December 8

Can You Lose Weight After A Hysterectomy? Yes, Here’s How

0  comments

When it comes to weight loss, there are so many factors that can stand in your way. And just when you think you have everything figured out, life throws a curveball and you find yourself recovering from surgery. Can you lose weight after a hysterectomy? Yes! But often times it can be pretty difficult for some women.

Read on for information on why it can be difficult to shed those pounds now and some helpful tips on losing weight following this type of surgery.

What is a hysterectomy? 

A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure for women that involves removing the uterus and cervix. It is usually performed as a treatment for pelvic disease, ovarian cancer, excessive menstrual bleeding, or uterine fibroids.

Once a women has a hysterectomy, she is unable to bear children anymore. In a full hysterectomy the ovaries are removed as well, which brings on menopause due to the hormones being reduced.

The side effects of menopause can be extremely challenging for some women, and include things like increased risk of osteoporosis, hot flashes, mood swings, anxiety, insomnia, weight gain and even depression.

It is possible to have a hysterectomy without removing the ovaries (a subtotal or partial hysterectomy) which will keep these side effects at bay for most women.

What causes weight gain after a hysterectomy?

Regardless of if it is partial or full, a hysterectomy will require anywhere from 4-12 weeks of recovery time, depending on the surgical method used.

During this time, it is recommended to do as little as possible, refrain from lifting anything, and get as much rest as possible to give your body the tools it needs to help speed healing.

Here are the top reasons why women gain weight after their hysterectomy.

Fluctuating hormones

Hormonal changes during and following a hysterectomy can cause weight gain. If you've had a complete hysterectomy, this involves removing your ovaries along with the uterus and everything else.

Your ovaries are responsible for providing your body with important hormones, like estrogen and progesterone, and the sudden lack of these can have massive side effects, which include:

  • Slowed metabolism
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Hot flashes
  • Sleep issues

While the studies on this subject don't show a direct correlation between the removal of ovaries and weight gain, they do show that, on average, women who have their ovaries removed tend to gain more weight than not.

Insomnia, in particular, is a huge problem for some women after a hysterectomy. Studies have shown that a lack of sleep leads to overeating and binge eating. It also causes cortisol levels in the body to rise, which is the body's stress hormone and is a major contributing factor for weight gain.

For women who suffer from anxiety and depression after surgery, it can be challenging to stay in the right frame of mind to make healthy choices, leading to putting on those extra pounds.

Hormone replacement therapy is available and should be discussed with your doctor if you have had, or are planning on having a full hysterectomy.

Increase in appetite

Increased appetite due to post-hysterectomy side effects such as fatigue, depression, mood swings or hot flashes lead some women to eat more than they need.

It's important to make sure you're getting the adequate nutrition that your body needs in order to recover properly, but also not to overdo it.

During this time you might find yourself eating more carbs and sugars, which can lead to weight gain and associated consequences.

If your appetite is out of control after surgery then speak with your doctor about possibly taking hormone replacement therapy or a low-dose antidepressant for the side effects that are contributing factors to overeating.

Stress

Following a hysterectomy, there may be an increase in feelings of stress which also leads to increased eating. You might be stressed over the surgery, or having a hard time coming to grips with the fact that you've lost a part of yourself that many women feel is vital to their "womanhood".

It can be difficult to manage stress when you're in recovery from a hysterectomy. Fluctuating hormones can have you feeling out of sorts, and sometimes you just need a break.

Stress is an important issue following surgery, and it's something that should be addressed by your doctor or therapist if the stress isn't going away on its own after some time has passed.

If left unchecked, chronic stress can lead to unhealthy habits like overeating which could cause additional weight gain for those who have already gone through surgery.

Stress also increases the amount of cortisol that your body produces, which can cause a lot of negative physical signs and symptoms, including weight gain.

Fatigue

A lack of energy due to the surgery and recovery process makes it difficult for many people who have had a hysterectomy to exercise regularly.

It can take a long time for your body to fully recover from the surgery, up to a year in some cases. During the recovery time, it's important that you don't push your body too hard. Doing so can lead to pain, inflammation, injury and fatigue even more severe than before.

Difficult recovery

A hysterectomy can lead to a lot of changes in your life such as the physical limitations that come with it. Sometimes complications happen after a hysterectomy that we are not prepared for, and can lead to a difficult recovery.

Having a surgery like this one might also make you feel overwhelmed by how different things are now compared to when you had all of your female organs intact.

It's important not to ignore these feelings and recognize them for what they are - a difficult part of recovery from surgical procedures like a hysterectomy.

Again, you need to give your body what it needs to recover properly during this time. It can be hard to sit back and do nothing while you feel the weight pile up, but doing too much, too fast, can be detrimental; it may also lengthen your recovery time if you end up injuring yourself or reopening sutures.

How to lose weight after a hysterectomy

After a hysterectomy, women can still lose weight just as they would have before the surgery but it may be more difficult due to hormonal changes and other factors.

