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.

Recommended Reading:

star buy101 Handy Hints for a Happy Hysterectomy – £7.00. This is our own best selling book written by Linda, CEO of the Hysterectomy Association. Jam packed full of useful hints, tips and advice for every stage of your hysterectomy from planning to getting back to work.

Recommended Resources:

394 thoughts on “Recovery after hysterectomy

  1. Hi I had a total hysterectomy last Friday, came out on Monday . It was due to having fibroids which were getting bigger and generally feeling crap ,I’m 52,and at this moment I feel it’s the best thing that has happened to me , pain is minimal abit sore and bruising is coming out today . Pain relieve is just each end of the day
    A farmers wife used to doing heavy jobs outside its nice to site with my feet up and have my friends calling to put kettle on .
    So 5 days in ,eat regular good heathy food, drink plenty water ,walk around a little, rest plenty, sleeping is mending ,some good reading ,and an iPad .

    1. Glad to hear you are on the road to recovery too. I had my TAH with removal of ovaries on 10/10 so am in the second week post op and feeling as if I am making small improvements every day. I can now sleep on my side for several hours at a time which I couldn’t do for the first week. Yesterday was the first day without pain relief although I wasn’t prepared for how tired I would feel! Afternoon naps are definitely the order of the day!

    2. Ooh I had a total hysterectomy and bowel repair Frid 7th Oct too. Same date as yourself I think? Now the 20th Oct and feeling pretty good. Infact, better than I felt pre-op, though still a bit sore at times. Been off pain killers for a week and been on a mega healthy diet, infact, never been so healthy or drank so much water. New me on the way I feel 😀 Hope you recover well. Julie xx

  2. All went well with my abdominal hystetectomy 😊 had everything removed apart from ovaries im 43 no kids.was in theatre for 2 hrs. I fasted from 630 am had my surgery at 330 pm. I didn’t drink anything.came out of the anathestic good.move your feet about afterwards and do your breathing exercises.catheter got taken out in the and drink as normal.had extremly bad wind pain for 2 days and definitly recommend a suposatry as liquid laxative didn’t work.had 4 amounts.just normal panadols every 4 hrs.small short walks.plenty of sleep n on day 6 after surgery now so far so good.dont be afraid to ask nursing staff anything.if your not sure ask😊

  3. Hi I had an hysterectomy and repair done was I n hospital 24 hrs after operation have only had 4 pain killers biggest thing with me was feelin exhausted I am 83 years old Lillian

  4. hi I just wanted to know if anyone has had there gaullbladder and virginal hysterectomy done at the same time I am awating surgery and don’t know if I should have them done separate or together I had a prolapse done two years ago but my womb is dropping thanks for reading and hopefully your replies

    1. I had a TAH total abdominal hysterectomy last Tuesday.
      I had a large ovarian cyst so it was best to remove everything.
      Day 7 today and I’m off painkillers and laxatives.
      I’m walking around a lot and the tiredness is subsiding.
      We are all different and we will recover in our own unique way.
      What I would recommend is to be as fit as you can as this has definitely helped me a lot.

      1. Hi I am 31 and have 3 children 14,9 and 2 I have had my uterus and cervix removed by abdominal hysterectomy 3 weeks ago. Last week I had lots of energy this week I am sore and so tired, I feel as though I’m going backwards is this normal?

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