My Story: After Hysterectomy Recovery Tips & Products that Helped

My personal story of after hysterectomy recovery with tips and products that helped during the recovery time.

Two weeks ago yesterday, I checked myself into the hospital for a scheduled surgery that I never wanted to have to have – a full hysterectomy.

At 51 years of age, my days of wanting  babies are long over, so that wasn’t the issue. But, I did want to desperately avoid the inevitable pain and possible complications that any major surgery comes with.

But, after months (years) of constant pain due to ovarian cysts, it was no longer an avoidable procedure.

I’m in no way a medical professional and this is NOT written with any iota of medical expertise. However, so many ladies have graciously passed on their hysterectomy recovery tips and recommendations to me, so I wanted to pass them on to you, too!

After Hysterectomy Recovery Tips & Products that Helped

What’s a hysterectomy?

If you’re unsure as to what a hysterectomy is, according to an article in Women’s Health, the definition of hysterectomy is:

“A hysterectomy is a surgery to remove a woman’s uterus (also known as the womb). The uterus is where a baby grows when a woman is pregnant. During the surgery the whole uterus is usually removed. Your doctor may also remove your fallopian tubes and ovaries. After a hysterectomy, you no longer have menstrual periods and cannot become pregnant.”

For the situation I was dealing with, I had a full hysterectomy which removed everything – including the ovaries, Fallopian tubes, and uterus. I also had one very large fluid filled cyst and a small endometrial cyst removed – which were the culprits of all kinds of pain!!

How long does it take to recover from a hysterectomy surgery?

I find that stories of recovery time vary wildly between women. The surgeon told me to not to expect to work under any circumstances for the first 3 weeks- and up to 6-8 weeks. Some women say they felt so much better after 2 weeks -others have told me they took much longer to feel better.

All I can give with certainty is my own story. At 2 weeks post op, I’m still moving slow and sore. However, each new day brings a little more healing – for which I am beyond grateful.

Hysterectomy Recovery Tips

I opened up the conversation about my hysterectomy surgery on Instagram and got an incredible response of support, advice, and helpful tips. I feel like my Instagram followers are my personal support group during this recovery time, and I want to pass on the tips they shared that have been so helpful to me.

  • Keep on top of your pain meds. Missing a dose  can mean a lot of extra pain – especially the first few days. I started a list with times I needed to take each medication. If you need to, set a timer.
  • Listen to your doctor’s counsel regarding laxatives. Pain medicine messes with your bowel function, and it might need a little coaxing to wake up after surgery – and the whole time you’re taking pain meds.
  • Drink a LOT of water. Water just seems to help everything in your body function better, and in order for the laxatives to do their work, they need a lot of water.
  • Juices like cranberry and grape make powder laxatives taste great.
  • Lying down in bed may be painful at first. Sleeping upright in my LaZBoy chair was the only way I could get decent sleep for the first week. Week 2 I graduated to the couch with lots of pillows to prop myself up.
  • Walk (slowly) as much as you can, but rest, too. This is where you have to self monitor a lot. Walking is good for you, but if you overdo it, extra pain will follow.
  • Plan things to look forward to each day. I find the evenings are hard, so I started planning a movie night every night. I choose an old movie and enjoy watching it.
  • Have meals in the freezer, or find help with getting meals. Thankfully, my husband is very capable in the kitchen, so meals haven’t been a real problem. But, if I was going to have to do them all myself, it would be. If possible, I’d recommend making freezer meals ahead of time. My stamina isn’t very high in the cooking department.
  • Avoid lifting and pushing/ pulling anything over 10 pounds (like a milk jug). You may need to really pay attention to things or you might tend to do this without thinking. Get extra help for cleaning house while you are recovering.
  • One thing I found problematic was blow drying my hair. I really like having a shower every morning (the hot water feels heavenly on my aching back muscles!), but I couldn’t hold up the blow drier long enough to get my hair fixed.  Bless my husband’s heart, he holds the blow dryer for me and I just use the round brush and get it done. 

Products that have helped after hysterectomy recovery

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience. If items are purchased using these links, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to the purchaser.

I’ve tried a few recommendations people have given that have helped so much during this post surgery recovery time.