Trying to lose weight after having a hysterectomy can be overwhelming. The best way to go about it is by giving your body the proper amount of time to heal before attempting to diet or exercise. Restricting calories and exercising can be detrimental if you aren't fully recovered.

Once you've got the go ahead from your doctor, then it's time to start implementing changes that will slowly become habits.

Remember that your body has been through a major, life changing surgery, and take it slow. By trying to do too much, too fast, you risk serious injury to yourself.

Here are the top changes that you can implement to lose weight after your surgery.

Start taking care of your body by eating healthier

Deciding to start eating healthier is the easy part; it's putting it into practice and actually following through that's hard. There are many ways to implement the right diet, but it's important to make changes you'll actually stick with. 

You don't necessarily need to follow a strict routine, you just have to make smart decisions and mindful choices according to your lifestyle and preferences.

By taking small steps today, you'll reap big benefits from them in the long run! Here are the steps to eating healthier:

Plan your meals ahead of time

One of the easiest ways to eat healthier is by following a meal plan. Meal plans are great because they have all your meals planned out for you, so you don't need to worry about what or when to eat next.

If this seems like too much work and if it's not something that suits your lifestyle then try planning out just one meal a day and go from there. 

Allotting specific portions of foods will help with portion control as well as making sure you're getting enough protein, fiber and other nutrients in each day.

There are several great options online for meal planning, including having meals shipped with all of the ingredients needed to prepare the dish with instructions. While these can be a little pricey, they offer an excellent alternative for those strapped for time, or are looking for an easy solution to meal planning.

Cut out excess sugar

Start by slowly replacing "empty calorie" and sugar loaded foods like chips, pop, candy, cakes, etc. with healthier options like nuts, low-fat yogurt and fruit. You'll be surprised how much this will improve your overall health, not to mention your waistline.

Eat whole grains

Switch from refined grains to whole grains whenever possible. Whole grains are an important part of a healthy diet because they have fiber in them that can help you feel full longer. 

So instead of eating white bread, rice, flour, etc., try brown rice, quinoa, barley or oats for example. This is especially helpful if you're trying to lose weight after surgery since it helps keep blood sugar levels more stable so less cravings occur later on in the day.

Get your veggies in

Add in more fruits and vegetables to each meal. Not only does this help you to feel fuller faster and more satisfied with your meal, but it also gives your body the nutrients and vitamins it needs to stay healthy.

Cut out the carbs

Cut down on processed carbs like pasta and bread - these have little nutritional value and can quickly bump up your calorie count for the day. Giving up carbs can be hard at first, but it's worth it when you see the results.

We put together a guide on how to start eating healthier, which includes great tips on implementing a routine that will slowly become a habit.

Breaking bad habits is hard but totally worth it. Remember - nothing changes if nothing changes. If you want to see results, it is imperative that you take a close look at your diet and start cracking down.

Start exercising

Before you start exercising, it is crucial that you get the go ahead from your doctor. Once you have the ok, start doing some light exercise.

Exercise does not need to be strenuous in order to help - any activity that gets your heart rate up will do the trick. Start small and gradually increase the intensity as your body adjusts.

Your body will need some time to adapt to exercise after all those weeks spent lying around, and you'll find that you need to build your strength back up.

A little bit of exercise every day will do wonders for your mood and also make it easier to lose weight in the long run.

Exercise can be as simple as taking a walk around your neighborhood or going outside with the dog, stretching out on the floor for five minutes before getting up again - anything active can have a positive effect on moving towards better health! 

Types of exercises that are great to start out with after you've recovered:

Walking

This one is the best for getting your body moving again and doesn't require any special equipment. Just get out there and get around the block a time or two, and slowly increase your distance.

Gentle yoga or pilates

Yoga is great for building and toning muscles, and many of the positions are safe to perform after a hysterectomy. Pilates is another low impact form of exercise that can be a good option.

Swimming

Swimming is a fantastic form of exercise after a hysterectomy. It's low impact on your body and helps to increase flexibility.

Core building exercises

Your core is going to be very weak for some time after, understandably. After your uterus is removed, your abdomen will take time to adjust as your other organs shift to their new position.

Check out these great core building exercises that you can do once you're healed up.

Light weight training

Strength training offers a ton of benefits for your health and fitness levels. Start with lighter weights to ease into it, and gradually build up to heavier weights. If you're not sure how to start this out, a trainer can help!

Low impact dancing

Dancing is great because it's low impact and requires no specialized equipment - just grab your favourite playlist on shuffle in Spotify!

Be careful though: some types of dancing can cause your abdominal muscles to tighten up too much, and you run the risk of injury. You'll want to talk with your doctor before picking up dance lessons so they are completely safe for you.

Pelvic floor exercise

Many women suffer from bladder issues after a hysterectomy, and the best way to tackle this is by doing pelvic floor exercises. This will help tighten the muscles around your bladder and lower intestine.

Another way to tackle this issue is by doing Kegels. You can do this exercise anywhere, at any point in the day.

