Deep abdominal exercises to help recover after hysterectomy

There is a lot of confusion about how you can best recover after a hysterectomy. Sometimes it’s easier to be shown what you can do rather than have a written list. The following video from Michelle Kenway demonstrates how to do the Kegel exercises correctly.


  1. Its 5months since I had my hysterectomy, have now returned to doing abs exercises, but have noticed spotting – can anyone advise?

  2. Hi Vivian,

    I am recovering from major surgery from stage 111C Ovarian cancer.I have very similar probelms to you plus have an iliostomy bag now. I understand your frustration. I started to do modified abdominal exercises which do not put pressure on your pelvic floor. If you want to talk sometime Id love to see if you want to be in a research project that I am doing with core work post abdomional surgery.

  3. Since a hysterectomy last November and surgery to correct a bladder prolapse, I have gained a lot of weight (despite resuming the 5:2 Fast Diet in January), I have a much larger stomach and I am suffering mild urinary incontinence. I am also suffering pain during intercourse, so I’m afraid the surgery has left me half the woman I was. I have had tests which show there is nothing physical causing the pain, and my bladder weakness is a result of my urethra being straightened.

    What can I do about the vaginal pain? I miss physical love so much. And the bladder weakness is not improving despite tablets and religious practice of the Kegel exercises. And are there any exercises I can do to strengthen my lower abdomen? Sit-ups of course are forbidden after a prolapse, but those are the muscles that seem to have died.

  4. I had a full abdominal hysterectomy five weeks ago, stayed in hospital for one night and came home, i live alone so i preplanned. Everyone is different but i found first two days a bit sore but everyday after better and better, id lost 8lb in the first week and now ive lost 12lb. Im worried that im left with a scar and a wobbly bit of belly but all in all its gone well.

  5. Hi I just had hysterectomy 7 days ago x vaginal so no wound x was feeling ok but still bleeding slightly and feel pressure going for a wee and still have lower abdominal pain like period pain x is all this normal?? Xx still got two injections to go in my stomach which I find are rather painful? X feeling pretty crap at the min and had to get prune juice and other stuff from the doctors down me Friday as 5 days no bowel movement and was in agony x but since then nothing x how long does anaesthetic take to leave your system? Being doing light walking but feel so exhausted and have to sit down? Is it me or is all this normal as leaving the hospital no one gives you any ideas about all this x please help x

  6. I had a sub total hysterectomy April 2016. Operation went well, and other then being sick I, was recovering well enough to be discharged after 3 days, with instructions on self administering anti coagulant injections into my tummy for the next 3 days. Unfortunately, within the week, I experienced swelling on my tummy, and found a solid lump that was inflamed, just above the healing incision, that was also very red and hot to the touch. I was consequently readmitted with an infected haematoma and severe pain down my left side. I was immediately put on intravenous antibiotics for a 5 days and monitored throughout until I was discharged. I am due my 6 week check up next week, I feel better though the lump is still there, just smaller in size. I have started to do light exercises, walk and be more active which, is making me feel better in myself. I just feel that the 6 to 8 weeks is definitely the time frame to follow the specialists instructions, of taking the time to heal and talk to someone if your need to.

  7. Hello everyone, I just had a TAH on Dec14,2015. I am 3. Weeks in post op and I’ve been feeling pretty good. I do remind myself not to lift anything or over work my body.. 7 day into my post op I developed pulmonary embolism on my right lung. Doctor said it was nothing I did wrong. Yes I did my breathing and walking daily. Walking comes easy for me since for the last 2 1/2 years I’ve lost 60 pounds walking and running 20miles a week..I had all test done and the blood clots started from the abdominal up to my lungs. This kept me in the hospital another 3more days.Now I am on Eliquis for 3months and the road to recovery. So now I have to be careful to to over do it since I cannot take any Tylenol or ibuprofen for pain. But reading some of your stories I will be adding stretch exercise in my routine to help with the the pain.

  8. What you’re describing is very common Helen and usually sorts itself out given time. If it does’t improve over the coming weeks then you’ll need to see your GP.

  9. Hi there, on June 29th 2015 I had a total abdominal hysterecomty due to uterine fibroids and endometriosis. The surgeon said that the operation went well however the endo’ was questionable (3 years previous to op had some endometriosis burned away). I am now 4 weeks post op, I have experienced horrendously painful bowel movements and constantly experiencing the urge to urinate even after just being. My doctor has put me on an 8 day course of antibiotics and penicillin due to very dark grainy discharge. The antibiotics make me feel awful and very bloated on top of the post op bloating. I wish I could say I’m getting there but I feel I’m getting nowhere!!!!!!! Is it normal for ealing ridge above surgical scar to be hard and lumpy at this stage? Will it go? I’m very mobile and I am managing light hohsehold duties. After years of bloating, acid reflux and horrendous periods I just want anormal life again!!! Can anybody give me hope. I also have MS, however I am an active woman and find this very frustrating. Sorry to be so negative.

