While you are recovering from surgery, it is important to avoid lifting anything heavy. For the first two weeks, you should not lift anything more than 5-10 pounds. As you continue to heal, you can slowly build up to 15 pounds. By the end of the sixth week, it may be okay to lift up to 20 pounds. Make sure you ask for help with tasks like vacuuming, carrying the laundry basket, washing the car, gardening, or other household chores. After the six week mark, we advise that our hysterectomy patients continue avoiding heavier lifting indefinitely.
When you prepare to lift a heavy item, you squat down, grab up the item, and slowly stand up using your legs. As you stand up there is a significant amount of pressure pushing down on your pelvic area which could lead to tearing of ligaments or even the reconstructed top of your vagina (the area where the sutures were put in). There is also a risk of prolapse which occurs when organs slip out of place and push up against the vagina causing discomfort and pain. In extreme situations, corrective surgery is needed.
Not all women who have hysterectomies will experience prolapse, but there is definitely an increased risk. Play it safe and take care of your body first. If you are considering a hysterectomy (or have already had one) and your job requires heavy lifting, talk to your employer about job modification; you may wish to seek assistance from the Human Resources department.
Remember to play it safe and take care of your body first (preventing a problem is usually easier than fixing one). And if you ever experience pain or discomfort after your hysterectomy, be sure to call our office and schedule an appointment with Dr. Davis.