What should I know about recovering at home after a hysteretomy?
- You may resume your normal diet, as tolerated.
- You may take a bath or shower. Wash the incision with soap and water (the stitches do not have to be removed, as they will dissolve in about six weeks). A dressing over the incision is not necessary. If skin clips (staples) were used, they will need to be removed by your healthcare provider.
- You may use lotions and creams on the skin around the incision to relieve itching.
- Increase your activity gradually every day, when you feel capable and aren't in pain. Completely normal activities can be resumed within four to six weeks or sooner if the procedure was performed vaginally or through the laparoscope.
- Drive when you feel capable and are no longer requiring narcotic pain medications — about two weeks after surgery.
- You can travel out of town three weeks after surgery, including air travel.
- Avoid lifting heavy objects (over 10 pounds) for at least four weeks.
- Do not douche or put anything into the vagina for four weeks.
- You may have intercourse six weeks after surgery, or as directed by your healthcare provider.
- Light swimming is permitted two weeks after surgery in a swimming pool, but avoid vigorous swimming until four weeks after surgery.
- Resume your exercise routine in four to six weeks, depending on how you feel.
- Your doctor can tell you when it's best to go back to work. You can usually go back to work in three to six weeks, depending on the procedure.
- People who undergo a subtotal or partial hysterectomy may continue to have a light period for a year after the procedure. This happens because small amounts of the endometrial lining can remain in the cervix, causing light periods.
How will I feel after hysterectomy?
After hysterectomy, your periods will stop. Occasionally, you may feel bloated and have symptoms similar to when you were menstruating. It is normal to have light vaginal bleeding or a dark brown discharge for about four to six weeks after surgery.
You may feel discomfort at the incision site for about four weeks, and any redness, bruising or swelling will disappear in four to six weeks. Feeling burning or itching around the incision is normal. You may also experience a numb feeling around the incision and down your leg. This is normal and, if present, usually lasts about two months.
If the ovaries remain, you should not experience hormone-related effects. If the ovaries were removed with the uterus before menopause, you may experience the symptoms that often occur with menopause, such as hot flashes. Your healthcare provider may prescribe hormone replacement therapy to relieve menopausal symptoms.
Emotional reactions to hysterectomy vary, depending on how well you were prepared for the surgery, the reason for having it, and whether the problem has been treated.
Some women may feel a sense of loss or become depressed, but these emotional reactions are usually temporary. Other women may find that hysterectomy improves their health and well-being, and may even be a life-saving operation. Please discuss your emotional concerns with your healthcare provider.