and most important try and get fit before the operation as I was told the reason why my recovery is going so well is because I am a fit person.

  5. Debra

    Tomorrow I go in for a Total Abdominal Hysterectomy. I have suffered for 5 years now trying everything from the coil to tablets to even having an ablation. I have been telling the Doctors for years that something isn’t right. I finally saw the Head Gynae 4 weeks ago and found my womb is back to front and enlarged by 5 times the size it should be, it is also packed solid with fibroids, with 2 fibroids so big that they take up 75% of the womb. Needless to say I am frightened and scared. Watch this space…………………..

    1. Maggie

      I am due to go in2 hosiptal 4 a full hesterectomy and im so scared.. I have also got fribroids.. I also had ablation done did`nt work… Suffered with my periods 4 so long just want it all 2 b over and done with… Sick of being in pain each month…

  6. pip

    Hi I am I 45 year old very fit farmer, I have struggled with constant fibroid related period problems, which wasn’t the easiest to manage on the farm! I had a full hysterectomy on the 12th July.
    This has blown me away, it is far more painful than the two caesarean I have had. After good recovery in the first week, I am now struggling with the bloated feeling. It is quite similar to the stretched tummy feeling when pregnant, it can’t be that!
    The advice from the women’s health department was to stop the anti-inflamatries and we will see you in 4 weeks!
    I am wrapped that I have been able to hear of similar post op concerns, now I won’t worry, I will keep on walking, think of fellow women in the same position, and pray for good lambing weather!
    6 weeks is only a short time in the window of a life time, and I am sure we will all feel 1000 times better, more energy, lighter, and healthier inside and out. I look forward to getting back to Zumba and battling the middle age spread! Oh the joys!, hang in there fellow ladies.

  7. Lorraine

    Hi. I’m 35 years, I’ve had TAH done 3 weeks ago on 14 June 2013, due to endometriosis, chronic PID and multiple ovarian cysts on my left ovary. My right ovary was removed when I was 18 years due to ovarian cyst. My Gynae advised that he will not remove the remaining ovary. My question is will I be normal again, will the cysts be a problem again or i’m just stressing my self over nothing. Thank you

  8. Kelly Thompson

    hi,

    I will be having a total hysterectomy (include the removal of the ovaries), what will be the symptoms after. Some friends that I will feel hot very often is that true?

    What precautions shall I take after the operation for a good recovery.

    Is it very painful after or will I be able to bear it.

    Thank you

  9. Kelly Thompson

    hi,

    I will be having a total hysterectomy (include the removal of the ovaries), what will be the symptoms after. Some friends that I will feel hot very often is that true?

    What precautions shall I take after the operation for a good recovery.

    Is it very painful after or will I be able to bear it.

    Thank you

  10. Lucy

    My name’s Lucy. I’m 40. I had a total abdominal hysterectomy 11 weeks ago now due to fibroids – one the size of a large grapefruit, I was told afterwards. Luckily, i still have my ovaries and there was no cancer so i’ve just had womb and cervix removed through a vertical abdominal incision due to size of fibroid. I was worried about the operation for weeks beforehand but have been pleasantly surprised how much better I feel for having it done. I was advised to take 2 weeks complete rest or total convalescence and then gradually start to build up activity levels. Not lifting anything heavy for 6-8 weeks. I found the information they give you in hospital enough. I followed the advice and I would say I felt a lot better after 5 weeks in terms of energy etc. I was so pleased to find I’d lost 3/4 stone in weight. I ate a high fibre diet and drank lots of water as I used to get so constipated. For the first two weeks after the operation I would have pain equivalent to strong labour pain on going to the toilet, but this subsided over time. It feels great to have no bleeding and my sexual appetite has improved over the past few weeks. No need to have any more cervical smears and no need to think about contraception. I worried about sex post-hysterectomy before. The only negative symptom I have now is that I keep feeling dizzy. This may be because I’m feeling well and might have been overdoing things lately. I hope women find this reassuring and helpful. Life for me without womb and fibroids is certainly a lot better and lighter.

