Hysterectomy Recovery: Know your Facts

Hysterectomy is a major surgery that brings forth not just physical but psychological implications as well. The surgical removal of the uterus is done for a myriad of issues such as fibroids, endometriosis and gynecological cancer. While this procedure is done when it is medically necessary, this also means the patient will not be able to bear children anymore. This has a considerable psychological impact on some patients. For such patients, counseling may be a good way to help them cope.

In this article we will discuss in detail about the typical hysterectomy recovery time and what to expect following the major surgery. 

It is important to remember that the recovery from hysterectomy depends upon the kind of procedure performed. The different types of hysterectomy surgery are:

Abdominal Hysterectomy: 

In abdominal hysterectomy, the uterus is removed through an incision on the belly. Complete recovery takes 6 to 8 weeks, even though the patient can go home 2 to 3 days after the surgery. Once you go back home after the procedure, you are encouraged to rest. While walking is encouraged, you should not be lifting anything heavy for the first two weeks. After 6 weeks, you can go back to your normal routine.

Laparoscopic assisted Vaginal Hysterectomy:

A vaginal hysterectomy is comparatively less invasive than an abdominal hysterectomy, and recovery is faster in about two weeks. Most patients come home the same day or the next. As with Abdominal Hysterectomy, walking is encouraged after the procedure, but no heavy lifting in the following two weeks.

Laparoscopic Supracervical Hysterectomy: This is the least invasive procedure with a recovery period of one to two weeks. As with other procedures, walking is encouraged but not heavy lifting.

Robotic Hysterectomy: As the name suggests, this procedure is performed with the help of robotic arms. The patient usually goes home the next day and the restriction is the same as with any other form of hysterectomy. 

How painful is the recovery process after a hysterectomy?

Well, the good news is the pain after a hysterectomy can be managed with pain medications advised by doctors. If the surgery was performed laparoscopically, the incision locations may cause you to experience some soreness and pain. Most women will be instructed to refrain from intercourse for at least six weeks and steer clear of strenuous activity.

How long does it take to walk normally after a hysterectomy?

For the first couple of weeks at home, you are encouraged to follow the in-hospital walking routine. Depending on your comfort level, you can walk for 10 minutes straight towards the end of the second week. Try to increase this by 5 minutes each week. By the end of 6 weeks, you should be able to walk for 30 minutes comfortably.

What to expect immediately after a hysterectomy?

Getting a hysterectomy entails removing the uterus, which means you will not get your periods anymore. Also, you cannot get pregnant again. Menopause ensues with possible side effects such as night sweats, hot flashes and vaginal dryness. In the first few weeks following surgery, the most common side effects include bloating and constipation. Mild discomfort and pain in the lower abdomen is also common along with light vaginal bleeding which subsides over time.