Taking care of yourself at home after a hysterectomy
Your recovery time will depend on your age, general health and the type of surgery that you had. Most women feel better within 1–2 weeks and should be able to fully return to usual activities after 4–8 weeks. In general, women do not need specific help to recover, but if you think you may need home nursing care, ask hospital staff about services in your area.
|Rest||When you get home from hospital, you will need to take things easy for the first week. Ask family or friends to help you with chores so you can rest.|
|Lifting||Avoid heavy lifting (more than 3–4 kg) for 2−3 months, depending on the advice of your surgeon. This will depend on the method of the surgery.|
|Work||Depending on the nature of your job, you will probably need 4–6 weeks leave from work.|
|Driving||You will need to avoid driving for about a month after the surgery. Check with your car insurer for any exclusions regarding major surgery and driving.|
|Bowel problems||It is important to avoid straining when passing bowel motions. Continue to manage constipation as advised by your treatment team.|
|Nutrition||Focus on eating a balanced diet (including proteins such as lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, milk, yoghurt, nuts, seeds and legumes/ beans) to help your body recover from surgery.|
|Sex||Sexual intercourse should be avoided for up to 8 weeks after surgery. Ask your doctor when you can resume sexual intercourse, and explore other ways you and your partner can be intimate, such as massage.|
|Exercise||Your health care team will probably encourage you to walk the day after the surgery. Exercise has been shown to help people manage some side effects of treatment, speed up a return to usual activities, and improve overall quality of life. Start with a short walk and then go a little further each day. Speak to your doctor if you would like to try more vigorous exercise.|
|Bathing||Take showers instead of baths for 4–6 weeks after surgery.|
A/Prof Alison Brand, Director, Gynaecological Oncology, Westmead Hospital, NSW; Kate Barber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Victoria; Prof Jonathan Carter, Director, Gynaecological Oncology, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, NSW; Dr Robyn Cheuk, Senior Radiation Oncologist, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, QLD; Dr Alison Davis, Medical Oncologist, Canberra Region Cancer Centre, The Canberra Hospital, ACT; Kim Hobbs, Clinical Specialist Social Worker, Westmead Hospital, NSW; Nicole Kinnane, Nurse Coordinator, Gynaecology Oncology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Jennifer Loveridge, Consumer; Pauline Tanner, Gynaecology Cancer Nurse Coordinator, WA Cancer & Palliative Care Network, North Metropolitan Health Service, WA. We also thank the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title.
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