  11. kuku

    dear linda,from the last so many years i am getting inflammatory smear in my pap smear report,in sept last year my gayne did my endomentrial biopsy and cervical punch biopsy,my reports showed mid to late secretory endometrium and chronic cervicitis,she also did electro cauterization of the cervix,after that still i am getting inflammatory smear ,now she has advised me to go for total abdominal hysterectomy,otherwise i am having regular periods for 4 to 5 days after 27 days,but i get clots with my periods.dear please guide me what should i do,should i get my tah done immediately or i can wait for some more time,how much time,thank you.

    1. Linda Parkinson-Hardman Post author

      Hi Kuku, it would be great if I could advise you what you should do, but unfortunately I can’t, only you can make that decision. You need to be absolutely certain that this surgery is what you want to do.

  12. Julie

    I am due a hysterectomy on the 19 th April they are leaving my overies but I can’t have keyhole surgery so will be cut I am worried but can anyone tell me when I can fly as I feel I need the sun to help me recover xx

  13. Sue

    Hi, I’m recovering from my hysterectomy which I had on the 5th Dec. I had my cervix and womb removed after having firbroids. I also have itchy scars but a bit of bio oil usually helps. My problem is ‘granulation’ over the sutures. I started getting a green discarge which turned out to be granulation. My consultant did a minor procedure to sort this out but it returned again. Is this a common problem as I think I have it again (third time).

  14. Karen

    Hi
    I had a TAH on the 27th Feb 2013, I feel great :)
    I started HRT Evorel 50 a week later, but had a tight calf anf have ringing in my ear so after a week i took off the patch to see if was related to the ringing, seems it isnt.
    I have not had any Menopausal symptoms as yet so may hang on until I do before starting another form of HRT.
    Best wishes to all who have had the op and good luck to those pending, you will never look back xx

  15. Andrea

    I had a Laparoscopic Total Hysterectomy on the 6 March 2013 and you would not think I had had any surgery! I was up walking about on the evening of the surgery and am pain free. My only problem is with constipation! My tummy is slightly tender but I’m up and mobile. I’m off work for the next four weeks and at the moment I’m dreading it! Maybe the lack of hormones etc hasn’t kicked in yet. I’m not tired all the time like I thought I would be and not spaced out on pain relief. I even asked my Consultant if he had actually done anything….really shocked it would be this easy. Maybe the worse is to come? Good luck to you all….x

  16. Fiona

    Hi, I am 36 and just had a total hysterectomy on 28th Feb 2013 due to a large fibroid. I have to say that the pain is more bearable then I intended and I am able to walk around the house and shower with little discomfort. I do get tired frequently and rest as much as I can. I think its all about doing what your body is telling you to and not over doing it

  17. Jodi

    hi, i am 44 and having an abdominal hysterectomy on the 13th of march due to a very large fibroid. I am getting nervous but I have lots of friends tell me everything will be fine. I am also getting scared about having my stomach cut. I have had 4 children and have no scars from them. I feel that my new husband is going to look at me different having this scar. how do I get past these feelings I am having? I will be glad when it is all over with I have had nothing but painful periods for years that part will be a relief.

  18. Kim

    I am 38, having a hysterectomy in a few weeks. I am completely healthy other than this. I have multiple fibroids and an orange size cyst on my ovary. My doctor will have to do the abdominal hysterectomy through my c-section. Unfortunately I have just started a new job working from home and am concerned with having to take a full six weeks off. Do you think it is realistic that I would be able to work from home two weeks post op? I am in software development so can work from a laptop anywhere in the house…

  19. pat

    Hi, I am 64 due to have abdominal hysterectomy in about 3 months time, due to large fibroid. I shall have injection to try and shrink fibroid so I will be able to have keyhole surgery,if not it will be bikini line. Has anyone else had this procedure?

