If you have uterine fibroids, your doctor may recommend surgical removal, called a myomectomy. Part of your overall recovery will be rebuilding your strength through exercise. While you may be hospitalized for a short time after surgery, the real recovery begins at home. When you incorporate small amounts of exercise into your recovery program, you will be on your feet and feeling like your old self in no time.
Fibroids are a type of benign growth that can grow on the muscular wall of your uterus. They are often referred to as uterine fibroids. There are three main classifications: subserosal, intramural and submucosal. Subserosal fibroids protrude outward from the uterus. Because of this, they may cause pressure or pain on your lower back. They are invasive and may twist and grow in such a way that they can cause severe pelvic pain. Submucosal fibroids protrude inward and don’t usually cause too much pain but can cause long periods that include heavy bleeding. Intramural fibroids are the most common and are located on the wall of the uterus. They also cause excessive pressure in the pelvic area as well as pain and heavy bleeding. After surgery, you may experience light to moderate bleeding for two to six weeks, which can make exercise uncomfortable. Stick to light exercise routines such as walking or gardening.
Generally, surgery to remove fibroids involves making an incision in the lower abdomen. In some cases the removal is performed via laparoscopy. The surgery will typically last up to two hours and you should expect a hospital stay of up to three days as long as there are no complications. Other less-common removal procedures include a hysterectomy or a uterine artery ebolization to block the blood supply to the fibroid. The recovery from fibroid removal is based on your doctor’s recommendations, although a good estimate is between four and six weeks. This means you should not do any intense cardiovascular exercise or strength training until you have the approval of your doctor.
Immediately after surgery, your doctor may recommend simple leg movements and stretches to help prevent blood clots from forming and to improve circulation. You will also be encouraged to walk as much as you can tolerate. After four to six weeks, you will likely be able to resume an exercise routine, but you should start off slowly. Your lower abdomen and belly area may still be very tender to the touch and you may have dull pain on exertion. Do not overdo your exercises and try to slowly build your abdominal muscles up by power walking or jogging on your treadmill.
Watch for any type of pain or inflammation in your abdomen and lower extremities -- this could be a sign of a blood clot or internal injury. Keep an eye on your incision area. Any type of drainage or redness should be reported to your doctor. Immediately following fibroid removal, avoid heavy lifting and excessive exercise.