  10. Hello everyone. I am having a total hysterectomy in two weeks time (uterus, fallopian tubes and cervix) the aim is to do this by laparoscopy but it looks as though I will have my ovaries removed too. I had an internal exam in February to try and source the cause of pain during sex and possible reasons for recurrent uti’s and either suffered a prolapse or some kind of rupture. I was also put on a course of zoladex. Since then i have not being able to function properly. I cannot walk far, lift a laundry basket, have sex or hoover. I was really fit until my internal exam. But am now concerned that my recovery will take longer than it should. If anyone has any advice or suggestions for pre-op prep and post-op recovery I would be very greatful. Thank you for reading.

  11. Walking is one of the best exercises you can do, it will keep you mobile, keep the joints working and help to disperse anaesthesia at the same time as preventing a DVT. If you’d like more exercise at this stage then it might be worth seeing a physiotherapist who could advise on what might be appropriate for you.

  12. I had a total abdominal hysterectomy on May 29th and like many ladies I was very active prior to the operation. My stomach is still swollen and very sensitive and the scar is hard in places, scar tissue which I hope will improve.. I am feeling quite frustrated, not being able to do as much as I would like. Would anyone have advice as to what gentle exercises I could do?I am doing pelvic floor exercises every morning and trying to go for at least an hour’s walk each day. My one worry is putting weight on, with so much inactivity.

  13. I want to thank everyone for sharing their experiences. I am 56 years old in menopause and plan to have my surgery next month due to large and multiple fibroids. They have caused me to have a tummy, constipation, bladder problems and painful sex. I have been so worried about the recovery as well as the surgery. I have had a tummy tuck about 10 years ago and it was hard but manageable. I am hoping for the same results. Our two story house has many stairs. How long before I should be able to go up and down? Again thank you all for the info and support.

  14. It may be a slight infection – you need to get it checked out and you can ask at the same time about the squatting and bending.

  15. Hi I had TAH on 25th April due to multiple and large fibroids. My wound healed nicely on the outside but still feel some soreness inside. My concern is that my urine flow is very slow and sometimes after urinating, I still have the urinating sensation and will sit for a little while longer and a few more drops of urine will flow out. Also I go frequently to the toilet during the night but normal during the day. I did asked the doctor on the 5th day post-op but he said its normal and I should be okay in no time. Its already 6 weeks post-op and I still having this problem Is this normal or should I go back to the GP for further check. Lastly, is it okay to do some squatting and bending at this time.

  16. That sounds like gas pains, Clare, which I had some but they have mostly abated. If it is down the left side of your abdomen it is the descending bowel and it is tender because of the anesthesia, according to my doctor. I am very careful to get plenty of fruits and veggies as I am paranoid about constipation. It has not been a problem. I did ask my doctor if “pushing” for a bowel movement could cause a prolapse and he said no. (I’m not sure I believe that…) I have definitely noticed weird internal sensations I didn’t notice before, but everything is working fine. πŸ˜‰

    I had a TAH on April 30, 2015 due to large fibroids. I lost 15 lbs within four days of surgery but have gained 2 back. πŸ™ My legs are noticeably more trim, I assume due to fluid retention before, and I no longer look pregnant. I do not deal well with anesthesia and cannot tolerate most pain pills, so the first 4 days post-op were very hard due to that.(I went to the ER for vomiting.) I felt slow mentally and emotional off and on for the first couple of weeks but am mostly normal now. For the first three + weeks I could not be on my feet much without my upper back having spasms, but that is mostly better. Mainly it made it hard to cook, which I wanted to do since I was mostly couch-bound and watching cooking shows! At 4 weeks now my incision and the area around it seems to be more tender, but I attribute that to being more active, wearing normal pants and maybe nerves reconnecting. That is the most annoying thing right now, and I am doing normal daily activity except hard exercise and heavy lifting. I still get tired, usually the day after a couple of very active days. I have been riding a spinner and recumbent bike to get my blood moving and heart rate up, but not as aggressively as normal. I am looking forward to riding my real bike but am not comfortable on it yet due to the soreness around the incision.

