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.:) So far, I’ve opened:
- A cute Easter themed dish towel
- 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
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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