Exercising After Hysterectomy
Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus. It is the second most common
type of major surgery performed on women of childbearing age.
Hysterectomy may be done to treat many conditions that affect the uterus, like:
Pelvic support problems (such as
Abnormal uterine bleeding
Chronic pelvic pain
Hysterectomy can have both physical and emotional effects. Some last a
short time. Others may last a long time. You should be aware of these effects
before having the surgery. The removal of the uterus obviously bring drastic
changes in the female body. The level of female hormones, such as estrogen and
progesterone decreases substantially. In case of total hysterectomy, i.e.
removal of uterus along with ovaries, the body is immediately pushed into
menopause. Even for women
who retain their ovaries, menopausal symptoms become evident prematurely. This
leads to several concerns about the
appearance of a woman. Post hysterectomy
hair loss and
weight gain after
hysterectomy are the two major issues of concern for women. Unfortunately, it is
true that the hormonal imbalance after surgery induces certain side effects of
In this article we focus on how exercise can help in recovering after a
Following are the benefits of an exercise after hysterectomy:
Exercise can strengthen your immune system- Moderate,
regular exercise helps the
immune system by
moderating the effects of
stress. Lowered stress has a beneficial effect on your health. High,
constant stress is detrimental to your health. A women especially after the
surgery can be under tremendous anxiety and stress. According to professor
David Nieman, Dr. PH., of Appalachian State University, when moderate
exercise is repeated on a near-daily basis there is a cumulative effect that
leads to a long-term immune response.
Reduction in pain caused by the hysterectomy-
running on the treadmill,
swimming, playing tennis, using a stair climber, taking
yoga classes, and stretching
are the most beneficial exercise post hysterectomy to alleviate the pain you
feel with fibroids and endometriosis. Exercise stimulates the release of
pain-relieving endorphins, and it also helps fight mild
depression. For pain
control, exercise is your best option because it will reduce muscle tension
all over the body, increases blood circulation and increases the amount of
oxygen into the area which will help reduce pain. Before you start any
exercise program, make sure you discuss it with your doctor.
Assistance in Weight loss- Light daily exercise after
hysterectomy will make your muscles burn calories, will provide oxygen to
the brain and your nervous system and will reduce
body fat. The muscles
become more developed and stronger, and you will become firmer and healthier
with exercise post hysterectomy.
Exercise can make you feel more upbeat. It keeps you from going into
mood swings- It's unfortunately common for a premenopausal woman who has
had her ovaries removed during her hysterectomy to experience mild to
moderate mood swings after hysterectomy. Some women experience depression
and mood swings after their hysterectomies that are not related to any
hormonal changes, but to the psychological impact of the surgery itself.
This is especially common in women who have hysterectomies at a young age or
before they felt they were finished having children. Let your doctor know if
you suspect you are experiencing any emotional symptoms from your
hysterectomy that are not related to changing hormone levels. Your doctor
may recommend counseling, medication, or both to help combat the symptoms.
Exercise for hysterectomy will reduce your mood swings and help you feel
good, feel younger and happier!
It helps keep your blood pressure in check, reducing the risk of
heart attacks- Regular
physical activity makes your heart stronger. A stronger
heart can pump more blood with less effort. If your heart can work less
to pump, the force on your arteries decreases, lowering your
blood pressure. Becoming
more active can lower your systolic blood pressure — the top number in a
blood pressure reading — by an average of 5 to 10 millimeters of mercury (mm
Exercise can help you sleep better- Having difficulty falling
asleep, or staying asleep, is common among hysterectomy patients,
particularly during the early post-op weeks. The trauma of surgery combined
with hormonal disruption (even if you retained your ovaries) can throw your
body completely “out of whack.” Even if you have never been plagued by sleep
problems before, after you return home from the hospital you may find
yourself lying in bed wide awake for most of the night. For most women, this
problem gradually goes away as they continue to heal and recover from the
surgery. Exercise can help you build a better
sleep pattern by calming
down the stress.
Reduced muscle tension- Prof. Dafna Benayahu and her team at
TAU’s Sackler Medical Faculty found that exercise increases the amount of
muscle stem cells, which ordinarily decline as people age. This prevents
proper protection of the muscle mass and disrupts its ability to repair
itself. According to them "Exercise increases the number of muscle stem
cells. When comparing the number of such cells in rats that ran on a
treadmill for 20 minutes a day over 13 weeks, they found a 20% to 35%
increase in the number of cells for each muscle fiber in young rats, and an
increase of 33% to 47% in older rats."
Avoid Sit Ups After Hysterectomy!
It is important that you
avoid sit ups after hysterectomy and
machines, particularly in the first 3 months after a hysterectomy. Sit
ups increase downward pressure on your pelvic floor and your
hysterectomy site. These exercises can increase your risk of pelvic
floor problems such as
prolapse and incontinence if your
pelvic floor is weak. Some exercise equipment in women’s circuits,
gyms and even some Pilates exercises can also increase pressure on your
pelvic floor and your hysterectomy site.
NOTE: You may have to wait for two weeks after the surgery before you start any
exercise. You should also avoid exercises that would involve any
or heavy lifting. In addition, you should exercise after hysterectomy only if it
is comfortable. You should discontinue the exercise if you experience any
discomfort or pain.
Tips and Warnings
Take precautions during exercise to protect your incision. Avoid
any vigorous or strenuous exercise that might weaken your stitches or reopen
your incision. Perform your doctor-approved exercises every day, repeat each
exercise 10 times and breathe during the exercises. Holding your breath during
exercise can force your heart to work harder and raise your blood pressure.
As you wait for the inner cue, do not sag into your shoulders . Instead,
create a line of energy through each arm by pressing downward into your
hands and lifting upward out of your shoulders. Go back and forth like this
several times to make sure you understand the movement. As you exhale, sag
into your shoulders and do the incorrect action; as you inhale, lengthen the
arms, lift out of the shoulders and do the correct action.
Dated 10 August 2013