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:

330 thoughts on “Recovery after hysterectomy

  1. Hi, I had a total abdominal hysterectomy 13th April. I’m into my fourth day of recovery and so far so good. Have been on my feet several times a day for my circulation and to relieve the boredom of sitting/lying down. I have felt pretty tired and a little emotional but am just taking it hour by hour. Am taking my dressing off for the first time tomorrow which I’m pretty nervous about. I had a caesarean 14 years ago when I had twins and I have to say this feels very different, recovery wise. I also have psoriatic arthritis which I take very strong but amazing drugs for. They greatly reduce my immunity so have had to come off them a month in advance to give my body a chance to fight anything that it throws my way. I was so looking forward to having this operation and don’t regret it for one second. If you are in any doubt, just go for it!!

  2. I’m 52 and almost 4 weeks post total hysterectomy. Just starting to do a short walk however still glad when I reach the front door!
    I have had lots of stabbing pain in and around the scar which is still weeping slightly after nearly 4 weeks.
    I dare not even attempt to give up the laxatives at the moment as this is still causing lots of discomfort when I go to the toilet.
    Turning over in bed is just starting to get a little easier.
    Still dare not sneeze….. A little cough still pulls on my tummy.
    My tummy remains very tender to touch
    On a positive note all the nasties have been removed and no more painful periods and flooding.
    Advice to others get as much rest as possible …. No lifting and time is a great healer!

  3. I’m 41, had abdominal hysterectomy. I’m 10 days post-op and am feeling like most of you. Exhausted! Hurts to stand, walk, lay down, sit for extended amounts of time. I have been taking small walks everyday, getting some sunshine, ect..Just take it slowly. Day by day. Don’t fight what your body is telling you. I guess my problem is that I feel guilty, like I should be doing more by now. I do feel like everyday it does get a little better. Don’t lose hope.

    1. Yea I feel guilty, my op was six weeks ago tomorrow and feel I should be back at work, but I am so tired and feel exhausted after a walk.

  4. Hi i am 4 wks post partial hsterectomy and the past week pain in my ledt side is worse than ever…does anyone else wxperience similar?

    1. Hi, is your pain any better yet? I am 10 days post op (laparoscopic complete hysterectomy) and have had a stinging/burning type pain in my left side for two days now.

    2. Hi im 4 wks post op from a TAH and yes im still sore too, I still find walking painful, it feels that ive been sewn up too tight and a lead weight has been inserted where by bits used to be 🙁 ps hot flushes have started too!

  5. Hi,

    I had a total abdominal hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy over 2 years ago. I have now met and married my new husband who I would really love to have a family with and was wondering if this was possible after this major operation. Can you advise.

  6. I’m in my second day patient from a complete hysterectomy and this pain is unbearable. I try and walk take meds but this Pain is about to make me loose my mind. OMG ;(

  7. Well I’m 5 days post op and feel like I’ve been hit by a bus! Pain is like nothing I’ve felt before! But I am positive that it will get better. Onwards and upwards ladies. It has got to be better than before the op?? 🙂 sending some positive vibes from Scotland!

  8. I am 41 and on my 4th week of recovery from an abdominal hysterectomy. I had accute hemorrhaging at the 18th week of pregnancy. The doctor had to do an emergency c-section to deliver the baby and remove my uterus. Our son didn’t make it. I also lost half of my blood supply. I am sad and frustrated because. This is much more than just a c-section. I’m still spending most of the day on the couch. I can’t sit upright or stand for long periods of time. I have a lot of weakness which may be due to the blood loss. I still have a lot of pain, not just physical, but emotional as well. I am now spending time researching this. Has anyone else experienced a similar combination?

    1. I am so sorry to hear about your loss. It can’t be easy for you at all. Please take is day by day and rest as much as possible. I hope you’ve got a lot of support at home. I will say a prayer for you. I am on week 5 post my hysterectomy. Still sore but going much much better.

      1. Am so sorry to hear about your loss, stay strong, sending good vibes and prayers your way!

        I had a hysterectomy (partial) and a lot of endo removed 2.5 weeks ago and in the last 5 days have developed a pain in my side and discharge spotting has turned to more heavier. I thought I was doing fine no pain no discharge And now two weeks in its changed. My Dr has said to take it easy over the weekend and let him know if any worse or not better by Monday.
        Has anyone else noticed this and is it “normal”

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