While you were in the hospital, you had surgery to remove your uterus. This is called a hysterectomy. The surgeon made 3 to 5 small cuts in your belly. A laparoscope (a thin tube with a small camera on it) and other small surgical tools were inserted through those incisions.
Part or all of your uterus was removed. Your fallopian tubes or ovaries may have also been taken out.
You probably spent 1 day in the hospital.
What to Expect at Home
Full recovery most often takes 2 to 6 weeks. You may get tired easily during this time. You may not feel like eating much.
If you had good sexual function before the surgery, you should continue to have good sexual function after you have completely healed. If you had problems with severe bleeding before your hysterectomy, sexual function often improves after surgery. If you have a decrease in your sexual function after your hysterectomy, talk with your health care provider about possible causes and treatments.
Start walking after surgery. Begin your everyday activities as soon as you feel up to it. DO NOT jog, do sit-ups, or play sports until you have checked with your provider.
Move around the house, shower, and use the stairs at home during the first week. If it hurts when you do something, stop doing that activity.
Ask your provider about driving. You may be able to drive after 2 or 3 days if you are not taking narcotic pain drugs.
You may lift 10 pounds (about the weight of a gallon of milk) or less. DO NOT do any heavy lifting or straining for the first 3 weeks. You may be able to go back to a desk job within a couple of weeks. But, you may still get tired more easily at this time.
DO NOT put anything into your vagina for the first 8 to 12 weeks. This includes douching and tampons.
DO NOT have sexual intercourse for at least 12 weeks, and only after your provider says it is ok. Resuming intercourse sooner than that could lead to complications.
If sutures (stitches), staples, or glue were used to close your skin, you may remove your wound dressings (bandages) and take a shower the day after surgery.
If tape strips were used to close your skin, cover the wounds with plastic wrap before showering for the first week. DO NOT try to wash the tape strips off. They should fall off on their own in about a week. If they are still in place after 10 days, remove them unless your doctor tells you not to.
DO NOT go swimming or soak in a bathtub or hot tub until your provider tells you it is ok.
Try eating smaller meals than normal. Eat healthy snacks in between meals. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and drink at least 8 cups of water a day to keep from getting constipated.
When to Call the Doctor
Call your health care provider if:
You have a fever above 100.5°F (38°C).
Your surgical wound is bleeding, is red and warm to touch, or has thick, yellow, or green drainage.
Your pain medicine is not helping your pain.
It is hard to breathe.
You have a cough that does not go away.
You cannot drink or eat.
You have nausea or vomiting.
You are unable to pass any gas or have a bowel movement.
You have pain or burning when you urinate, or you are unable to urinate.
You have a discharge from your vagina that has a bad odor.
You have bleeding from your vagina that is heavier than light spotting.
You have a heavy, watery discharge from the vagina.
You have swelling or redness in one of your legs.
American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Frequently asked questions, FAQ008, special procedures: Hysterectomy. March 2015. Available at: www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Hysterectomy. Accessed April 10, 2015.
Jones, HW. Gynecologic surgery. In: Townsend CM Jr, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, et al. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 71.
Lentz GM. Endoscopy: Hysteroscopy and laparoscopy: Indications, contraindications and complications. In: Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, et al. Comprehensive Gynecology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2012:chap 10.
Cynthia D. White, MD, Fellow American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Group Health Cooperative, Bellevue, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.