Hysterectomy Recovery: What Can You Expect?

Around one in five women will have a hysterectomy so it helps to know what to expect afterwards.


A hysterectomy is a surgical menopause and you will have a brief recovery time in the hospital but how long it is before you can get back to all your regular activities will vary depending on the procedure you had.

Abdominal hysterectomy

Most women go home 2-3 days after this surgery, but complete recovery takes from six to eight weeks. During this time, you need to rest at home.

You shouldn’t do any tasks until you talk with your doctor about restrictions. Don’t do any lifting for the first two weeks. Walking is encouraged, but no heavy lifting.

After 6 weeks, you can get back to your regular activities, including having sex.

Vaginal or laparoscopic assisted vaginal hysterectomy

A vaginal hysterectomy is less surgically invasive than an abdominal procedure, and recovery can be as short as two weeks.

Most women come home the same day or the next. Walking is encouraged, but not heavy lifting. You will need to abstain from sex for at least 6 weeks.

Laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy

This procedure is the least invasive and can have a recovery period as short as six days to two weeks. Walking is encouraged, but not heavy lifting.

Robotic hysterectomy

The surgeon’s movements are mimicked by robotic arms that make small incisions to remove the uterus.

Most women come home the next day. If the cervix is removed, you will have the same restrictions as you would have for a laparoscopy.

What to look out for

Call your doctor if you have any of these symptoms with any type of hysterectomy:

  • Fever or chills
  • Heavy bleeding or unusual vaginal discharge
  • Severe pain
  • Redness or discharge from incisions
  • Problems urinating or having a bowel movement
  • Shortness of breath or chest pain



Treating side effects of a hysterectomy

If your ovaries were removed with the uterus, your doctor will usually suggest HRT but your age and medical history are factors to consider when deciding on HRT and there are other options available such as bioidentical hormones.

I do hear regularly from women who have been offered other options after hysterectomy, such as antidepressants or blood pressure medication, but all options need to be considered in relation to your own personal circumstances.

Some women experience pain during intercourse after a hysterectomy so lubricants can be helpful as can vaginal oestrogen as a pessary or bioidentical oestrogen cream.

Pelvic weakness sometimes develops after a hysterectomy, particularly if you had some pelvic weakness before surgery, and this can result in bladder or bowel problems.

Kegel exercises can help strengthen pelvic muscles to help control urinary incontinence problems and there are many instructional videos on the Internet or Youtube.


For most, life without a uterus means relief from the symptoms that caused them to have a hysterectomy — bleeding, pelvic pain, and abdominal bloating.

With relief from those symptoms, you may have better sex – with greater libido, frequency, and enjoyment.

Yet if the ovaries were removed, there are a few more challenges ahead. If you had not gone through menopause before your hysterectomy, you probably will begin having symptoms of menopause such as hot flushes and mood swings.

Helpful information: 

It is vitally important that you follow the recommended recovery guidelines in terms of how quickly you can get back to normal. These are intended to help you and so trying to do too much, lifting things that you should not or heavy housework, will not speed your recovery but put it back. Take advantage of all the help you are offered and make taking care of yourself a high priority

Your body is adjusting to changes in hormone levels and so ensuring you have good levels of both progesterone and oestrogen will be needed as symptoms can start to occur.

Also, you may feel a sense of loss and may grieve over the loss of your uterus and your ability to have children. If you had surgery because of illness or cancer, you may feel depressed. These feelings are normal so talk about them to a friend, your doctor and/or a counsellor and always ask for help if you need it.

One factor that can definitely help is having a healthy diet, and this article gives you information on one that is specifically designed to help with anxiety and depression.