Physiotherapy and optimal health after a hysterectomy

Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus and it is the second most common surgical procedure carried out on women.

Many women, however, enter into surgery without a complete understanding of the procedure and the recovery rehabilitation process. 

When the uterus is removed the supporting connective tissue structures such as the ligaments and fascia are cut and/or disturbed. The abdominal wall can also be affected if the surgeon needs to access the pelvic cavity through the abdomen which can impact on the functioning of muscular system of the spine, pelvis and hip.

Some of the effects of Hysterectomy include

  • Potential to develop Pelvic organ prolapse
  • Pelvic instability and weakness affecting core, lumbar spine, pelvis and hips
  • Bladder and bowel changes 
  • Back pain
  • Menopause
  • Bone health changes
  • Heart health changes
  • Pelvic floor issues

How can Physio improve the optimal health of a woman after hysterectomy?

Attending session before and after surgery ensures the woman is clear on the surgery and the recovery process. Thus allowing the woman to be less fearful about the process and know what they can and can’t safely do as they recover. Generally speaking most woman will only need  about 3 – 5 sessions and will be armed with self help strategies and a suitable exercise to rehabilitate properly allowing a return to everyday living without any concerns.

Physiotherapy would include:

  • Education  about the surgery and recovery timelines
  • Lifestyle review – developing health habits for optimal health 
  • Pelvic floor and core muscle assessment and training 
  • Lifting and movement advice
  • Bladder and Bowel management- safe defaecation techniques, cough /sneeze protection
  • Scar management 
  • Pain management
  • Pelvic floor safe exercise advice both short and long term for bone and heart health
  • Strategies to avoid pelvic organ prolapse
  • Education return to sexual activity especially with menopausal changes
  • Support person encouraging conversation/questions