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Embracing Life Before and After a Hysterectomy

The decision to undergo a hysterectomy is often not an easy one. It may leave you with more questions than answers. The reason for a hysterectomy does not always have to be a defining factor, as it is still a major surgery. Like any other surgery, your surgeon’s approach and your general health will determine how long your recovery period will be. This may vary, ranging from several weeks for some patients to several months for others. Make sure to familiarise yourself with what to anticipate, ensuring you are mentally prepared for the journey ahead. You can start here, where we go deeper into hysterectomy in this blog!

Here are my 12 top tips regarding a hysterectomy.

1. GETTING ON TOP OF YOUR PAIN MANAGEMENT

Getting on top of your pain relief in the initial postoperative days empowers you to feel in control. If you find your pain exceeds expectations or if you’re struggling to wean off pain relief, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your medical team for guidance.

2. SUPPORT YOUR WOUNDS

Sometimes scars get sticky, leaving you feeling like you are restricted in your day-to-day movements. Massaging the scar may be appropriate from four to six weeks postoperatively and must be under the guidance of your medical team or a women’s health physiotherapist.

4. PACE YOUR MOVEMENTS

While it may seem awkward, pacing your movements specifically getting in and out of bed as preparation allows you to feel more in control during a time when you feel vulnerable.

5. LEARNING EFFECTIVE BOWEL MOVEMENTS

It’s important to poo properly! Straining and bearing down can impact internal and external healing and may set you back in your recovery. Also, when you need to poo, answer the call. The rectum is not designed to store poo, period. If you haven’t pooped within 3 days, ask your doctor or pharmacist for something to help you along.

6. PRACTICING MINDFUL BREATHING BEFORE YOU GO

During moments when you may feel overwhelmed, taking deep breaths and exhaling as you exert yourself can reduce pressure on your healing tissues. Being mindful of your breathing when doing other movements such as getting out of bed or a chair, can alleviate anxiety associated with everyday tasks.

7. MOVING WITHIN REASON

Keep moving within reason. Short walks throughout the day contribute to your recovery. Try to add 5 minutes per week to gradually build your activity levels.

8. DOING PELVIC FLOOR EXERCISES

When feasible, engage in gentle pelvic floor squeezes to reconnect the brain-pelvic floor link and enhance blood flow for tissue healing. Progress at a manageable pace, guided by your women’s health physiotherapist. Your future self will thank you!

During your post-procedure recovery,

9. EXPECT CHANGES IN SEXUAL INTIMACY

Your sexual experience may change, particularly if your ovaries have been removed or if you’re undergoing hormone suppression therapy for cancer treatment. Potential impacts include altered arousal, diminished desire, vaginal dryness, reduced lubrication, and discomfort during penetration—ranging from burning or stinging sensations to a sense of rawness. Changes in vaginal dimensions may also occur, from feeling more capacious to potential difficulties accommodating a penis or dildo. It’s crucial to understand that you don’t have to endure these changes alone.

10. INVEST IN HIGH-QUALITY LUBRICATION

If you’re experiencing vaginal dryness, consider using a high-quality silicone or oil-based lubricant to enhance comfort during intimate moments. Always consult with your medical team or physiotherapist to ensure the choice aligns with your specific needs.

11. BE PATIENT!

Recovery will always take time. Be patient with yourself and the process.

12. CONSULT WITH YOUR WOMEN’S HEALTH PHYSIOTHERAPIST

This is a great idea to prepare yourself throughout your procedural journey.

At Embrace Physiotherapy, we help women who are planning for a hysterectomy or other gynaecological surgeries or are recovering from one, through physiotherapy. Please call or WhatsApp us at 9780 7274, or email us at help@embracephysio.sg.

Feel free to look through our website, where you can learn about other women’s health conditions we treat. This is a safe space where we can discuss how we can help you with physiotherapy.

Note: While I am a physiotherapist, I am not your personal physiotherapist. The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and are not intended to serve as personal medical advice.

References:

  1. https://www.embracephysio.sg/what-is-a-hysterectomy/
  2. https://www.pelvicexercises.com.au/pelvic-floor-exercises-after-hysterectomy/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4720466/
  4. https://www.dana-farber.org/health-library/recovering-from-your-hysterectomy
  5. https://www.pelvicexercises.com.au/walking-after-a-hysterectomy/

 

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Preet and her team are very dedicated in helping women like me re educate myself on my pelvic floor and lower back issues. They made the effort to understand me as a whole person before prescribing anything and I think that makes the winning difference. I would recommend Embrace Physio to anyone who needs professional help for women’s health.

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April 23, 2022

I started seeing Preet about 6 weeks ago to try and resolve a niggling back pain. Preet was patient and thorough in her review of what was causing the problem. I found Preet approachable, trustworthy and professional in her approach. She showed me a handful of exercises to do which reduced the pain and made me feel so much better. Her genuine passion for what she does alongside her practical approach makes the service at Embrace unbeatable. Thank you!

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April 1, 2020

Highly recommend Embrace for women's PT. I saw Preet after the birth of my son and she took very good care of me, helping me to build my strength back. All the staff are lovely, I had a great experience.

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July 13, 2022

Embrace life. Embrace Physiotherapy.

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