How Yoga After Hysterectomy Can Help With Your Recovery

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You may be surprised to learn that practicing yoga after hysterectomy regularly can help reduce unwanted side effects, and help you feel more in control of your body and life.

yoga after hysterectomy

Having a hysterectomy can solve some health issues and leave you with a few more you may not have had prior to your surgery. These can range from depression to osteoporosis (and quite a lot in between!) and can make life miserable, especially if they are on the severe side.

After my hysterectomy surgery, my doctor advised me not to take HRT with my family history of breast cancer. So, I started desperately looking for other ways to help me deal with the effects of surgical menopause. And that is how I started with yoga.

After a hysterectomy, you will be amazed at what yoga can do for women. Let me show you how yoga can improve a range of post-hysterectomy health issues.

1. Practice Yoga to Prevent Osteoporosis

Yoga is one of the exercises that has been put forward as a way to prevent osteoporosis after a hysterectomy. Bone health can often be compromised for women following hysterectomy surgery, especially if it includes your ovaries. This is largely due to the high chance of going into early menopause, which alters the balance of your hormones, depletes estrogen levels, and has the knock-on effect of reducing bone density.

Weaker bones are more likely to fracture, but exercise can help to reduce the speed at which this happens. Yoga is a great exercise that will help to strengthen your bones, and you can continue to do it as you age. Important is that it will also help you with your balance and coordination, this is one of the reasons many women will fall and break their bones.

A decade-long study organized by Dr. Loren Fishman has shown great promise for yoga’s role in bone health, particularly for improving bone density in the spine, femur, and hips. If you’d like to learn more about the management and prevention of osteoporosis after hysterectomy, his book with special low-impact, bone-strengthening yoga exercises has it all.

2. Post Hysterectomy Yoga for Depression

Post-surgery depression is fairly common in general, but it can be more likely to occur after a hysterectomy.

Yoga for depression

Depression is something that can occur after menopause.  And you may essentially go into early menopause if you have had your ovaries removed, too. Low mood, mood swings, and depression are all common after a hysterectomy, especially if you have had a full hysterectomy.

Research has also suggested that a past history of depression makes women more susceptible to experiencing the condition again after a hysterectomy surgery, especially in women younger than 40.

Yoga can help to reduce stress and anxiety while you are recovering from a hysterectomy. It may be useful in treating both anxiety and short-term, post-surgery depression.

Studies have shown that yoga after hysterectomy can improve mood and enhance general well-being, both of which are extremely important for recovery. Yoga experts often recommend inversions to counteract negative emotions.

Yoga for depression involves:

  • Meditation helps you relax and clear your mind.
  • Conscious breathing exercises to reduce stress.
  • Controlled body poses to enhance the body-mind connection.

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3. Yoga to Beat Forgetfulness

Having had a hysterectomy may cause memory issues. Short-term memory loss and “brain fog” are quite common and are thought to be linked to hormone changes, especially around estrogen.

Estrogen is linked to acetylcholine, a brain chemical that goes hand in hand with learning and memory.

Exercise can help to cut through the “fog” and refocus your mind, and Kundalini yoga, in particular, has been the focus of a study examining the part it can play in improving memory. The study is still in progress but according to researchers, it is showing great promise for enhancing cognition – particularly kirtan kriya, which combines yogic elements. Other yoga poses that can be beneficial include ones that encourage you to open your chest and stretch your back. Inversions and Downward-facing Dog poses are often recommended to boost alertness, too.

4. Yoga for Constipation

Many women struggle with constipation during the early stages of their recovery from a hysterectomy. This is partly due to a lack of muscle tone.

yoga for constipation after hysterectomy
Wind Relieving Pose

Eating plenty of fiber can help. They may advise you to take medications that relieve constipation while your body gets back to normal.

Yoga after hysterectomy can be very beneficial for constipation that persists beyond this. Yoga can help to improve digestion and get your bowels moving.

Certain yoga poses can reduce tension (especially in the digestive tract) and stimulate digestion. Some examples are the Child’s Pose, Wind Relieving Pose, Crescent Twist, Seated Twist, Standing Forward Pose, and Downward Facing Dog. Bear in mind that these poses generally involve a lot of stretching and abdominal stress. Meaning you should not do them while your hysterectomy wound is still recovering.

5. Yoga for Hot Flashes

No doubt you know all about the hot flashes and night sweats that can affect menopausal women. This is, unfortunately, another potential side effect of a hysterectomy. It is due to the decline in estrogen levels.

Yoga after hysterectomy can be a great way to deal with hot flashes. Any activity that helps to focus on your breathing and relax more without heating your body any further is helpful during a hot flash, and yoga certainly ticks those boxes. You may want to adapt traditional yoga poses to make sure that you don’t overheat your body.

For example, doing a Shoulderstand pose using a chair or bolsters to support your head in forward bends means you are not working too hard but can still reap the benefits of well-being.

6. How Yoga Can Help Treat Leaking Urine

Lack of muscle tone can also result in urinary leakage. This is for many women a problem after having had a hysterectomy.

Practicing yoga after hysterectomy can help to strengthen your pelvic floor and gain more control over your bladder. One study, in particular, looked at the effects of doing yoga for six weeks and found that it helped to improve urinary incontinence by as much as 70%. This may be partly to do with yoga’s ability to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety, which is sometimes a factor in urinary incontinence.

