Hysterectomy Surgery and Exercise : The Benefits

Exercise is commonly associated with promoting healthy lifestyles and emotional well-being in all aspects of life. Exercise is also used as a rehabilitation method for many chronic health conditions, pre and post-surgery or injuries. It is important to remember that, to ensure safe exercise, guidance from a Health Professional is vital. This article discusses the benefits of exercise in relation to common side effects experienced post hysterectomy surgery.

Appropriate hysterectomy recovery exercises can improve self-confidence, mood and sleep, as well as reduce anxiety and stress. The focus of exercises in the early postoperative period is aimed at minimizing the risk of side effects and preventing physical deterioration. It is well researched that walking on a treadmill, swimming, and participating in yoga/stretch classes are most beneficial to alleviate the pains felt as a result of fibroids and endometriosis post-surgery. This is all explained through the physiological benefits of exercise. Exercise stimulates the release of pain-relieving endorphins which reduces muscle tension throughout the body. It also promotes an increase in blood circulation and oxygen to the areas affected by pain which assist in recovery and repair. Through the release of these hormones, improvements in mood will also be noted.

Most women experience mild mood swings around premenopausal stages but are more commonly experienced at a moderate to high level post-hysterectomy surgery. For the women who experience depression and mood swings after their hysterectomy, it is understood to be somewhat related to the hormonal changes as well as the psychological impact of the surgery. In particular those most vulnerable are the women who have the surgery at a younger age (<50years) or before they were finished having children. It is important for the woman to communicate with family, friends and health professionals if they suspect they are experiencing high emotional symptoms or dark depressed states. With the combination of rest and exercise, significant changes in mood can be seen. As the body repairs itself and with the release of endorphins post exercise, women have noted changes in overall behaviour as well as improving self-confidence. This can be derived from the inclusion of exercises and physical therapy proving psychologically that we are moving forward and re-gaining strength.

Another side effect experienced post-surgery is lack of sleep or broken sleep, particularly in patients in the early post-op stage. The trauma of surgery combined with hormonal changes can disrupt normal routines. For most women, this gradually subsides as the body begins to heal and recover. In the first few weeks it is important to focus on breathing and deep core exercises to assist in recovery as well as aid in relaxation. By focusing on particular inner core strengthening and breathing exercises, you are re-training core muscles in a relaxed meditated state, reducing your heart rate as well as calming the level of stresses in the body. This method is commonly utilised in the early post-op phases as well as through the exercise recovery program as a means to build inner core strength.

On a whole, there are 3 main categories of safe exercises after a hysterectomy. These include Pelvic floor Strength exercises, Pelvic floor Fitness exercises, and Pelvic floor (Kegel) with deep abdominal core exercises. Once clearance is given from your Doctor, these exercises can be started under guidance of a Physiotherapist or Exercise Physiologist. The main aim of these exercises is to focus on retraining the pelvic floor and core muscles to re-engage and build a firm inner strength baseline. This acts as a preventative measure to avoid post-op complications such as prolapse. Each exercise group is broken down into progressive training which is advanced by an Exercise Physiologist or Physiotherapist once the previous exercise stage is completed correctly and safely. The overall benefits of exercise post-op are enormous as it promotes recovery and assists in improving the psychological and physical barriers associated with hysterectomies.

Here @ Self Image Fitness, we can offer specialised classes with an Exercise Physiologist or One on One exercise prescription. We Bulk Bill or bill direct to your Private Health Care Fund. For more info, call Jess on 0427 928 049 or email