Recovering from Your Hysterectomy: What to Expect

Jan 02, 2023
Recovering from Your Hysterectomy: What to Expect
You might need a hysterectomy for many reasons, but regardless of what led to this moment, it’s time to prepare for your recovery. In this blog, we highlight what you can expect after your surgery.

A hysterectomy is major surgery, but it can help you eliminate the symptoms of fibroids, endometriosis, and chronic pelvic pain. 

Karen Allsup, FACOG, MD, performs hysterectomies laparoscopically — using small incisions with a specialized camera and robotic assistance rather than large incisions — to help you find relief from your symptoms.

Depending on your symptoms, you may eagerly await your hysterectomy, but what should you expect afterward? Here’s what you need to know, courtesy of our Aurora OB/GYN team.

What to expect immediately after surgery

Even as a laparoscopic surgery, you can expect a few small incisions. Depending on what type of hysterectomy you need total, supracervical, total hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, and radical hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy you can expect a varying degree of pain and tenderness after surgery. 

Rest assured, our team monitors you throughout your surgery and immediately after as you are moved to a recovery room. 

We continue to monitor your vitals (blood pressure, etc.) and any potential side effects of the anesthesia. You may feel groggy or nauseous after surgery, both of which are common.

Our team provides medication for pain management (and nausea, if needed) along with your post-operative instructions. Because your post-operative instructions are specific to you and the type of hysterectomy you had, follow your instructions as diligently as possible. This will help you feel better faster, reduce your risk of infection, and help your recovery stay as smooth as possible. Once you’re stable, you’re discharged to continue your recovery journey at home.

What to expect when you’re recovering at home

Once you’re at home, it’s time to focus on pain management, rest, nutritious meals, and continuing to follow your discharge instructions.

Pain management

Taking your pain medication as prescribed and on time can help you avoid post-surgical discomfort. Because missing a dose can increase your discomfort, it’s best to stick to your schedule. Set a timer to stay on track. 

Rest is essential 

After a hysterectomy, you can expect to be placed on pelvic rest for at least six weeks. In addition to pelvic rest, it’s a good idea to take it easy, especially in your first few days after surgery. 

Avoid strenuous activities and intense exercise until cleared to resume these activities. Consider stocking up on a few good books or loading your streaming queue with shows to entertain you while you focus on your recovery. You should also take some time off work, especially if you have a labor-intensive job.

You can (and should) walk

Although you should prioritize rest and avoid strenuous activities, you can (and should) add gentle walking into your routine. Walking is a great post-operative activity because:

  • It helps prevent blood clots
  • It helps combat constipation (a common post-operative compilation)
  • It boosts your mood 

Start slow and go easy with yourself. At first, you may only feel like walking around your house, and that’s okay. 

You might be constipated 

Constipation is a common post-operative side effect, but a little preparation can help you manage it. Be sure to eat plenty of fiber-rich foods and stay hydrated to help prevent constipation. 

Lean protein, whole grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables are nutritious foods to include in your post-operative meals.

Tip: Before your surgery, stock your pantry with snacks or frozen meals to make meals easier, especially during your few post-operative days when you might not feel like cooking.

Expect menopause 

The surgical removal of your uterus marks the end of your fertility and triggers surgical menopause. Unless you’ve already experienced menopause, you should prepare mentally for the end of your fertility and the potential symptoms of menopause. Our team is happy to help you navigate through this transition through menopause management.

Experience relief

Know that your painful condition — fibroids, endometriosis, etc. — is now in your past. You can look forward to feeling better! Remember why you started this path as you embark on your healing journey. 

Questions? Call our San Antonio, Texas office to learn more about laparoscopic hysterectomy. You can also book an appointment through our online form.