  • A pretty nightgown (like this one): A few ladies mentioned that they just couldn’t stand anything touching the incision site for the first while, so they loved having a nightgown to sleep in.
  • Large, oversized sweat pants (these are similar to mine) – I didn’t realize that it is normal for your stomach to swell a LOT after surgery. Thankfully, I bought these sweatpants 2 sizes too big for normal sized me. They fit perfectly loose right now.
  • The hospital had these disposable underwear for after surgery that I loved.
  • Slip on shoes – I wore these to the hospital and used them as slippers when I was there, too. I can also easily slip them on when I want to go for a short walk outside.
  • Belly Band – This has been an absolute life saver for me! It holds everything in and supports your back – which is working overtime trying to support those tender stomach muscles.
  • Licorice Tea – Someone mentioned that this tea helped her when she was suffering terribly with constipation. I have trouble in that department, too, so I’ve been drinking a cup a day. Even though I really don’t like black licorice, I sure do like the tea!
  • Lap Desk– We picked up a simple fold up lap desk before surgery, and I’m so glad we did. I use it multiple times a day – including right now, as I type this post up on my iPad mini while sitting on my couch!;)
  • Shawls & scarves – With all the other things I have to deal with on a daily basis, wrestling myself into a bra is just not going to happen. A lovely strategically placed scarf or shawl keeps everything appropriately covered.;)
  • Comfortable camisoles – Instead of a bra, I simply put a comfy camisole (similar to this) under my shirts and sweaters.
  • I enjoy reading, so I made sure I have a stack of Christmas Romance Novels (my favorite kind of book) on hand. Here are a few of my favorites:

Fun Gifts to Give to a Friend Having Surgery

If you have a friend facing an upcoming surgery and would like to bless her with a gift of love, here are some things that have blessed my socks off!

  • Text messages asking how I’m doing.
  • A fun delivery of macarons from New York!
  • A meal in disposable containers (so I don’t have to remember to give the containers back)
  • My daughter-in-law came over and painted my toe-nails! (I couldn’t wear any nail polish during surgery)
  • A gift bag full of little gifts with instructions to open one gift a day. It’s something fun to look forward to! My friend wrote that it has in it everything from the ridiculous to the sublime.:) Here are the things that were in it:
    • A cute seasonal dish towel
    • chocolates
    • Sudoku puzzle book
    • stickers & pen
    • baby wipes
    • nice smelling bar of soap
    • lip balm
    • mulling spices
    • wood slice coasters
    • paperback book
    • fridge magnet
    • pretty Spring napkins
    • a mini teapot
    • matching teacup to the teapot
    • travel cosmetic bags

Do you have any hysterectomy recovery tips?

I grew up having a mom and both grandmas who all had hysterectomys. However, talking about that topic just wasn’t done back then. Now they’re all in Heaven, and I wish I could ask them questions. Instead, I’ve just opened up the topic with anyone who’d like to talk about it.

I’ve found a wealth of information and helpful resources just by talking about it. Have you had a hysterectomy? Do you have any advice or tips you’d like to add to this list I’ve written in this article? If so, click on the comments below and add your words of wisdom. So many people will appreciate it and learn from it!

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35 Comments

  1. I hate that you had to undergo a hysterectomy and I hope that once you are healed, your pain will be gone. You and I are the same age and we both had major surgery recently. I was one week ahead of you. Your tips are great and I know that they will help many women who are facing a hysterectomy or recovering from one.

  2. Sweet Rita, Although I have never had a hysterectomy, I did have a perforated bowel, followed by 3 and a half months of wearing a colostomy bag. Then I had another abdominal surgery to reconnect my bowel. I would say that whatever the Dr. tells you to do or not do, follow his wise instructions. I did not keep up with the breathing exercise and so I developed a bod clot in my lung. I can’t take most pain meds and it hurt too much to breathe deeply for that exercise. The large stretch pants were a huge help for me too. In closing, I want to thank you for sharing your private story in an effort to help others. After all, we are here to help one another any way we can. So, may God restore you completely into full health and may you have many happy days ahead. Sending a gentle hug! 🥰 Sharon in NJ

  3. Even if you were able to have a hysterectomy vaginally and without a major incision, all the things you have mentioned are true. When you don’t have an abdominal incision, it is hard to realize that the inside needs to heal also. Do what your Dr says and don’t over tire yourself. Once this is all over and you are feeling well again, you will amazed at how good you feel and how bad you really felt. Having prayiing friends is also a great comfort and encouragement.

  4. Thank you for this wonderful information. In this age of information overload, it can be interesting what helpful info doesn’t get passed along and this is so necessary and reassuring. Many years ago I had a hysterectomy for cancer (on my 30th birthday) and so many of these helpful little tips didn’t get to me; the 70s were a different era. Boy I would have loved to know how bloated I’d be afterwards. I remember crying because I felt so “fat” afterwards. Drs and nurses were so worried about how I’d react to no more babies( I had 3 precious little boys) and the cancer that everything else went by the wayside. I would have lived to read something like this before hand. Thank you again and blessings for an uneventful recovery

  5. One thing to note; when I had my hysterectomy I had two one inch incisions and then one in my bellybutton. I think the recovery time with that is much less than your 9 inch incision. Pain probably less too.

  6. Thank you for sharing and being so open about this topic. I think one thing that I didn’t realize would be difficult after my surgery was how lonely the days could be. I was home from work for 6 weeks and my husband was working and everyone was busy with their own lives. But a friend took time to come by for lunch one day and I realized then how much I was craving companionship and someone to talk to during the day. My advice is for people who know someone who has had major surgery. Stop by or call throughout their recovery, it will be greatly appreciated!

