A hysterectomy -- the removal of your uterus -- limits your ability to exercise until your body heals. The method used to remove it plays a role in how soon you can return to a regular exercise routine. You need to wait until your incisions heal before you enter a swimming pool and until your insides heal before performing any type of swimming stroke. Consult your doctor before you enter a pool.
After a hysterectomy, your hospital stay may last anywhere from a couple hours to three days. It takes between four and six weeks for your body to recover from a hysterectomy if the procedure requires the doctor to cut open your abdomen. Your recover may last three to four weeks if you have a vaginal or laparoscopic hysterectomy. Throughout this recovery period, you should abstain from taking tub baths, entering a pool, douching, using tampons, having sexual intercourse and lifting heavy objects.
Relaxing In The Pool
Laparoscopic and vaginal hysterectomies allow you to enter the pool sooner than an abdominal hysterectomy. If your recovery goes well, you may have permission to enter a swimming pool for a relaxing dip after three to four weeks. However, you have to wait a minimum of four weeks after an abdominal hysterectomy. Wear a swimsuit or swimsuit cover to protect your incisions from sun damage. Avoid performing any type of swim stroke until you have permission to start exercising at a moderate level. A relaxing dip consists of standing, sitting or walking slowly in a pool.
Swimming stokes and water aerobics fall into the category of moderate to intense exercise. Doctors often require you to wait six to eight weeks after a hysterectomy to start this type of exercise, even with a laparoscopic or vaginal hysterectomy. This recovery time ensures that the muscles and organs have healed completely after your surgery. If you exercise before your body heals completely, you risk injury and severe adhesions. Severe adhesions, or bands of tissue that form between the tissues and organs in the abdomen, can cause abdominal pain, pelvic pain or intestinal obstructions. After getting permission from your physician, start your swimming workout slowly. Only increase your intensity or duration as your physical fitness improves. If you experience any pain, discomfort or bleeding while swimming, stop and contact your physician.
Complications such as an infection, blood clots, heavy bleeding or internal injuries may prolong your recovery period, making it dangerous to enter a pool even after two to three months of recovery. Avoid a prolonged recovery by scheduling and keeping regular follow-up visits with your physician.
- Dr. Abaz Sosic; Bradford Regional Medical Center; Bradford, Pennsylvania
- WomensHealth.gov: Hysterectomy Frequently Asked Questions
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse; Abdominal Adhesions; January 2009