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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301 thoughts on “Recovery after hysterectomy

  1. I had a total abdominal hysterectomy 8 days ago now and I felt so miserable in pain after and thought there would be no recovery in sight. As of day 6 I have been able to do more as far as not feeling like I’m dying just to go to the bathroom. I almost feel normal again other than some minor discomfort. Is it normal to go from feeling like I’m never going to get better to feeling the way I do now or is this like I have good days and bad days type of thing? This discomfort feels about like a week after having my tunes tied (had that done in 2013)

  2. Hi Linda, thank you so much for all the information, I had a total hysterectomy 12days for severe endometriosis and fibroid with extensive adhesions on my bowel, I now have trouble opening my bowel and cannot push at all, will this come back or is this normal after so much work, it was a 4 hr op.

  3. Hi i had a full abdominal hysterectomy on 27th Nov this year.I am still in a lot of pain. I have chronic back pain which i am on medication for, i also have Chrohns disease. This op has affected me very badly on all accounts. I have had terrible wind that kept me awake all night a couple of nights ago. Today, i got up to get some painkillers and all of a sudden i had the most excruciating headache, felt very sick and thought i was going to faint. I have felt extremely tired all day as a result. Also, after a week iv started to bleed a dark brown discharge that seems to be getting worse each day. This started about a week and a half post op. Also, when i wee, it hurts my stomach especially my pelvic area, it has been worse today. I keep my husband awake each night as i am unable to move in bed without being comfortable, it takes me ages. Any advice please.

  4. Hi Lisa

    I had a total hysterectomy with removal of my ovaries 6 days ago I an still very tender and rather emotional. I think I am abit shocked by the operation too. I found peppermint tea has been gid send post op and would recommend drinking this to other women as it really helps with the wind and bowrl movements etc.

    I accidentally coughed last night in bed and I am worried ii ii have torn my stitches as hurt so much on my left side was like a sharp stabbing pain which has really frightened me and made me anxious everything is OK?

  5. I had a total abdominal hysterectomy 2 weeks ago leaving only my ovaries. I’m very emotional and tired. A Huge part they left out. When will it stop?

  6. hi I am 63 I and full hysterectomy on 29th July 15 I am still experiencing pain in my stomach which still feels numb and uncomfortable. my stomach often swells. I am off food often feeling full up after one mouthful or not wanting it at all, most of the time I just eat snacks. I feel constantly tired and have very little energy . I find that I often need to pass urine as to hold causes my stomach to hurt is this normal

  7. I am 65 y/o & had the da vinci procedure done (complete hysterectomy) in mid August. My recovery time was rapid and I’m good as new. My question is with regards to sex. I have no problems having intercourse until my partner uses a little more thrust in his movement. Then I can feel the sensitivity in the very back of my vagina, where I believe the stitches were. It has been 2.5 months since surgery….will this sensitivity lessen in time?

  8. Hi, just want to say thank you in advance for hearing me and us all out. Your time is very much appreciated!
    I had total hysterectomy and ovary n cervix removal 2 weeks ago due to Endometriosis. The pain is easing nicely and although I’m very tired I’m managing a little walk each day and feeling the most ‘level’ emotionally than I think I’ve ever felt. I’ve just had friends around who were horrified that I’ve been doing the washing, changing the beds, washing up, cooking and general house work. I think I’ve been sensible enough- I’ve done nothing in a rush and taken it very carefully. I’ve rested loads in between and trying to listen to my body is when I start hurting…… Am I OK doing these things or am I doing too much? They said I can cause long term damage if I do too much too soon. I’m a single mum of a 5yr old and just had a broken marriage. This is irrelevant I suppose but what I mean is, its been one hell of a year and I’m enjoying being independent and managing on my own..hate asking for help when I seem perfectly capable of managing these things myself.. Please advise!
    Thank you, Beth xx

  9. Hi I had a vaginal hysterectomy 5 weeks ago , everything has gone to plan ,very little pain no bleeding and generally feeling good , except I now have dull backache when I sit , walk about and it’s fine .. Is this normal thank you

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