Surgical procedure which involves removal of the uterus is known as hysterectomy. It is usually performed for treating uterine cancer, uterine fibroids, persistent vaginal bleeding, endometriosis, chronic pelvic pain during menstruation, prolapsed uterus, etc. Sometimes, along with the uterus, one or both the ovaries are removed. Recovery time for hysterectomy varies according to the reason behind the surgery and the way it is performed. It also depends upon the overall health and lifestyle of the woman.
Basically, there are three main types of hysterectomy, namely, complete/total, partial/subtotal/supracervical and radical. Complete hysterectomy refers to the removal of uterus as well as the cervix while partial hysterectomy deals with the removal of uterus only. In radical hysterectomy, the uterus, cervix, upper part of the vagina, and surrounding tissues are removed. The two main methods of hysterectomy are laparoscopic surgery and open surgery. As the names suggest, larger incisions are essential for an open surgery whereas a laparoscopic surgery can be done with smaller incisions. Thus, the recovery time varies according to the type or method of hysterectomy. For example, vaginal hysterectomy recovery is quicker than recovery after an open surgery.
Factors that Influence the Hysterectomy Recovery Period
- Reason for hysterectomy
- Type of hysterectomy
- Method of surgery
- Occurrence of any complications during/after the surgery
- Good/bad habits such as smoking, alcohol consumption, etc.
- Whether the instructions of the doctor are followed sincerely
- Patient's overall health at the time of surgery, whether the patient is weak or anemic, diabetic, or whether the patient is already suffering from any other disease.
|Type of Hysterectomy||Incision Site||Hospital Stay||Recovery Time|
|Total Abdominal||Abdomen (4-6 inch incision)||3-6 Days||6 Weeks|
|Vaginal||Vagina||1-3 Days||4 Weeks|
|Laparoscopic supracervical (LSH)||Tiny incision in abdomen or navel (less than ¼ inch)||1 Day or less||6 Days|
|Laparoscopic-assisted vaginal (LAVH)||Vagina or navel||1-3 Days||4 Weeks|
Factors affecting women's health, like smoking, alcohol abuse, diet, exercise, obesity, diabetes, etc. can affect the recovery time for hysterectomy. The average recovery time for an open surgery is 4-6 weeks and it is 1-4 weeks for a laparoscopic surgery. To speed up the recovery, certain precautions have to be taken after hysterectomy.
Precautions After Hysterectomy
- Too much of walking at a single time or on an uneven surface should be avoided.
- Perhaps your doctor might instruct you to get up from the bed and walk for five minutes at an interval of two hours on a flat surface.
- Avoid strenuous physical activities, like lifting heavy things, doing certain household work, etc.
- In case of excessive bleeding or pus in the wound, you should consult your doctor immediately.
- Take ample amounts of rest but also perform some light exercises, under the guidance of your doctor.
- The doctor may suggest 'hormone replacement therapy' after hysterectomy and may prescribe proper medication.
- It is necessary to avoid sex for at least four to six weeks after the surgery, in order to avoid infection or displacement of organs.
- For initial 2-3 days, only fluid intake is allowed. Thereafter, you are expected to maintain a healthy and balanced diet. A fiber rich diet helps avoid constipation, which may otherwise worsen the situation.
- Due to change in the levels of hormones after hysterectomy, increased mental irritability may be experienced. Meditation, staying around friends and family can help avoid mood swings, depression, etc., and can help you cope with the stress better.