Drink more water

Water contributes to weight loss more than people realize. Drinking enough water can be the simplest decision you will ever make when it comes to your health and wellbeing.

Drinking ample amounts of liquid provides optimal hydration, helps prevent toxins from being retained in your body for too long, lessens any bloating that may occur as a result of poor digestion rates and can help stimulate your metabolism.

So many people do not drink enough water in a day and are constantly dehydrated.

The benefits of drinking more water are numerous, and it's as easy as going to the tap and pouring yourself a glass.

Finding it hard to get the required amount of water in every day? Try these tips to increase your consumption:

  • Drink a glass of water when you wake up in the morning.
  • Have a tall, cold glass of water before your meal to help cut cravings and reduce appetite.
  • Buy a water bottle with ml amounts on them. This way, you can measure how much you're getting every day.
  • Spice up your water by adding fruits or veggies.
  • Use zero-calorie flavorings like MIO.
  • Drink it ice cold - I bought this ice maker this summer, and it was the number one thing that got me to drink more water, highly recommend it!

One of the biggest changes that is easy to implement is drinking a glass of water before each meal. Doing this consistently can reduce the number of calories for the day by 15%! It also contributes to better digestion and hydration which will make you feel better overall.

Thirst often masquerades as hunger pains as well, so before you reach for a snack, pick up the water bottle first and make sure that you're actually hungry and not just thirsty.

Consider a specialized diet like Intermittent Fasting or Keto

Sometimes it seems like you do all the right things when trying to lose weight, and you still fail. If you are struggling with your weight loss, it may be an option to consider following a specialized eating plan like Keto or Intermittent Fasting.

It's important to talk through your options with your doctor before you start any diet because everyone reacts differently to different types of diet plans. There are also certain disorders and medications that require you to follow a diet that does not fit with these ways of eating

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting is a style of eating that restricts when you can eat. You eat during your eating window and then refrain from eating during your fasting window.

Intermittent Fasting has become more and more popular, and the benefits go far beyond that of just losing weight.

It is also a great option for its simplicity. Rather than try and go on restrictive diets that tell you what you can and can't eat, with Intermittent Fasting, you eat as you normally do, and then during the fasting window, you just don't eat.

The first week or so can be a challenge, especially if you are a big snacker, but it does get easier over time. Many people start with the 16:8 method, which means you fast for 16 hours, and eat within 8 hours.

This works well for most since a good portion of your fasting time can be spent sleeping at night. If you're starting your eating window at 11 am, you have until 7 pm to get all your calories in.

There are many different time frames that you can apply Intermittent Fasting to, and you can make it fit any schedule.

Keto

A Keto diet may be the perfect option for you if you are struggling with your weight and following a healthy eating plan just isn't cutting it anymore. 

A Ketogenic Diet is high in fat, moderate in protein, and low in carbohydrate intake. You can still eat carbs on keto but they need to come from vegetables that grow above ground- like broccoli or leafy greens versus bread or rice which will spike up your blood sugar levels quickly after consumption.

It's said to improve health and even reverse disease and it isn't too difficult for people who are willing to work at it. It may seem very restrictive, but there's actually a wide range of foods you can incorporate into your lifestyle if you're willing to work around them.

People on the keto diet eat a lot of fat (70 to 80% of your calories), moderate protein (20%), and very few carbs (< 20%). This leads to a "ketosis" state, where you burn fats rather than sugars as fuel.

Some people find it very difficult to stick to the keto diet, however, because of cravings for carbs and sugars. The majority of keto followers say that the first few weeks are the hardest, but after that, it gets a lot easier.

These were two of the tools I used to get started when it seemed like everything else had failed, and the results I got from it were great and helped shape better eating habits as a whole. Intermittent fasting also eliminated my nighttime snacking!

So, can you lose weight after a hysterectomy?

You can definitely drop some pounds after having a hysterectomy, though it isn't without its challenges. Your body has permanently changed, and you need to adapt to it and learn new ways to get in shape until your strength comes back.

It would be best to speak with your doctor before starting any exercise or dieting routine after having this surgery, as there may be restrictions based on your personal situation. Once you've got the go-ahead, the sky is the limit.

You might need to make some adjustments to your lifestyle after surgery

While some women can have a hysterectomy and nothing too drastic will change for them, others struggle. After a hysterectomy, some women may find their lifestyle and diet needs changing.

It would be best to speak with your doctor before starting any exercise or dieting routine after having this surgery, as there may be restrictions based on your personal situation. Once you've got the go-ahead, the sky is the limit.

Without fail, every person who starts on a new health journey will have bumps in the road and end up doing things quite differently. Finding ways to improve your quality of life after going through a hysterectomy is not impossible, though it may seem like it at first. Sometimes, just making small changes can be exactly what you need to see results.

Stay tuned for future articles where we amp up the exercise and get into the harder stuff. For now, take it easy, and rest assured that if you put the work in, however long it may take, it will be worth it in the end.


Tags


You may also like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}