zig
0

Notifications

  • You're all caught up!

How to Flatten Stomach Muscles After a Hysterectomy

by
author image Martin Booe
Martin Booe writes about health, wellness and the blues. His byline has appeared in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and Bon Appetit. He lives in Los Angeles.
How to Flatten Stomach Muscles After a Hysterectomy
How to Flatten Stomach Muscles After a Hysterectomy Photo Credit monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

Hysterectomy is an operation to remove a woman’s uterus, the muscular organ where the fetus resides during pregnancy. It may be performed laparoscopically, vaginally or abdominally. In any event, the surgeon will probably have to cut through the stomach muscles and fibrous bands in the abdominal wall.

Unfortunately, this can cause weakness in the abdominal wall, resulting in a loss of muscle tone that causes the stomach to pooch out. However, once your doctor gives you the green light to start working out again, it’s possible to get that abdominal tone back with exercise. It’s not just a matter of looks, either. Toning your stomach muscles after hysterectomy also lowers your risk of hernia.

It's important not to stress your stomach muscle too soon after surgery. The Ohio State University Medical Center recommends these exercises to restore abdominal strength and improve posture.

Chin Tuck

In a seated position, drop your arms to your sides. Face straight forward and tuck your chin back into your neck as if you’re trying to make a double chin. Hold the position for 5 to 10 seconds. Let go and repeat.

The following exercises are done lying prone. Begin the exercises with your knees extended up and your feet flat on the floor or bed.

Pelvic Tilt

Rest hands on your stomach or rest one hand on your stomach and slide the other under your lower back. Gently tighten stomach and buttock muscles, contracting your lower back so that you feel your pelvis tilt backwards. Hold for 5 seconds. Relax and repeat.

Head Sit-Up

Cross your arms over your stomach. Using your hands, gently squeeze stomach muscles together for supper. Inhale deeply. As you breathe out, raise your head and try to touch your chin to your chest. Hold for 3-5 seconds and then gradually lower your head to floor. Relax and repeat.

Pelvic Floor or Kegel Exercise

Inhale deeply and squeeze the muscles around your vagina as if you’re stopping urine flow. Hold for 5 seconds. Relax and repeat. Do this exercise 4 or 5 times a day for optimal results.

Read More: Hysterectomy Surgery and Exercise

Easy Does It

Leg lifts tone the lower abdomen after hysterectomy.
Leg lifts tone the lower abdomen after hysterectomy. Photo Credit DenizA/iStock/Getty Images

Depending on how the surgery was done, it may take 2 to 6 weeks of recovery before you're ready for more strenuous exercise. When your doctor approves you for it, "toning your abs after a hysterectomy is the same as toning them under normal circumstances, except that you’re working around scar tissue,” says personal trainer and yoga instructor David Knox, author of Body School: A New Guide to Improved Movement in Daily Life. “The important thing is not to get over-anxious,” Knox says.

That means sit-ups, crunches and especially leg-lefts to tighten up the lower belly, says Knox. “You can get tone back, and also regain sensitivity in the places where you might be experiencing some neural numbness from the incision.”

Knox recommends emphasizing form and checking posture when exercising. “Is your spine long? Is the area being supported? Is it properly aligned? Think carefully about each part of the movement and assess to make sure it’s okay. As you continue to train, you’ll have more insight.”

It's also important not to get too obsessed with your abs to the exclusion of the rest of your core. Strengthening the muscles that stabilize the spin, pelvis, rib cage and hips is essential for your overall form, including ab support. It will also help provide definition for superficial core muscles. Planks, cat-cow and supine pelvic tilts all assist in strengthening the core.

Diet and Weight Loss

Of course, part of acquiring a flat stomach is getting rid of excess belly fat. Exercise will only take you so far. There are seemingly as many diets as there are people who want lose weight. Choose a diet that suits your preferences and lifestyle, preferably with the help of a qualified nutritionist. However, there is evidence that lowering carbohydrates does help reduce belly fat. In a study in the January, 2015 Journal of Nutrition, people who moderately lowered their carbs saw significant reductions in belly fat.

Read More: How to Use Kegel Balls

LiveStrong Calorie Tracker
Lose Weight. Feel Great Change your life with MyPlate by LIVESTRONG.COM
GOAL
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
GENDER
  • Female
  • Male
lbs.
ft. in.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

CURRENTLY TRENDING

Demand Media