  17. It could be that you’ve overdone it a little Clare, or it could be an indication of constipation or an infection – it would be worth chatting with your GP and getting checked out. A good way to see if it’s just over doing it is to stop for a few days and see if it improves.

  18. Hello. I had a total hysterectomy on 20th April, everything removed included cervix and was put on HRT (Lavial) immediately. I’m 43 and had many excruciating years of pain due to extensive endometriosis. I had a good fitness level before the op and am feeling good overall. I have been walking quite briskly twice a day for around 15 minutes and completing pelvic floor and abs exercises recommended by the hospital with no negative after effects. However, over the last few days I have been suffering very acute pain just before a bowel movement which then goes away after going to the toilet. I am also feeling pain towards the end of urination. I am worried that I have been too ambitious but not sure if this is normal? I have been feeling so positive that I hope I haven’t done more harm than good !

  19. Hi I had an abdominal hysterectomy 2 weeks ago everything was removed except my ovaries. Is it normal to feel as though you have a weight belt on?

  20. With the big scar on the tummy or anywhere on the the body, you can buy scar therapy pads to put on ur scar, that will reduce and lighting big scar. U can get it at Walmart or anywhere in drug store.

  21. hi hayley & everyone,
    i am going thru’ hayley’s feelings right now, and am on the 6th day after my surgery.
    I see the post is 2 years’ old. Can u help me now?

  22. It’s OK to feel scared – I think almost all of us do if we’re honest Jully. Good luck and I’ll keep you in my thoughts πŸ™‚

  23. I’ll be having a hysterectomy in 3 weeks and scared to death. The support here is awesome..i pray all goes well and also my jelly belly disappears its very disgusting..i am fit, toned arms and legs with a big belly.

  24. Hi Linda
    I am now into day 7 after a subtotal hysterectomy for fibroids and heavy bleeding. Been very painful and sore but am walking around frequently during the day and resting in bed lots. Showering is quite a challenge and I find I get very light headed and exhausted quickly. Sleeping at night has been interesting too. I’m blessed to have a supportive family and amazing husband. Not sure how I would have coped. Thinking of the weeks ahead is a challenge so taking it 1 day at a time. It will be worth it in the end. Good to read info on this website. Had lots of trouble with logging in though and have reset password so many times.

  25. The average time off work is between 9 and 13 weeks and many women take longer off if they have particularly heavy jobs that involve standing or lifting, if they have to travel a long distance or if they have other problems such as young children or relatives to care for.

  26. Hi,
    I had a vaginal hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo oopherectomy on 18th dec, 2013. I would like to know if going back to work by Feb 20 will be ok. My work in the pharmacy requires full time standing and moving and no sitting absolutely, except 2 half hour breaks. Also, kindly let me know if going back to gym is ok from March first week. I sweat a lot and feel very hot always. Right now I am in India, but I will be back in Toronto by Jan end.

  27. What is CST? I’m due my hysterectomy in Jan & want to get myself fully prepared. Your advice sounds great.

  28. I’m in my 2nd week after a total hysterectomy. Did a laproscopy vaginal hsyterectomy. On pain killer and antibiotic for 1 week. Started doing some light housework in my second week like, sweeping, simple cooking , laundry, etc.
    Feeling find but worry about the effect of early menopause. My gynae told me not to worry too much as she herself had undergone the same operation 13 years ago and she’s feeling great. Still worry about the side effects though like, menopause, osteoporosis, heart problem, etc.
    Lately felt vaginal dryness and itch. Any advice?

  29. A little light bleeding is very common post hysterectomy as long as that’s all it is. It should stop of its own accord. If it is more than this then you need to seek some guidance from your GP again.

  30. I am 4 weeks post AH (womb and cervix removed) and still feel real fragile around my lower abdomen . Since day 10 (post op) i started bleeding ! Went to GP and put on antibiotics as precaution! Still bleeding at 21 days so went back to hospital but they couldn’t find anything wrong .Is this normal or should i be concerned and ask for another opinion . I feel well apart from soreness and bleeding.

  31. That is an excellent point Carole, you need to be doing exercise (small amounts at first like gentle very short walks) from very early on, otherwise your body won’t heal properly or quickly. πŸ™‚

  32. I am 7 weeks on from my TAH. I have taken it easy at first and then slowly upped the exercise, walking and gentle pelvic floor exercises. I am going back to work in 2 weeks as my brain has begun to turn to mush – day time TV! I think everyone is different , but you do need to move around as much as you can manage right from the start – I am not convinced that lying around in bed is good from a physical or mental recuperation point.

