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Discharge Instructions for Abdominal Hysterectomy

You had a procedure called abdominal hysterectomy, a surgery to remove your uterus. This can relieve such problems as severe pain and bleeding. It usually takes from 4 to 6 weeks to recover from abdominal hysterectomy. Remember, though, that recovery time varies from woman to woman.

Home care

These are suggestions for what to do once you are home:

  • Don’t drive until your healthcare provider says it's OK. Don’t drive while you are still taking opioid pain medicine.

  • Ask others to help with chores and errands while you recover.

  • Don’t lift anything heavier than 10 pounds for 6 weeks.

  • Don’t vacuum or do other strenuous activities until the healthcare provider says it’s OK.

  • Walk as often as you feel able.

  • When you must climb stairs, go slowly and pause after every few steps.

  • Continue the coughing and deep breathing exercises that you learned in the hospital.

  • Avoid constipation:

    • Eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

    • Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day, unless directed otherwise.

    • Use a laxative or a mild stool softener if your healthcare provider says it’s OK.

  • Shower as usual. Wash your incision with mild soap and water. Don't scrub the incision to clean it. Pat it dry.

  • Don’t use oils, powders, or lotions on your incision.

  • Don’t put anything in your vagina until your healthcare provider says it’s safe to do so. Don’t use tampons or douches. Don’t have sex. Don't do any of these things for 6 weeks.

  • If you had both ovaries removed, report hot flashes, mood swings, and irritability to your healthcare provider. There may be medicines that can help you.


  • Ask your healthcare provider when you can return to work.

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following:

  • Fever above  100.4°F ( 38°C) 

  • Chills

  • Bright red vaginal bleeding or vaginal bleeding that soaks more than 1 pad per hour

  • A smelly discharge from the vagina

  • Trouble urinating or burning when you urinate

  • Severe pain or bloating in your abdomen

  • Redness, swelling, or drainage at your incision site

  • Shortness of breath or chest pain

  • Nausea and vomiting

Online Medical Reviewer: Daniel N Sacks MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Donna Freeborn PhD CNM FNP
Online Medical Reviewer: Heather Trevino
Date Last Reviewed: 6/1/2020
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