5 Exercises to Do After a Hysterectomy

Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Mary Elizabeth Dallas on November 6, 2020
  • senior woman lying on yoga mat
    Exercise After Hysterectomy for a Speedier Recovery
    Recovering from a hysterectomy is different for every woman. What you do once you leave the hospital can have a big impact on your health. Some simple exercises can speed up your recovery after hysterectomy. They can also help lessen the chance that you'll have problems after the surgery. Take a look at five exercises to do every day. First, check with your doctor about post hysterectomy restrictions before starting these exercises. 
  • woman-sitting-cross-legged
    1. Try Kegels.
    Having a hysterectomy increases your risk of pelvic organ prolapse—when the bladder or rectum drops down into the vagina. It can lead to bladder control or bowel problems. Normally, muscles and ligaments in your pelvis support these organs. A hysterectomy can weaken this support system. Doing Kegel exercises makes the muscles in your pelvis stronger. Then they can tighten more quickly. Simply squeeze the muscles you use to hold in urine or gas. As you do this, imagine pulling up a string attached to your belly button. Do 10 long squeezes and 50 quick squeezes each day.
  • Young Caucasian woman lying flat on mat
    2. Target your lower abdominals.
    This exercise works a muscle in your lower abdomen. It's called the TA, for transversus abdominus. It wraps around the pelvis and holds your organs inside. Target your TA by squeezing your belly button up and in. Hold for 10 seconds or longer. Do this at least 10 times a day. Be sure to breathe normally while you do this exercise.  
  • Physical Therapy Exercise for Lower Back
    3. Work on other muscles too.
    Start by working the muscles in your back known as the multifidi muscles. They extend down your lower back to your tailbone. They help support your spine. Lie flat on your back, knees bent and feet flat. Rotate your pelvis and lift your tailbone up toward the ceiling. Next strengthen your inner thighs. Sit in a chair and squeeze a ball or pillow between your knees. Then do the opposite move: Put your hands on the outside of each of your knees. Press your knees out while pressing in with your hands. Perform 15 reps of each of these exercises every day.
  • walking-outdoors-mother-daughter
    4. Walk when you get the OK from your doctor.
    After a hysterectomy, you might not be able to return to your normal daily activities for up to six weeks. You shouldn't be sedentary though. Walking is one of the best ways to help your recovery. Surgery can make you more likely to get blood clots. So start walking as soon as your doctor says it’s OK after your operation to reduce this risk.
  • woman breathing deeply
    5. Breathe deeply for your physical and mental health.
    You might find it harder to breathe deeply after a hysterectomy. This may be a side effect of the medication you were given to make you sleep during surgery. Pain after surgery can also make it harder to take a deep breath. Focused breathing exercises can help ease these symptoms. They can prevent lung problems too. Take 4 to 5 deep breaths every hour. Breathe slowly and deeply. Make your rib cage expand as you inhale. This will help fully expand your lungs.
5 Safe Exercises After Hysterectomy | Post Hysterectomy Restrictions

About The Author

  1. Allvin R, et al. Experiences of the Postoperative Recovery Process: An Interview Study. Open Nurs J. 2008;2:1–7.
  2. Pelvic Organ Prolapse. National Association for Continence. http://www.nafc.org/pelvic-organ-prolapse/
  3. Step 4: Start Implementing Exercises to Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor. National Association for Continence. http://www.nafc.org/triage-4/
  4. Hysterectomy. New York State Department of Health. https://www.health.ny.gov/community/adults/women/hysterectomy/
  5. Moorman PG, et al. A Prospective Study of Weight Gain after Premenopausal Hysterectomy. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2009 May;18(5):699–708.
  6. Hysterectomy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Hysterectomy
  7. What Causes Atelectasis? National Institutes of Health. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/atl/causes
  8. How Is Atelectasis Treated? National Institutes of Health. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/atl/treatment
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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2020 Nov 6
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.