  33. Hi everyone. Its been 7wks since my total abdominal hysterectomy. For 5 of those weeks i’ve had an infection (still have it). I was in hospital 2 days. I think I was sent home to soon??? I’m on my 5th lot of antibiotics too. I am 40 and suffered with painful heavy periods. Since my op I have felt down and almost emotionless. I’ve heard women say that having a hysterectomy was the best thing they had done, they feel happier and its changed their lives. Right now I’m feeling so disappointed and worried that I’ll never feel the same again. My tummy above my scar has also got bigger and is ugly in the way it is hanging over. Does or has anyone else feel/felt like this?

  34. The best types of exercise would be a combination of yoga and pilates as these will build your core abdominal muscles and include some meditative processes too – this might help with the emotional trauma of the hysterectomy. It might also be worth asking your GP for a referral to a counsellor as well as they may be able to help you too.

  35. I sank into a deep depression after my hysterectomy, I went into a coma after the operation. when I awoke from the coma 4 days later, it took me awhile to process that information and spending christmas in the hospital. through this emotional turmoil I’ve been so busy LIVING I’ve packed on 30lbs most of the weight settling in my abdominal area. what types of abdominal exercising should I do for the best results.It seems as though everything has been a struggle, sex has become such a task more than a pleasure. the adjustments to the very basics of pleasures have been so emotional to methat I chose to ignore some important things like my weight and my health. I’m hoping that someone out there has some suggestions and encouragements and/or literature to aid me in a full recovery mentally physically and emotionally,
    I would be eternally greatful.

  36. Two weeks is still early to be exercising heavily, when you are ready the exercises would be the kegel exercises (pelvic floor exercises) and later on try yoga and pilates as they are excellent for core body conditioning.

  37. Hi, my situation is similar to Marie’s with respect to the type of surgery as well as her occupation. I had a laproscopic vaginal hysterectomy on October 2 and had everything removed except my ovaries. I had been diagnosed with Adenomyoses – a painful uterine condition. My biggest fear/concern is that I will return to work too early and then suffer either bladder or vaginal prolapse. This has affected 3 of the 5 women in my workplace who have had the same proceedure. I would really like to re-strengthen my core to prevent this but am not sure what moves would be best. I’m 2 weeks in to healing but feeling pretty good. Any advice would be gratefully received. Thanks.

  38. It sounds like you may be overdoing it Marie – the average length of recovery time is around 13 weeks (so almost four months) and for women doing physically demanding jobs it’s going to be much longer than this. It would be worth talking to your employer to ask for light duties for a month or two to see if that helps the situation. Also, if you have endometriosis now then you will be getting more pain and I’m surprised they didn’t remove your ovaries during the op if this was the case. It might be worth asking for another appointment to find out more about the endo.

  39. Hi Linda

    I wonder if you can advice me. I am seven months on from having a sub-total hysterectomy everything went apart from my cervix. I had a laparascopic operation and was in theatre for three hours as my womb was bulky due to fibroids. At my six week appointment with the gynaegologist he told me I had endemetiosis also and it was all through the womb muscle tissue which had contributed to my pain. I keep reading stories of how well other women are feeling and I am so down as I do not feel this. I returned to work after four months I do a heavy lifting job in a warehouse. I lift from floor level to table after been given some lighter duties they have put me back into my own job and I am not coping well at all. Up to this point I thought I had been doing okay as I have noticed that I’m getting stronger but I feel I’m going backwards now. The pain and burning sensation in my abdominal muscles were they have been working has returned. I am so worried that I will never be fit enough to do my job which I love. I told the doctor I was still fairly uncomfortable but she examined me and said everything seems normal. What should I do, giving up work isn’t an option for me.

  40. Yes, I too have a ridge above the scar; it looks like a roll of fat. It is quite numb too. I had my operation in September 2011 – everything removed abdominally – ovaries, womb, cervix. I mentioned it to my surgeon at my 6 week check. He explained it was the site of internal stitching. The numbness may always remain to some extent. The ridge may flatten a little in time (mine hasn’t yet). A small price to pay though to be free of all my troubles. Good luck!

  41. 5 week post abdominal hysterectomy, has anyone experienced the roll of fat above wound site? wondering if I will always have this. Otherwise doing ok!

  42. I recommend wear a ab support belt as soon as you can. It help support your weak tummy muscles allowing you to get up and about for a longer period of time. I agree with Wendy that rest is very important after walking or getting a bit of exercise. It has been almost 4 weeks for me and I can finally (slowly) climb a flight of stairs without discomfort.

