The surgical method used to remove the uterus determines the recovery to expect. A hysterectomy is a surgical operation to remove the uterus, the organ located in the female pelvis. Attached to the uterus on each side is a single fallopian tube and one ovary. During pregnancy, a fertilized egg implants itself in the lining of the uterus where the developing fetus is nourished prior to birth. The uterus, or womb, is crucial for reproduction. After undergoing hysterectomy, a woman will no longer menstruate and she cannot become pregnant.
As with any surgery, recovery varies from person to person. Some women recover more quickly and resume their everyday activities fairly quickly, while others need a bit more time. But in the case of hysterectomy, the surgical method used to remove the uterus will determine the type of recovery to expect.
How Long Do Women Need to Stay in the Hospital After Hysterectomy AND How Long Does It Take to Fully Recover From Hysterectomy?
The length of a postoperative stay depends on the how the surgery was performed. Women who’ve had an abdominal hysterectomy may stay in the hospital for one to two days. Vaginal, laparoscopic-assisted vaginal, or robotic-assisted procedures are usually done on an outpatient basis. In most cases, a woman who has these less invasive procedures will go home the same day, after the procedure.
If you have abdominal surgery, complete recovery can take four weeks. If you have a vaginal hysterectomy or a laparoscopic-assisted vaginal hysterectomy recovery can be as short as two weeks.
Can Women Eat Immediately After Undergoing Hysterectomy?
If you have an abdominal hysterectomy it may take a few days before you can tolerate food and resume eating. The anesthesia, along with the manipulation of your organs that happens during the procedure can cause the bowels to temporarily shut down. By the time you’ve been discharged, you should be passing gas. It might take two to four more days before you have your first post-op bowel movement.
Does Hysterectomy Cause a Lot of Postoperative Pain?
If you undergo an abdominal hysterectomy your postoperative pain is generally greater than the pain after a laparoscopic or vaginal hysterectomy. But this pain generally responds to narcotics that are given during the first 24 hours and perhaps for a bit longer if needed. By the second day, you may find that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin), are enough to alleviate the pain.
Do’s and Don’ts after Vaginal Hysterectomy
- Stay ahead of your pain.
- Rest, rest, and more rest.
- Do not do any housework, such as vacuuming, until you’ve discussed it with your doctor.
- Prevent and treat constipation.
- Baby your incision.
- Eat healthy and delicious food.
- Abstain from sexual intercourse for at least six weeks.
- Don’t wait to call the doctor if you are concerned.