The recovery time after hysterectomy necessary to resume all normal activities depends on whether you have a vaginal or an abdominal hysterectomy. In a vaginal hysterectomy, the surgeon enters the pelvic region through the vagina, rather than using an abdominal incision to access the area.
Immediately After Surgery
After your hysterectomy you will be stationed in a post-surgery recovery room for several hours. During this time your vital signs will be monitored, you will be checked for signs of pain, and the doctor will administer medication to prevent infection. After this, you will remain in the hospital for one to three days. The amount of time you stay in the hospital depends on your post-surgical progress and the underlying condition that necessitated your hysterectomy. You can expect to be walking as soon as the day after your surgery.
The Longer Term
You can expect to experience pain and vaginal discharge and bleeding for several days after your surgery. Your doctor can prescribe medication for the pain, and you can use sanitary pads, but not tampons, to treat the bleeding. Heavy bleeding is not normal. Inform your doctor if you experience bleeding as heavy or heavier than you experienced when you were having a period. If you have a vaginal hysterectomy, you can expect your pain and bleeding to stop after a week and to feel completely normal after two weeks. Even though you may feel completely healed, doctors advise that you avoid sexual intercourse and heavy lifting for six weeks after your surgery. Abdominal hysterectomies require slightly more recovery time, due to the invasive nature of the surgery. Most women feel completely normal six to eight weeks after an abdominal hysterectomy. Again, sexual intercourse and heavy lifting should be avoided for at least six weeks.
Because of the shorter recovery time and reduced risk of infection associated with vaginal hysterectomies, surgeons always prefer to use this method if possible. However, depending on the underlying condition necessitating your surgery, a vaginal hysterectomy may not be possible. It is also possible that during a surgery that began as a vaginal hysterectomy the surgeon may encounter something he didn’t anticipate that necessitates an abdominal incision.
Abdominal hysterectomy – MayoClinic.com.” Mayo Clinic medical information and tools for healthy living – MayoClinic.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Aug. 2010. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hysterectomy/MY00163.
“Hysterectomy << Frequently Asked Questions << womenshealth.gov.” womenshealth.gov | 800-994-9662. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Aug. 2010. http://womenshealth.gov/faq/hysterectomy.cfm.