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:

353 thoughts on “Recovery after hysterectomy

  1. Hi had hysterectomy 5weeks ago didn’t take my ovaries as am only 44 ,wish I had it years ago ,went the back to wrk after 3weeks had a bit of pain first 3 days but after that stopped taking medication and back on my feet hot water bottle worked wonders, feel like a new women

  2. Hello ladies!! This note, I hope will help woman who are worried about having “the BIG Op!” I am 53 years of age and had a total vaginal hysterectomy 4 weeks ago… I was absolutely terrified, and read everything I could find on the subject, which sometimes made me feel worse! Yes, I’ve been hit hard by the menopause freight train, very emotional, tired and those hot sweats that like to pop along and surprise you when you just managed to get comfortable in bed! A few days after the operation my whole body was very sore, which surprised me…I expected to have pain in my abdomin but not my shoulders and back, which I now know came from air in the body! Need I say more! There’s a lot of advice on what to expect afterwards but I would just like to end on saying buy lots of books, pamper yourself and grab this huge opportunity to chill out and rest. We will never have the excuse to just laze around for weeks and weeks ever again! Happy recovery, be positive and be brave! xx

  3. just wanted to reassure, I had vaginal hysterectomy plus ovaries removed I was in hospital 24 hours and now 3 months later can’t see the scars on my stomach never felt better was able to attend my sons wedding 2 weeks after surgery and was amazed very little pain but did get tired very easily

    1. Thanks for your positive comments. I don’t know just yet what I’ve got to have done apart from a biopsy which I’m dreading. Just got to get on with it and fingers crossed I won’t need surgery.

  4. I’m 60 and had a full surgical hysterectomy February 15 of 2016. I’m still experiencing the healing going on and a bit disappointed in how long it’s taking. Most days it’s great especially mind wise since I’m off hormones but mostdays there’s tearing, healing etc….which is good to avoid too much scar tissue. Keep moving is my motto.

  5. Hi I’m 52 I had a full hysterectomy on 31st March. I’m almost 6 weeks and I’m pleased with my recovery. I’ve had no trouble with my wound it has healed well still a little tender to touch. My waterworks went back to normal within a day or 2. My bowels went back to normal within the 1st week. I was put on Iron tablets and was worried that they would constipate me but I took a glass of pure orange with it and I’ve been great. I went cold turkey and didn’t take Hrt I’m so impressed just a little hot at times but otherwise great. I went back to work it’s a sitting job I’m in control of what I do and don’t do. I’ve started walking and feel fine but find I’m still getting tired quite easily. My upper back and neck gets sore a lot. I’m thinking it’s the lack of activity as I usually very active. All said its the best thing I’ve ever done. I feel clean again as I would stain continuously, no more floods looking forward to being completely back to normal .

  6. hi ! am about to go into surgery on Monday and have been informing myself on this subject !Hope everyone feels better soon … And if you have a problem dont hesitate to see your doctor as everyones body is diff and reactions to surgery is different too !!! Wishing All a quick and healthy recovery !see you guys on the flipside ! :))

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