    I drink lots of water and high fibre foods to keep me regular. Chia seeds are a great source of fibre and I add it to my morning meal. Vitamins and antioxidant are a must.

    Happy recovery : )

  43. It might be worth asking your GP to refer you to the physiotherapist for exercises specifically to help your recovery.

  44. I have found this site really helpful. I had a very large fibroid removed, and the uterus, seven weeks ago. I now want to increase exercises and keep my weight down. I have been doing the basic tummy pull-ins, pelvic floor exercises and walking twenty minutes a day. Two women on my hospital ward were back after their hysterectomies having lifted heavy boxes after five and a half weeks!

  45. Wow, that’s fantastic Wendy and some very useful tips there; but just a word of warning to everyone else don’t compare yourself to others, it’s not fair on you or them and the reasons people do so well or so badly are many and varied. BTW, I love the term ‘outerware sex’….. πŸ™‚ If anyone is interested in the support belt Wendy mentioned, you can find them in our shop at:

  46. I had a hysterectomy at the end of October – just a large fibroid out plus my uterous. It wasn’t simple – vertical incision, 4 hour op and quite a lot of blood lost – so i expected recovery to be slow

    However just over three weeks later I find myself walking (2 hours cross country fairly easily), having “outerware sex” and starting to feel fantastic. So to tips:

    First week, FORCE yourself to get up and move – little and often, I tried every 90 minutes. Then straight back to bed and full rest. This is essential for wind! Dont forget the peppermint tea and drink loads of water

    Second week onwards, wear a support belt if your scar can stand it. This gives your tummy support when you move and makes walking short distances really comfy. You can buy one on this website-i used an old wetsuit material one i had already. Try some gentle pelvic exercises and keep these up. Increase the walking (little and often) and try other exercises that are not abdominal. i started squats when cleaning my teeth- 30 plus just to get my heart racing. keep exercising short and hard (every 60 – 90 minutes and then resting. i went back to bed a lot

    Second week onwards- go and see a CST expert (or maybe a physio?) to get your pelvic area loosened up. After three weeks my tummy was becoming hard and lumpy and my bowel etc movements hurt because there were several internal lesions. This apparently is very common. After 40 minutes gentle (EXPERT) massage my tummy felt like my own again. Lumps and tightness has disappeared and everything seems to be working much better. I am expecting no problems with numbness/pain etc as I heal-its really worth investing in this!

    Finally count your blessings. I was lucky and managed to loose 4 kilos – just looking forward to trying on some tighter and sexier clothes- maybe end of week 4 as I dont want to irritate my scar. I dont miss my bump nor the problems it caused me! and I’m going to start pilates and a bit of yoga to keep in trim!

    Good luck!

  47. I can’t comment specifically on the Athena Pelvic Toner as I don’t know it, but anything that helps to tone the core abdominal muscles will help significantly once you are fully recovered. That includes things like Yoga and Piliates as well as the Kegel exercises too Kath.

  48. I recently had a vaginal hysterectomy.Uterus and Cervic were removed.Are devices such as Athena pelvic Toner helpful to maintain/improve muscle tone.I did suffer fro urge incontinence and a mild cycstocyl prior to operation.
    Kindest regards

  49. That’s an excellent suggestion Maria, most of us forget that we have our own internal clocks and we need to do things in accordance with them, rather than comparing ourselves to others all the time.

  50. I ‘d like to preface this by saying that I have always done lots of execise and was very fit before my op in July this year.
    I had the same condition and ensured that i walked throughout – initially just a few yards very slowly . I built up by adding a few more steps once an hour. I joked that I knew how the little mermaid felt when she was walking on knives!
    Ten weeks later I’m still sore but walked eight miles along the grand union canal on saturday – took it slow and had a great time πŸ™‚

    Take it at your own pace and good luck

  51. I’m not sure I can answer this one for you Mary, perhaps someone else can help too. It is important to at least walk as this should help but if it’s difficult I’m not sure what to suggest. Have you spoken with the physiotherapist attached to your GP surgery?

  52. can anyone help by telling me how long will i have to wait to do exercise after having a heamatoma on my scare i am finding it very hard to walk i am 21 day’s post op thank you

  53. Please could you send me a exercise program cd to help me get into shape again after my hyterectomty.

  54. good excercises for quick recovery . This cd should be given to all women when leaving hospital. Well done to all that have contributed to this cd. kat from North Wales .

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: