A hysterectomy addresses one of several possible health issues in women, including fibroids, cancer, and prolapse, but it has its own consequences as well. Like many major surgeries, a hysterectomy hampers freedom and requires consistent care for a seamless recovery. While it’s ideal to have someone nearby to help, you may not always have that privilege. Read our pointers on how to care for yourself after a hysterectomy for some help.
Rest Up and Ask for Help with Tasks
Your most important task is actually the absence of one. The day of your operation, focus on rest and relaxation. In your first week post-op, don’t push yourself too hard and take breaks at the first sign of stress or discomfort. Your body will thank you later.
Though you may be alone, there are some things you simply cannot do yourself. When you must lift something, recruit a neighbor to do it for you. Under no circumstances should you overstrain your body just because you’re solo.
Walk the First Day, Then Keep Going
Though rest is key, many doctors recommend walking a bit during your first day home. This kind of exercise doesn’t agitate your body too much but promotes your eventual healing. Plus, walking increases your mood and gives you a good excuse to get out of the house. As you start to feel better, ramp up your walking distance to continue experiencing these benefits.
Know Your Limits and Follow Doctor’s Orders
Meanwhile, adhere to the limits and instructions your doctor provides. Take at least a month off work. During that time, don’t drive and swear off moderate-to-heavy lifting for at least two months. As a general rule regarding sexual activity, you should also avoid intercourse for roughly two months after the operation. When you first return to these activities, take it slow, and be aware of your body’s condition. You’re a unique person with your own limitations and timeline, so be sure to listen to your body’s needs.
Process the Operation and Grieve Your Body’s Changes
Another, less physical way to care for yourself after a hysterectomy is mentally processing what you went through. You likely had a hysterectomy due to health problems, meaning this is a turbulent time in general. On top of that, a hysterectomy could lead to incontinence symptoms you didn’t expect. As you figure out how to deal with incontinence after your surgery, grieve the broad changes in your body as well.
Chief among these changes, operating on, or fully removing the uterus prevents future childbearing. Understandably, this is a hard reality for many people. Take time to constructively think through what life looks like now. Doing this emotional digging helps you acknowledge your legitimate feelings and process your sorrow without letting it build up inside you.