Recovering from a
hysterectomy takes time. You will stay in the hospital
for 1 to 2 days for postsurgery care. Some women stay in the hospital up to 4
Abdominal hysterectomy. As soon as
you feel strong enough, get up and around as much as you can. This helps
prevent problems after surgery like blood clots, pneumonia, and gas pains.
During the first 2 to 3 weeks, it is important to also get plenty of rest. Hold a pillow over your incision when you cough or take deep breaths. This will support your belly and decrease your pain.
will gradually be able to increase your activities. To help you heal well,
avoid lifting more than 20 pounds during the first 4 to 6 weeks after surgery.
For the same reason, this is also an important time to avoid vaginal
As soon as you can move easily without pain or
without using narcotic pain medicine, you can drive. Complete recovery usually
takes 4 to 8 weeks. Your return to a work routine will depend not only on how
quickly you get back your energy and strength but also on how demanding your
Vaginal or laparoscopic hysterectomy. As soon as you feel strong enough, get up and around as
much as you can. This helps prevent problems after surgery like blood clots,
pneumonia, and gas pains. When you can move easily without pain, you can drive.
To help you heal well, avoid lifting more than 20 pounds during the first 4 to
6 weeks after surgery. For the same reason, this is also an important time to
avoid vaginal intercourse.
Recovery from a vaginal or
laparoscopic hysterectomy takes much less time than from an abdominal surgery.
After a routine laparoscopic surgery removing the
uterus but not the
cervix (laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy, or
LSH), most women are able to return to normal activity in 1 to 2 weeks. About 4
to 6 weeks after the hysterectomy, see your doctor for a follow-up
What are possible long-term problems after hysterectomy?
Pelvic weakness. After a hysterectomy, some women
develop other physical problems that are related to weakness of the pelvic
muscles and ligaments that support the vagina, bladder, and rectum.
Kegel exercises may help strengthen the pelvic muscles
and ligaments. But some women need other treatments, including additional
Vaginal dryness from low estrogen
levels may develop if your ovaries were removed (oophorectomy). This can also
develop gradually after a hysterectomy. If sexual intercourse is painful
because of vaginal dryness:
- Use a vaginal lubricant, such as K-Y Jelly
or Astroglide, or a polyunsaturated vegetable oil that does not contain
preservatives. If you are using condoms, use a water-based lubricant, rather
than an oil-based lubricant. Oil can weaken the condom so that it breaks. Avoid
petroleum jelly (for example, Vaseline) as a lubricant, because it increases the
risk of vaginal irritation and infection.
- Use a low-dose
vaginal estrogen cream, ring, or tablet, which will
reverse vaginal dryness and irritation by affecting only the vaginal area. If
you are having other menopausal symptoms, talk to your doctor about systemic
estrogen therapy (ET) and other treatment
options. For more treatment information, see the topic
Menopause and Perimenopause.
- Hysterectomy and Oophorectomy: Should I Use Estrogen Therapy (ET)?
Pain during intercourse may occur if
your vagina was shortened during your hysterectomy. Changing positions may help
make intercourse less painful. Talk with your doctor if you have any difficulty
during intercourse after a hysterectomy.