Medical procedures and treatment for various conditions change as medical technology continues to improve. Hysterectomies performed today differ greatly from the hysterectomies of just a generation ago. With precision tools, such as laparoscopes, today’s hysterectomies offer a much less invasive option.
Depending on the reason for your hysterectomy, you may require a more traditional approach, involving an incision in your abdomen. The recovery from this type of surgery is a bit more involved than the laparoscopic approach, but even surgical hysterectomies aren’t as traumatic to your body as they once were.
That being said, you are still having a procedure that involves removal of your uterus and perhaps other structures of your reproductive system, and you will need to be prepared to take it easy for more than a few weeks post-procedure. You want to recover fully and without any complications. Knowing what to expect during your recovery can help you plan appropriately.
Length of recovery
Dr. Shaurin Patel, of ObGyn Care of Oklahoma, recognizes your hysterectomy can be taxing on you, both emotionally and physically. Depending on your condition, and the reason a hysterectomy may be indicated, Dr. Patel may use the minimally invasive vaginal approach, with the help of a laparoscope, or you may require a more invasive abdominal method.
Again, depending on the degree of your hysterectomy, you may be back to your day-to-day life in as little as a few weeks. Then again, if you’ve had abdominal surgery, and either a total or radical hysterectomy, you will need a much longer recovery period. In either case, be prepared to rest and recover fully before taking on any significant tasks.
Your hysterectomy will take place in the hospital, and you can expect to spend a day or two there. Some procedures may require you to spend a little more time than that, but you will typically be home within a few days.
Once home, you’ll need to adhere to the list of post-surgical instructions you were given. This may include taking medication for the pain, no housework, no lifting, and you’ll need to refrain from sexual intercourse for at least six weeks. You can expect some bleeding, however, do not use a tampon. Do not douche or insert anything into your vagina.
You’ll feel tired and a little weak after your surgery, which is completely normal, but it’s important for you to move around. Take short daily walks, increasing the time you spend walking a little each day, but listen to your body and don’t overdo it. Refrain from driving for about two weeks, or longer if you’re on pain medication. Don't plan to travel for at least three weeks.
Dr. Patel will let you know when you can plan on returning to work, but typically you’ll need to take three to six weeks to recover. He will also advise you on when you can return to an exercise routine. Vigorous activities, such as running, swimming, weight lifting, and the like aren’t permitted until about six weeks post-op.
If problems arise
Should you notice any of the following, at any time during your recovery, contact our office:
- Fever above 100.0
- Heavy bleeding or unusual discharge
- Redness, swelling, or discharge from incision
- Trouble urinating
- Shortness of breath or chest pain may require a visit to the ER
What to expect going forward
As you continue your recovery from your hysterectomy your life will change in many ways. The first being the absence of the condition that necessitated your hysterectomy. When you’re no longer experiencing pain, bloating, heavy, irregular bleeding, or lack of pelvic support, you realize how much your condition was holding you back from doing the things you enjoy. Your improved quality of life is a wonderful benefit of your hysterectomy.
You can also expect a vaginal discharge that lasts up to eight weeks. If your surgery involved removal of the ovaries, and you haven’t yet gone through menopause, you can expect to experience symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, night sweats, mood swings, and other symptoms associated with menopause. Dr. Patel can help you deal with these symptoms if they interrupt your life.
Some women have a deep emotional reaction to hysterectomy. Depending on the reason for your procedure, your age, and your lifestyle, you may find yourself feeling depressed. This is completely natural and usually temporary. Dr. Patel understands your need for emotional support during your recovery and is available to help. If your depression seems to be getting worse, or lingering beyond your physical recovery, contact Dr. Patel immediately.
For more information
For more information on what to expect from a hysterectomy, or to discuss any other gynecological issues, please contact ObGyn Care of Oklahoma. We have two offices conveniently located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and we look forward to seeing you.