by Frederick R. Jelovsek MD
Recovering post-hysterectomy - Am I doing too much?
People keep warning me over and over not to overdo after my hysterectomy. How would I be able to tell if I was doing too much? Could I do any serious damage and if so what kind of symptoms would I have?
Any sudden increase in intraabdominal pressure can tear stitches and cause a hernia in the incision or surgical site. As you do more activity you run the risk of perhaps accidentally causing a sudden increase.
For example, if you carry even light grocery bags and the bag ripped, you might suddenly try to keep the contents from falling and abdominally strain. It could be vacuuming and knocking a vase off a "trying to save it."
We see all sorts of weird situations come from seemingly ok activities. I had one patient who, about 4 weeks after a bladder suspension, just plain "forgot" and lifted up the edge of the couch to move it for cleaning. She felt a "pop" and at her next exam about half of our suspension was "undone."
With respect to just overdoing it, if you have been at decreased activity for awhile, feel good, and do two straight hours of physical activity, all of a sudden you may sit down and be exhausted. It can make you feel lousy for two or three more days.
A much better plan is frequent small amounts of activity interspersed by frequent small periods of rest. Then steadily but slowly increase the amount of activity and decrease the period of rest but not the frequency of rest until you are feeling very good.
If I have done any damage like you mentioned would I be able to tell before my 6 week checkup? Would I feel different?
Probably not unless it was so much that you disrupted your incisions and they opened up with some drainage. The first 6 weeks it's hard to tell from your point of view other than if you get overly fatigued.