  20. Melissa

    Hi all, I had a full abdominal hystorectomy on 17th January, I’m almost 4 weeks post surgery yet my check up isn’t for another 5 weeks. Apart from the usual scar discomfort & tiredness I’m recovering well. I had my cervic removed during the surgery but I still have my overies. My question is when is it safe to have intercourse? The leaflet I was given at the hospital states from 4-6 weeks but ‘some women may prefer a cuddle’ which is very random. I’ve seen on another sight that you should do anything internally until you’ve had your check up? Does anyone have any advise please xx

  21. Karen

    Hi, Im 38 and have just been told I need a Hysterectomy incuding overy and cervix removal, this is due to a fybroid the size of a 20 week pregnancy! Im more worried about the menopause and HRT than the op, any advice :)

      1. Tracey

        hi their like you im having the total op fri 15 feb, i have endeo so its best thing to do, but im scared about the hrt,
        ive been having the prosrap3 injection which has made me poorly ive had two seizures one in dec and one last week since having the injection never had seizures before so i cant wait for it all to be over feel so fed up and ive been bleeding very heavy so the injection never helped at all ;-( tracey

    1. Louise

      Hi Karen, Like you I had a large fibroid and a large ovarian cyst which together made me look 6 mths pregnant. I had a full hysterectomy and removal of cervix on 13th Feb. The surgeon said they weighed 7lb and I am feeling a lot better now. I am 46 and am waiting for symptoms of menopause but apart from interrupted sleep pattern and a feeling of being detached I am pleased with my decision.
      I wish you well and a positive outcome x

  22. Dawn

    Im 45 years old and just had an abdominal hysterectomy jan 9th! I too had many enlarged fibroids and this was the only route to go. Im going crazy being homebound and I hope my body tells me I could work a little part time after 4 weeks. I’m in the restaurant business and can’t financially afford to stay out of work for so long. I feel a little better but I also have tingling and hardness above my incision. I havent had any side effects. If theres no side effects does a woman still need estrogen and horomone pills?

  23. Marni

    I’m having an adominal hysterectomy & Burch style bladder repair(?) on Feb 5, I can not wait to get it going. I have had pelvic pain for years and finally tired of it….I’m actually forward to getting it done…..I not one bit nervous (yet). Sometimes I question the pain during recovery but I keep trying to be positive of the long term results of no more pelvic pain….well wishes to everyone

  24. sharon

    i am 30 and had a full abdominal hysterectomy on the 11th of december due to failed treatment for my endometriosis and this being my last option! The relief to have alredy lost this terreible pain and none stop bleeding I have suffered with for the last ten years of my life is unreal. my last bleed lasting 34 weeks and having to take morphine pain relef just to be able to get through the day looking after my three young children is what made us make the final dicisision to have the op. I know it is the best one I have ever made. I am recovering very well and have listen to my body all the way.
    I do tho have a few things that are bothering me slightly and have found there are not many people to talk to over these with my follow up appiontment not being till I am 8 weeks post op so am after so help and support. my scar is very numb my beely keeps swelling and going hard by the end of the day is this to be expected? The numbness is becoming a huge issue as I can no longer bear to wear knickers even after investing in granny ones!!!! I am also starting to get some mood swings seeming to be very sharp one minute to being in tears the next` with my age none of my friends are or have been in this situtitation yet so would love to know if anyone else has suffered with this and has advise on how to handle it xx

    1. Vanessa

      Hi there, I am 38 and had an abdominal hysterectomy in Aug 2012, exactly like you I was rather young to have it done, I had a spinal with mine which has left me with a slight twitchy left leg, Like you my tummy was really sore and tender for weeks after, my scar was very itchy and still is some days it is unbearable to have anything touch it !!! My post op check up was not til 8 weeks after my op but they told me these were all side effects following the op, I did have a couple of weeks in Dec with lots of tears from nowhere and can’t explain why but I think it is your body trying to settle to having no womb anymore, I’m okay now but fully understand how you feel as there is no help for you after the op and it is hard to know what to expect, I think the hospital could do with printing a booklet on ‘life after a hysterectomy’ really, Fingers crossed all will settle down for you and hope you feel better to know you are not alone x x