Some yoga poses they recommend for leaking urine include the Chair Pose, the Triangle Pose, and the Squat Pose.

7. How Yoga Can Help You Lose Weight

Not all women will necessarily put on weight after a hysterectomy. But, it is not uncommon to find yourself putting on several pounds, particularly in the abdominal area.

yoga for weight loss
The Seated forward bend

Yoga can help tone your muscles and rebuild some of the muscle tones you probably lost during your recovery.

Some of the yoga poses that can help with this are Asanas. These yoga poses will help you burn calories and lower the stress hormone cortisol, which is responsible for weight gain.

We recommend starting the 3-week Yoga for Weight Loss Program, which includes 15 yoga classes that make you burn calories really fast, get your heart pumping, and help you lose the extra pounds. 

When Can You Start Doing Yoga After Hysterectomy?

If you used to exercise regularly before your hysterectomy, it’s likely that you could recover more quickly compared to someone who wasn’t very active before her surgery.

How soon you can start getting active after your hysterectomy is not always clear-cut; even your doctor’s advice can sometimes be vague. Generally, the advice is to wait around 6 to 8 weeks before doing anything physical, which extends to activities such as yoga.

Although yoga may seem gentle, it puts pressure on the abdomen and pelvic floor muscles. Doing abdominal exercises and stretching before your body is ready can affect your hysterectomy incision and potentially open it up again, so it’s not something you want to do too early in your recovery.

Are You Ready to discover the benefits of yoga after a hysterectomy?

Every woman experiences menopause differently, and symptoms vary in severity. However, yoga has proven to help women in many ways.

As a fact, there are many types of yoga classes that offer poses and stretches suitable for women of all ages and levels of flexibility. Yoga is a low-impact exercise and is considered generally safe. However, there are strenuous yoga poses that may not be suitable for every person. Specifically, older women with conditions like osteoporosis should check with their healthcare provider before starting a yoga class.

As long as you don’t push your body before it’s ready, yoga after hysterectomy can be a great option for preventing and treating some of the health concerns that can develop after the surgery. It is also a great way to improve your overall health.

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One Comment

  1. Hi, I’m hoping for a few comments from other women that may be going through what I’m dealing with right now. I had a complete hysterectomy in 1986, due to many complications with constant pain mostly after each monthly period. I suffered from my very first period (severe) pain; it felt like my entire organs we’re literally going to fall out, or as if I was suffering from some sort of infection. My periods we’re never normal, from the very first @ the age of 13, I was taken by my mother to see our local GYN, and I’m not sure exactly what he done, or why but he did something to help me along to begin my first period. Every single month was torture! Yes I experienced cramps, but along with the usual cramps, the kind of pain that I was experiencing was so severe that my mother would have to take me to the ER because each month I felt like I had a bad infection. My periods from the very onset we’re always very very light, they lasted at most two to three days max. There was hardly any bleeding. Each new month I was at the ER because of the horrible pain I experienced. Each period only lasted maybe a total of three four days top. Day one & two small bright red blood, then brownish old looking blood the remaining one to two days after. I’m not one of those kind of people that exaggerate, or add more to any given situation. In all honesty, I can say with total clarity that I seen approximately four to five separate physicians; some we’re GYN, while others we’re primary doctors. Two of the GYN doctors that I went to actually delivered my two children, both were C-sections. I gave birth to my son when I was sixteen, but turned seventeen a month after his birth, I became pregnant again within a year of given birth to my son. I was unable to take any birth control pills, as they would mess me up on my periods to which were already so screwed up as they were. My GYN advised me that having another baby so soon after being cut open, that I would most likely having a miscarriage, and that I wasn’t only putting the baby in danger, but that I also could have major complications trying to carry a baby to full term was most unlikely. We made the decision to terminate the pregnancy. It was close to three years later that I gave birth to my little girl, and she would also be my last pregnancy. I was twenty years old, and I prayed that God would heal me of the monthly nightmare’s of all of the pain, grief, anger, all of the misguided advice over so many, many years of never knowing why, or what was wrong with me! I can name each and every single physician, Primary’s, as well as every OB/GYN doctors I also asked, (NO PRAYED) to please find out what and why I had literally lived with this painful, horrible and severe condition for so long without/not one of any of these doctors could put a name to what the heck it was I had!!! After giving birth to my baby girl, I was finally able and old enough to decide that I never wanted another child, thereby telling the doctor to cut, and burn my tubes; whatever it took to stop my from ever having another child again. I will return later to finish up what I was trying to ask in the first place, but I became somewhat side tracked, because I want all of you ladies, young, middle age, and elderly to know what can, and HAS happened to me) in my case….there was neglect, at most times uncaring, unfeeling, dissatisfaction, but above all of what happened to me, I became extremely depressed, a jumble of mixed emotions even guilt, yes guilt, with each doctor that I seen both older, and newer ones, I felt shame, and guilt for each time I would make an appointment to one of the doctors that I had seen on separate, but numerous times about my (constant problem), it became at times that I found myself feeling guilty and shameful and at many times it was even hard to talk with these doctors and look them straight in their eyes, my eyes pleading for answers, understanding, and to not feel shame for putting these doctors through the same questions over & over, again and again, and to no advail they continued to tell nothing new for they had no answer, be it the right or the wrong one.

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