I’m going to write this article from the perspective of personal experience.
There are five different types of hysterectomy.
1. Total abdominal hysterectomy
2. Vaginal hysterectomy
3. Laparoscopic-assisted vaginal hysterectomy
4. Laparoscopic supravaginal hysterectomy
5. Total laparoscopic hysterectomy
Depending on which type of hysterectomy you choose or is decided for you will depend on how long you are in hospital, how long before you can return to work, how long before you recommence intercourse, and how long before you can return to your normal activities.
Unless you are having options 4 or 5 above, generally, you are told to take at least 4-6 weeks off work and not to do any lifting – or reaching up for 6-8 weeks. It can feel like a really long time that you don’t have to hang the clothes out!
For the first three options, it would be fair to say there is an anticipated 6 week recovery period before you return to “normal”. The gynecologist will examine you during a follow up visit about 6 weeks after surgery to make sure that everything has healed properly and to ask if there are any worries or concerns about life post-hysterectomy.
It is at this visit that you will most often be given the good news that you can recommence sexual intimacy.
When you have a hysterectomy, the incision may be along the top of the pubic hairline (horizontal) or from the navel into the pubic hairline (vertical). If you have a choice, the horizontal cut is preferable. Both from an aesthetic and a recovery point of view.
I had two horizontal surgeries and one vertical surgery. I found that the recovery time after the horizontal surgeries was quicker. There didn’t appear to be as much internal pulling when I moved and I didn’t experience any numbness around the horizontal scar.
You will be given gentle rehabilitation exercises from the physiotherapist. DO THEM!!! I found that after each of my abdominal surgeries – my core strength was affected adversely. By doing these abdominal exercises in a disciplined way – YES – that means every day, I was able to strengthen my core and not have to stop and cross my legs before I laughed, coughed or sneezed … this is most embarrassing when you are half way across a zebra crossing during peak hour traffic!!!
I found Pilates to be the best form of exercise to rehabilitate after I had fully recovered. Before full recovery, I did gentle yoga exercises that were uncomfortable to begin with – but I persisted and got great results. I strongly urge you to persist if you think of giving up!!
For more detailed information, I found this site gives an excellent overview of the five kinds of hysterectomy.
If you want to reduce the recommended 6-8 weeks recovery time for the more invasion types of hysterectomy to 3-4 weeks – I really recommend you buy the Before After Surgery Toolbox, do the healing meditations and read the book in the Toolbox.