A hysterectomy is the second most common surgery in women in the Untied States, according the Mayo Clinic,. A hysterectomy is an operation to remove the uterus. There are a variety of reasons to have a hysterectomy, ranging from cancer to endometriosis, chronic pain or excessive bleeding. For women who have not reached menopause, a hysterectomy will end the menstrual cycle and prevent pregnancy. There are a number of steps to take to recover after a hysterectomy, depending on the invasiveness of the procedure.
Start walking right away to avoid blood clots. The National Institutes of Health recommends getting up as soon as possible after surgery.
Rest for two to three weeks and avoid heavy lifting. Pharmaceutical maker Women's Health America reports that most women can return to work, resume driving and light chores after a couple weeks. Heavy exercise and sex typically can be resumed after about six weeks.
Eat a nutritious balanced diet and take additional iron supplements, if approved by your doctor, to promote faster healing. Drink eight glasses of water and fluids each day to avoid constipation. If necessary, take a stool softener to make bowel movements easier and avoid tearing any sutures. Avoid dairy products, which can cause constipation.
Prepare for any emotional issues by making an appointment with a counselor or psychologist. It is common for women to undergo anxiety, fear and sexual reluctance after a hysterectomy because they can no longer get pregnant. While this may be a relief for some, be honest with yourself if this may be an issue. Avoiding stress and anxiety is important to healing.
Talk to your doctor about hormone replacement therapy if you are concerned about symptoms of menopause that are common after a hysterectomy. Hormone levels can change dramatically and cause hot flashes, vaginal dryness and osteoporosis.
Use lotions and creams to relieve any itching around the site of the incision if you had an abdominal hysterectomy. A laparoscopic or vaginal procedure does not leave any surface stitches. Cleveland Clinic doctors report that many women feel numbness around the incision that continues down the legs, but it should go away in about two months.
Stock up on sanitary pads; it's common for women to experience bleeding and discharge following a hysterectomy.
Call the doctor if you feel any burning sensation when urinating or if you run a fever over 100 degrees F. Red vaginal bleeding and severe pain also require emergency care.