  7. I had the full hysterectomy at age 37, because of advanced endometriosis. I could not stand the pain anymore. Six weeks recovery with the big incision. The nurses told me rest, do not stand all the time, and do everything they told me. I did it and have never had a minutes problem since. I will be 73 this month and all good. The no lifting is the most important for your bladder. Hope this helps.

  8. Praying you have a quick recovery. Several years ago, I had to have my right ovary, fallopian tube and appendix removed due to an ovarian cyst and scar tissue from a previous surgery years ago. The pain was horrible!!! But afterwards, being pain free was such a blessing. I really enjoy your blog and use a lot of your material for my residents at the nursing home I am Activity Director at. Bless you for all the good you do.

  9. I had my hysterectomy at age 29, due to cervical cancer and thankfully, it didn’t have to include removal of the ovaries. I had been married for several years but always thought we had plenty of time if we wanted children, so that wasn’t true! This was in March of 1982, so things are likely different than today. It is so long ago that I don’t really have any suggestions other than take it slow, things will get easier, pain will decrease but it’s going to take time! I wish you well in your recovery and want to thank you for being willing to share this with others. I’m very sure it will help many other woman who go through this same surgery. Be gentle with yourself.

  10. 1. Have a folded blanket or pillow available to hold against you abdomen if you have to cough or sneeze.
    2. Even though it may be uncomfortable, keep moving (short time, frequently)…do not just sit around all the time or you might get complications.
    3. Do not strain to move your bowels. Take laxatives-medication or natural, fluids and moving.

  11. I had a hysterectomy when I was in my 40s. Best thing that ever happened! I had fibroids and one big one was tipping my uterus which was causing all sorts of problems. I found it helpful to keep a big stuffed animal close that I could hug when I had to sneeze, cough or move unexpectedly. I tried to walk every day even if it was just around the block. Also I found Ibuprofen to be more helpful than pain pills/narcotics. An anti-inflammatory actually helped with the inflammation and not just mask the pain. My doctor prescribed pain pills but I found it was easier to recover without them. (Personal choice) May every woman who goes through this procedure have good friends near by. Thank you for sharing Rita!

  12. Pillows are your friends! Keep a bed pillow in the car for a few weeks. I put it between my abdomen and the seat belt on the way home from the hospital and to any appointments. I also had one handy at home to hold against my abdomen when I needed to cough, sneeze or laugh. You can give your pillow a fun name! “Where’s Balthazar?” “Would you please hand me Penelope?”

  13. Your recovery, that’s fine. A very valuable story, proves that it is very important to find a high-quality, effective product that will help you recover. I found a valuable tool here and use it regularly to restore my strength

  14. So I just recently just had a hysterectomy on June 28th,2021 and still recovering I know I have a long way to go but I take it day by day I get up every now and then and walk around the house, and go down stairs to check the mail,I have to sleep with multiple pillows because sleeping flat on my back I can’t breathe and trying to turn feels like my insides are shaking, so I sleep with a pillow on my stomach my mom had a hysterectomy in her 40’s and I’m 38 she told me a pillow helps when you have to cough or sneeze, and honestly my pillow has become one of my best friends because it definitely hurts to cough sneeze or laugh. My doctor had prescribed me some meds I took them three time but I was told it will constipate me and it did so I stopped taking them and started taking Tylenol and Laxative’s I finally got my appetite back a little, the type of hysterectomy I got was done with robotics so I have six incisions four on top of my stomach one in the bellybutton and one on my lower left side. I’m open to suggestions on recovery, thank you all for your time.

  15. This is an excellent article. Thank you for taking the time to provide this useful information. Visitors are always attracted to high-quality content.

  16. This is an excellent article. Thank you for taking the time to provide this useful information. Visitors are always attracted to high-quality content.

  17. REALLY, really good stuff here. Thank you for sharing your experience with us and what products helped as you recovered.

      1. I had this surgery on Wednesday,my head is really heavy,I feel like something pressing on top of my head… thanks for this article I have learned alot

  18. Thank you for sharing this information. I am waiting my surgery date and have so many questions. This article and the comments of your readers has helped to answer several of them. I am glad to know some of the physical encounters I may face. I have so much going on at this time of year, I worry about being able to manage watching people help me while I recover. Asking for help is something I am not good at, but from the sounds of the recovery process I am going to be learning to ask.

  19. Very Useful Information. Thank you for sharing this information. I am waiting for surgery and I have many questions. This article really gives a answers all of my doubts.

  20. Very helpful article. I’m 4 weeks out from a robotic/vaginal hysterectomy and recently had some bleeding. Has anyone else had this as I’ve been told it’s perfectly normal and a part of the healing process? It scared me initially as I haven’t seen anyone mention it.

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