    2. Pam

      Hi Sharon
      Thank you for your comments, I had a full hysterectomy, including my ovaries removed on Feb 7th and was so pleased to hear someone else has an aversion to knickers due to numbness! I can’t bear them on my abdomen at all and have resorted to wearing really big tights instead!! I must say I have been shocked by the level of pain I have experienced since the operation, I had no idea that pain could be this bad. Things have improved, although rather slowly. When does the swelling at the end of the day stop? It’s good to hear that how I’m feeling is normal.x

    3. ditebogo

      hi Sharon, I am 39 years old and at age 38 I had a hysterectomy due to fibroids that were in my uterus for more than 8 years, I experienced hardness, could not sit down for longer than an hour. It was even tough as I was busy studying so I had to prepare for my exams lying on my belly or on my back and it was not fun, the swelling of my belly gave me a lot of concerns, but now I am feeling much better but then still worry a bit if my inner part of my belly is cured and if all is well, sometimes I feel like a wreck since Ive had all my 3 children through a caesarean and had to be made to sleep five times during the operations. I pray and wish that I should never go under the knife anymore in my life and I also wish not to go for any anaesthetic anymore.. what keeps me positive is my faith in God and my sometimes positive family. so be strong and you are not alone. find meaning within your faith and do things you love, be good and excel ore in those things that makes you shine. and you will feel great..

  25. Sally

    I am 43 and have had a partial abdominal hysterectomy on December 18th due to a very large Fybroid as well. I am 4 weeks into my recovery time and I have noticed that there is still alot of numbness along the bottom part of my belly and around the area`s that they went in laparoscopically. Along with that I am still swollen and very tender. I am still unable to shower and dress with out feeling extremely tired. Has any one else experienced these symptoms? If so, what have you done to over come this ?

    1. Dianne

      Hi how are you feeling now, I am the same age and have been diagnosed with a large fibroid, my doc wants to do the op the abdominal surgery cut way but I wanted the keyhole surgery because of the recovery time – do you feel ok now . Did you have to have the prostap injection before your op to reduce the fibroids

      1. nia

        My fibroid was discovered at 8cm and I was told by my doctors there was no point removing it (2008) as I was approaching the menopause and it would shrink. I am now 50 – my fibroid is 14cm and shows no signs of going anywhere. I now have to have a full abdominal op just to get it out. I am very angry, and very worried as it is sitting on my bladder and no guarantees they can go in through my old caesarian scar. I need advice and it is very thin on the ground !

  26. Clare

    Thank you ladies for sharing your thoughts. My name is Clare and i am 38 years old. After having a laparoscopy, hysteroscopy and thermal ablation to confirm my endometriosi, an MRI scan showed i also had Adenomyosis as well. I will be having my my total abdominal hysterectomy in 3 weeks. I am scared but positive in the knowledge that I will be pain free :)

  27. anne

    Had a total hysterectomy in november. i am feeling better each day but my tummy is quite swollen. i am 50 and wonder if there is anything particular i should be doing to ease the swelling. Best wishes to all awaiting surgery as we approach christmas.
    Anne xx

  28. Marilyn Clark

    I am 51, and due to have my hysterectomy on 27th December, with the added complication of having COPD. I’m terrified, but can’t wait till its all over

  29. Daniela

    Thanks Vicki. I’m having my Op 18th Dec!! Have the same as you. I’m 51! I’m pretty scared… Can’t wait till its all over…:(

  30. Sue

    Like Vicki my hysterectomy was due to a large fibroid, and I has a similar experience. Her advice is absolutely correct – listen to your own body. I am a very strong willed person who works more hours than is good for your health. Last year after my operation (end November) I took the advise she is offering. Each day I worked for a couple of hours on my computer then my body told me to relax. For the first time ever I took notice and tucked myself up on the settee with the much needed sugar free cranberry juice and a good silly Christmas movie followed by a couple of hours sleep.

    My recovery was fantastic. 4 weeks signed off to drive and back to work at 6 weeks. Silly hours kicked in again after a while but feel I would not have recovered so quick if I had not listened to what my body was telling me.

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