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:

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Recommended Resources:

373 thoughts on “Recovery after hysterectomy

  1. I just had my hysterectomy on aug 9th and i gave my daughter a kidney at the same time it’s been two weeks and I’m having period symptoms which is so weird but overall I’m coming along

  2. 26th May I went to my GP with very slight vaginal spotting problem, she referred me to the hospital where I had a scan, a biopsy, a MRI scan and was initially diagnosed with a grade 2 cancer and was to have a full hysterectomy including cervix, ovaries and tubes etc. Gratefully the cancer was downgraded and on 12th July I had the full hysterectomy and this week t have had the all clear, the tumour was contained, no further treatment and’get on with the rest of my life. All 32 staples are out and I have been home two weeks. Can’t praise the whole NHS system enough. Treated myself to a Fitbit and completed a 5,000 step walk this morning. Please girls get any problems checked out.
    Ps I am 62 years old and intending to get fitter albeit slowly.

    1. Thanks for your positive comments. I could have been reading about myself! I live in NewPlymouth, and have to go to Wellington on Wednesday for my pre op day. I guess they will inform me then of the date for the acrual operation. I intend to go to Hawaii for Christmas, as planned and already booked. Thanks again for the great statement.


  3. I am 28 years old , I had my total hysterectomy ovaries & fallopian tubes and appendix removed on June 24 of this year my surgery was 6 in half hours long. Due to my endometriosis as well as my frozen pelvis is why I had this surgery, unfortunately I have no children sad it had to come to this. After two other surgeries and years of looking for a doctor that understands what Endometriosis is I found Dr.Seckin in New York, thank God I live in philadelphia so it’s only a two hour drive. It’s been about three weeks since my surgery i have to say I feel good. Yes I have pain an overall I feel different, it’s my breast that feels funny not sure if this is normal. Doctors appointment is next Monday so I have some questions to ask him. Just want to share my story.

    God bless

  4. I am 34yrs old .with no children (we wanted children but sadly not to be for us because of cancer to make it worse the nurse looking after me was pregnant) I have just come home after a traumatic week in hospital.. I had a total hystorectomy they also took my fallopian tubes and everything had turned cancerous..! My operation didn’t go to plan and took an extra 6hrs and have had too blood transfusions .. So glad it’s all over although I’m along way off being ok .thought I would share my experience x

  5. Is there a possibility that 18months after a hysterectomy, there may be something going wrong again. I just cannot bear the thought of going through that again.

  6. all the best during your recovery. I look forward to free months ahead. wishing you well Lesley. good for you sylvi.

  7. Thank you for sharing your comments, this has really helped me weigh up my options. I’m 35 years old, 2 kids (9 and 4) and have a 7cm fibroid plus 5cm cyst which is thought to be a chocolate cyst – endometrioma. MRI scan and blood test taking place and was asked if I had considered a hysterectomy. Think it will only be my womb, possibly one ovary removed but will depend on the outcome of the MRI i suppose. Some of the websites are scary, and cause you more anxiety however reading these posts have inspired me and I am now feeling quite liberated. The thought of feeling like my old self, new woman, and without heavy periods and chronic pelvic pain sounds very attractive and I think the potential risks are outweighed by the benefits.
    Anyway, wish me luck!
    Wishing everyone well and happy times,
    Lesley x

    1. i had an abdominal hysterectomy 6days ago. it went well . surprise is that since I came from theatre, went to the ward and been home for three days now there has been no pain whatsoever. I am very grateful because pain management has improved over the years. I had Seen my friends go through soo much trauma. This made me postpone the procedure for three years until my HB went too low it became an emergency. support from family, friends and my neighborhood including church is wonderful. Thanks be to God Almighty.

    2. I do wish you the best! Before my total abdominal hysterectomy and salpingo oopherectomy, doctors thought I had appendicitis. During the appendectomy surgery it was discovered that one of my endometriomas (chocolate cysts) had ruptured, causing the severe pain that mimicked appendicitis. During the appy surgery they were able to visually diagnose bilateral ovarian masses (additional endometriomas and other cysts) and noted my severe endometriosis. My hysterectomy was recent enough that I’m not pain free yet due to post op pain, but I’m hopeful. Trust me though, you do not want an endometrioma to rupture before you seek treatment.

    3. I had my womb removed but everything else left as a result of a 9cm fibroid. All other treatment failed and excessive pain left no option. Now already having less pain and apart from stopping myself from doing to much and being surprised that a trip out for coffee means i need a 2 he nap I couldn’t be better. Unfortunately we don’t have children but now I’m starting to feel like myself. Go for it and good luck

  8. Hi I had a spinal injection for a vaginal hysterectomy, anterior and posterior repair, and a sacrospinous fixation operation last Saturday.
    Had to stay in till Monday because I could not pass urine so had to come home with a catheter in, but taken out Thursday not a problem it was just strapped to my leg,
    I feel great I am 72 yrs young go to the gym and walk a lot.I would recommend the op to anyone and the spinal injection also, you can have a nice coffee as soon as you are back on the ward.
    My only problem is that my bottom is a bit sore not sure what cream to put on it.
    Just off to the hairdressers and out to lunch.Best wishes to you all,

    1. What a positive post !! A pleasure to read. My cousin has just had a hysterectomy because of cancer – delighted to say this sorted out the cancer problem.

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