Tips for recovery after hysterectomy
Incisions need to heal at least 48 hours before exposing them to water which can carry bacteria in
- avoid shower or bath until 48 hours after surgery (longer if the doctor suspects any pelvic infection or hematoma)
- if skin staples are used, they perforate the skin and leave red marks if water carries in bacteria (avoid getting incision wet until 48 hours after staples are removed)
- avoid baths or pools until 48 hours after any vaginal bleeding or discolored drainage ceases
Hernia formation or disruption of the incision has its groundwork laid in the first two weeks after surgery.
Risk factors include increased blood loss at the time of surgery and wound infection
- In the absence of wound infections or risk factors, normal activity may be resumed in two weeks except for those which significantly increase intraabdominal pressure such as impact exercises or recreation.
- Avoid lifting more than 10 lbs with intraabdominal straining for 6 weeks
- Avoid lifting buckets, grocery bags or pushing vacuums in the first two weeks; after that it depends upon how you feel
Worsening of pain, especially incisional, is a sign that activity has been enough and rest should take place until the pain decreases
- After the first 48, hours daily activities should be resumed in short bursts unless there is excessive pain. It is better to rest 40 minutes out of every hour in the first two weeks than to rest several hours in the AM and several in the PM.
- Driving may begin when enough soreness has gone from the incision so that you can turn your head and upper body 90 degrees without "guarding" the abdomen and when you can rapidly slam on the breaks if you had to. With a vaginal hysterectomy, driving may begin in one week
- Going up and down stairs is permissible as long as it is done slowly enough so it does not produce excessive pain. Keeping the up/down trips to 1-2 -per day in the first several days at home might be advisable
- Intravaginal intercourse may significantly increase intraabdominal pressure and should be avoided for at least 4 - 6 weeks in the absence of postoperative pelvic infection
Returning to full preoperative activity still needs easing into even at 6 weeks because anyone placed on restricted activity even without having surgery gets easily fatigued.