Research does suggest a link between hysterectomy and an increased risk of weight gain, but it affects some women more than others. Several factors can affect how much weight you gain after a hysterectomy, including what you do during and after the initial recovery period. Below, we’ll discuss whether hysterectomies cause weight gain and tips to prevent weight gain during recovery.
What You Need to Know About Hysterectomies
A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure for removing the uterus from a woman’s body. In some cases, the ovaries and fallopian tubes are removed as well. Hysterectomies are performed in response to a variety of medical issues, including several types of cancer. They also end menstruation.
What Causes Women to Gain Weight After a Hysterectomy?
There’s a link between hysterectomies and weight gain, but certain factors can influence whether or not you’ll gain weight, including:
- Previous weight issues. If you have a previous history of weight issues, research indicates that you stand a greater risk of gaining weight than those who aren’t overweight.
- Menopause. Premenopausal patients who have a partial hysterectomy may be more likely to experience weight gain than postmenopausal patients (partial hysterectomy only).
- Type of hysterectomy. If you have a full hysterectomy that removes the uterus, ovaries, and cervix, it’ll trigger menopause regardless of your age. Women typically gain an average of five pounds after menopause, which may contribute to a higher likelihood of weight gain.
- Recovery time. Some patients recover faster from the procedure than others, and the severity of the procedure can play a role in recovery time. For those with a longer recovery time, it can be more difficult to exercise and combat any weight gain.
Other Symptoms You May Notice After Hysterectomy Surgery
A hysterectomy can have several side effects unrelated to your weight. For example, if you had a period before your hysterectomy, you’ll no longer have one post-surgery. You also cannot get pregnant after a hysterectomy. Other symptoms you may experience can include:
- Hot flashes
- Mood swings
- Vaginal dryness
- Decreased sex drive
How to Lose Weight After a Hysterectomy
The most common reasons for weight gain after a hysterectomy are a lack of exercise, proper diet, and focus on mental health post-operation. Below, we’ll take a deeper dive into dieting, exercise, and mental health tips to help prevent weight gain after a hysterectomy.
Establish a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is crucial during hysterectomy recovery. While recovering, your body requires good nutrition for healing, recovery, and immune function. Your internal wound takes up to three months to repair after surgery. Make sure that everything you eat and drink works towards your recovery with nutrients that promote repair.
To help you heal and keep weight off, your diet should include plenty of protein and vitamin-rich nutrition, such as:
- Lean meats
- Leafy greens
- Low-fat dairy
- Whole grains
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
Make sure to stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Counting your calories is another good way to help make sure you don’t overeat. It’s also a good idea to avoid the empty calories found in fatty and sugary foods and alcohol.
Exercise and Be Physically Active
Physical activity can help you offset any weight gain, minimize loss of fitness, and help your mental wellbeing. Exercise should be incorporated slowly post-operation and even small efforts to be physically active will be beneficial. Here are some exercises you can do:
- Continuing exercises you were given in the hospital
- Water aerobics
Before starting to exercise, make sure you talk with your doctor to make sure the activity you’re considering is safe and won’t hamper your recovery.
Create a Routine and Stick to it
When you feel well enough, plan a simple home routine that sets you up for success with healthy eating and exercise. Also, make sure to include activities that help you avoid boredom, loneliness, and depression from spending extended periods at home. Here are some things you can do:
- Cooking healthy meals and pre-planning meals
- Listen to music
- Watch movies
- Do crosswords or other brain-stimulating puzzles
Learn More About Post-Hysterectomy Weight Gain from Baptist Health
If you want to learn more about preventing weight gain after your hysterectomy, find your nearest Baptist Health Women’s Health provider today.