When can I ride in a car after hysterectomy?
ARE YOU OVERDOING IT AFTER HYSTERECTOMY?
For most women, hysterectomy is a significant point in their lives. Whether the surgical removal of the uterus is done for endometriosis, fibroids, or gynecological cancer, life after hysterectomy permanently changes a few aspects of your life. For most, it means relief from symptoms that made the surgery necessary. For others, it could mean that they can no longer get pregnant or have a menstrual cycle.
Hysterectomy is a major surgery, and it is important to get plenty of rest afterward. You have been told to “take it easy” by your doctors. And it’s very easy to overdo activities when medications are masking your symptoms.
So how exactly is your body going to tell you the signs of overdoing it after a hysterectomy? And what is the hysterectomy aftercare that you need to follow for a speedy recovery?
We will explain all that and answer other most commonly asked questions about hysterectomy recovery right here.
10 things you must do after a hysterectomy
Recovery from hysterectomy depends upon the type of procedure you have had.
If you underwent an abdominal hysterectomy, which means your uterus was removed from an incision made in your abdomen, complete recovery typically takes 6-8 weeks.
If you had your uterus removed through your vagina, recovery after vaginal hysterectomy takes around 2 weeks.
These are a few things to do following a hysterectomy:
1. Rest as much as possible. Avoid standing for prolonged periods.
2. Eat a well-balanced diet, including fresh fruits, vegetables, and proteins.
3. Stay hydrated.
4. Few days after the operation, start walking slowly. You can even do light stretches.
6. Climb the stairs slowly in the beginning with one leg at a time.
7. Two weeks after the surgery, you can resume driving
8. Sexual intercourse and insertion of tampons and douche products should be avoided for 8 weeks
9. You can return to a physically non-taxing job in 4 to 8 weeks
10. You can swim after your wounds have healed completely
What are the signs of overdoing it?
Here are some ways your body is going to tell you that you are overdoing after a hysterectomy:
- You experience shooting pain in your stomach, pelvic regions, and back
- You have foul-smelling vaginal discharge, bleeding, or spotting. Heavy vaginal bleeding soaks up one sanitary napkin in an hour.
- Your incisions start to weep or open up
- You need to start pain medications again
- Your belly becomes bloated
- You feel more tired than usual or worse than you normally do
- You have a burning sensation while urinating
- You experience constipation or diarrhea
Can you lift heavy things after a hysterectomy?
Do not lift anything heavy for a complete six weeks after the procedure. Do not vacuum or perform other strenuous household chores.
If you have to lift lighter objects (less than 20 pounds), bend your knees and keep your back straight while lifting. A bag of groceries is around 20 pounds.
You can get back to normal exercises 8 weeks after surgery. Always consult with your physician for resuming activities after a hysterectomy.
How much activity is too much after a hysterectomy?
Any activity that makes you uncomfortable, causes increased pain, vaginal bleeding or discharge, and drainage from the incision site is considered to be too much for you.
If you become sore in places other than your incision site and if you feel an increased pressure in your pelvic region, it may also indicate that you are overdoing it.
If you experience these symptoms, stop doing the activity, and resume after several days.
Some activities to avoid after a hysterectomy are:
- High impact exercises like running, burpees, and jumping.
- Heavy resistance exercise that makes you grunt to lift or hold your breath.
- Abdominal and core exercises like planks, crunches, and sit-ups.
Start slow, gradually building up the intensity of your physical activity. It is always better to be safe than sorry!
How much should you rest after a hysterectomy?
Many women require some bed rest after a hysterectomy. The duration of the recovery period depends upon the type of surgery you have had and your age. Recovery also depends upon your general health before surgery.
Abdominal hysterectomy requires more recovery time than vaginal or laparoscopically performed hysterectomies.
You may be advised to rest for anywhere between 2-6 weeks, with the first two weeks consisting of bed rest.
Although it is essential to get plenty of bed rest, it is also important to get up and move around as soon as you can. Surgery and bed rest put you at an increased risk for a blood clot.
Can you walk too much after a hysterectomy?
The best exercise to start after a hysterectomy is walking. It is one of the best functional exercises to perform after a major surgery, like a hysterectomy, without risking injury to your pelvic floor.
Start walking in the hospital 24 hours after the surgery. You can continue the in-hospital walking routine in the first 1 to 2 weeks at home. If comfortable, you can walk 10 minutes continuously at the end of the second week. This can be increased by five minutes per week. By the end of 6 weeks, you should be able to walk continuously for 30 minutes. While walking minimizes the risk of injury, it is still vital to listen to your body and pace yourself. It is important not to try to do too much too soon, which could affect the healing process.
