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Recovery from surgery

When you wake up from a hysterectomy, you will have several tubes in place. An intravenous drip will administer fluid as well as medication. There may also be one or two tubes in your abdomen to drain away fluid from the operation site and a catheter in your bladder to drain away urine. These tubes will usually be removed about three to five days after the operation.

A hysterectomy is a major surgical procedure, and you may be in hospital for up to seven days. Your recovery time will depend on different factors, such as how much tissue was removed and the stage of your cancer.

A few days after the operation, your doctor will have all the test results and will discuss further treatment with you. Further treatment will depend on the type of cancer, the stage of the disease and the amount of any remaining cancer. If the cancer is only on the surface of the uterus or is at a very early stage, you may not require any further treatment.

It can help to schedule a consultation with your doctor and take a close friend or relative to this appointment. This person can provide you support and ensure you understand the information you are given.

Taking care of yourself at home

It will take time to get back to your normal activities.

  • Rest. Recovery time varies from woman to woman. Most women feel better within six weeks but recovery may take longer for women who have had extensive surgery. You should take things easy and only do what is comfortable. When your health care team advises you to start exercising, you can start by walking. Start with a short walk and try to go a little further each day.
  • Lifting. Heavy lifting should be avoided for about three months. If you have a partner or children, ask them to help around the house. If you require some home nursing care, ask hospital staff how to get in touch with local services.
  • Driving. Avoid driving for about four weeks after the operation.
  • Sex. Penetrative sexual intercourse should be avoided for about six weeks after the operation to give your wound time to heal. Check with your doctor about when you can resume sexual intercourse.