When to consult a doctor?
Call your doctor immediately in case you experience any of the following:
- Heavy bleeding or vaginal discharge
- Fever and chills
- Discharge and redness at the site of incision
- Chest pain, difficulty in breathing, or feeling out of breath
- Severe pain
- Difficulty in bowel movements or passing urine
The bottom line
Recovery following hysterectomy is different for each woman. It takes a long time and plenty of patience to recover from the surgery. Before starting any physical activity, remember that your pelvic tissues need to heal completely after a major traumatic event. They are sensitive to anything that stretches or strains them.
Avoid trying to do too much activity at once. If you experience pain, bleeding, discharge from your vagina and incision site, and opening up of your sutures, it means you need to take it slow. Understand these signs from your body that tell you are overdoing it so that you can rest, recover and start fresh again.
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How Soon Can I Return To Work After Robotic Hysterectomy?
Even performed as a minimally invasive robotic procedure, hysterectomy is still a major surgery that will require a hospital stay, recovery period, and certain physical restrictions. However, robotic hysterectomy typically allows patients to return to work and resume other activities sooner than patients who require a traditional open hysterectomy. The expert team at Professionals for Women’s Health understands the importance of minimizing downtime after surgery (when it is safe and appropriate to do so) and is proud to offer robotically assisted hysterectomy in Columbus, Dublin, and Westerville, OH. Read on to learn more about robotic hysterectomy, including who needs one, how it works, and how long you may need to schedule off work for your recovery.
Who qualifies for robotic hysterectomy?
Robotic hysterectomy can be a suitable option for women who are struggling with certain benign gynecologic conditions, such as:
- Abnormal or protracted uterine bleeding
- Uterine fibroids
- Benign tumors
- Chronic or recurrent pelvic pain
- Uterine prolapse
When more conservative treatments are ineffective against these conditions, a robotic hysterectomy may be recommended. Candidates for robotic hysterectomy in the Columbus area should be in good overall health, nonsmokers, and have no contraindications to general anesthesia.
How does a robotic hysterectomy work?
Robotically assisted hysterectomy is performed using general anesthesia and typically takes about 3 – 4 hours to complete. For patients who also require removal of the ovaries, cervix, or other structures, the procedure may take longer. To begin, the surgeon makes a series of tiny incisions on the lower abdomen, through which a small camera and narrow instruments are inserted. With the use of a remote monitor and visual magnification, the surgeon will control the instruments to perform an extremely precise and accurate removal of the uterus. Following the procedure, patients can expect to spend about 2 – 4 nights in the hospital, depending on the extent of their procedure and their postoperative progress.
How long should I take off work for robotic hysterectomy?
The majority of women can expect to feel ready to return to a desk job or light work about 2 – 3 weeks after robotic hysterectomy. However, it is important for patients to understand that their body is still healing from a major procedure. For this reason, heavy lifting, strenuous exercise, and sex will be off-limits for up to 6 – 8 weeks, or until your surgeon has given you clearance to safely resume these activities.
Benefits of robotic hysterectomy vs. open hysterectomy
In addition to being able to return to work sooner, robotic hysterectomy offers a number of advantages over open hysterectomy, including:
- Less perioperative bleeding
- Reduced perioperative and postoperative risks
- Less risk for infection
- Fewer nights in the hospital
- Shorter recovery period
- Less pain
- Minimal scarring
During your initial consultation for robotic hysterectomy in the Columbus, Westerville, or Dublin area, our esteemed providers will thoroughly review your records and imaging studies, take a detailed health history, discuss your symptoms, and determine whether you may qualify for a robotic procedure.
Return to your favorite activities sooner with a minimally invasive hysterectomy in Central Ohio
If a benign uterine condition is escaping the control of other therapies and beginning to interfere with your health and happiness, it may be time to consider a hysterectomy. With robotically assisted hysterectomy, many women can enjoy a shorter hospital stay, less time off of work, and a more comfortable recovery period compared with an open hysterectomy. To learn more about whether robotic hysterectomy is right for you, call your nearest Professionals for Women’s Health location in Westerville, Dublin, or Columbus, OH today. We look forward to helping you feel more like yourself again with minimally invasive gynecologic surgery.
Hysterectomy — laparoscopic — discharge
You were in the hospital to have surgery to remove your uterus. The fallopian tubes and ovaries may also have been removed. A laparoscope (a thin tube with a small camera on it) inserted through small cuts in your belly was used for the operation.
When You’re in the Hospital
While you were in the hospital, you had surgery to remove your uterus. This is called a hysterectomy. The surgeon made 3 to 5 small cuts in your belly. A laparoscope (a thin tube with a small camera on it) and other small surgical tools were inserted through those incisions.
Part or all of your uterus was removed. Your fallopian tubes or ovaries may have also been taken out.
You probably spent 1 day in the hospital.
What to Expect at Home
It may take at least 4 to 6 weeks for you to feel completely better after your surgery. The first two weeks are most often the hardest. You may need to take pain medicine regularly.
Most people are able to stop taking pain medicine and increase their activity level after two weeks. Most people are able to perform more normal activities at this point, after two weeks such as desk work, office work, and light walking. In most cases, it takes 6 to 8 weeks for energy levels to return to normal.
If you had good sexual function before the surgery, you should continue to have good sexual function after you have completely healed. If you had problems with severe bleeding before your hysterectomy, sexual function often improves after surgery. If you have a decrease in your sexual function after your hysterectomy, talk with your health care provider about possible causes and treatments.
Start walking after surgery. Begin your everyday activities as soon as you feel up to it. Do not jog, do sit-ups, or play sports until you have checked with your provider.
Move around the house, shower, and use the stairs at home during the first week. If it hurts when you do something, stop doing that activity.
Ask your provider about driving. You may be able to drive after 2 or 3 days if you are not taking narcotic pain drugs.
You may lift 10 pounds or 4.5 kilograms (about the weight of a gallon or 4 liters of milk) or less. Do not do any heavy lifting or straining for the first 3 weeks. You may be able to go back to a desk job within a couple of weeks. But, you may still get tired more easily at this time.
Do not put anything into your vagina for the first 8 to 12 weeks. This includes douching and tampons.
Do not have sexual intercourse for at least 12 weeks, and only after your provider says it is ok. Resuming intercourse sooner than that could lead to complications.
If sutures (stitches), staples, or glue were used to close your skin, you may remove your wound dressings (bandages) and take a shower the day after surgery.
If tape strips were used to close your skin, they should fall off on their own in about a week. If they are still in place after 10 days, remove them unless your doctor tells you not to.
Do not go swimming or soak in a bathtub or hot tub until your provider tells you it is ok.
Try eating smaller meals than normal. Eat healthy snacks in between meals. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and drink at least 8 cups (2 liters) of water a day to keep from getting constipated.
When to Call the Doctor
Call your provider if:
- You have a fever above 100.5°F (38°C).
- Your surgical wound is bleeding, is red and warm to touch, or has thick, yellow, or green drainage.
- Your pain medicine is not helping your pain.
- It is hard to breathe.
- You have a cough that does not go away.
- You cannot drink or eat.
- You have nausea or vomiting.
- You are unable to pass any gas or have a bowel movement.
- You have pain or burning when you urinate, or you are unable to urinate.
- You have a discharge from your vagina that has a bad odor.
- You have bleeding from your vagina that is heavier than light spotting.
- You have a heavy, watery discharge from the vagina.
- You have swelling or redness in one of your legs.
Supracervical hysterectomy — discharge; Removal of the uterus — discharge; Laparoscopic hysterectomy — discharge; Total laparoscopic hysterectomy — discharge; TLH — discharge; Laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy — discharge; Robotic assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy — discharge
American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Frequently asked questions, FAQ008, special procedures: hysterectomy. www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Hysterectomy. Updated January 2021. Accessed June 14, 2021.
Carlson SM, Goldberg J, Lentz GM. Endoscopy: hysteroscopy and laparoscopy: indications, contraindications and complications. In: Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, Lentz GM, Valea FA, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 10.
Michener CM, Falcone T. Laparoscopic hysterectomy. In: Baggish MS, Karram MM, eds. Atlas of Pelvic Anatomy and Gynecologic Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 114.
Prescott LS, Yunker AC, Alvarez R. Gynecologic surgery. In: Townsend CM Jr, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 71.
- Cervical cancer
- Endometrial cancer
- Uterine fibroids
- Hysterectomy — abdominal — discharge
- Hysterectomy — vaginal — discharge
Review Date 1/1/2021
Updated by: John D. Jacobson, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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