You may be surprised to learn that practicing yoga after hysterectomy on a regular basis can help to reduce some of the unwanted side effects that can happen and help you to feel more in control of your body and life.
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 to look for other ways to help me deal with the effects of surgical menopause. And that is how I started with yoga.
You will be amazed at what yoga can do for women after a hysterectomy. Let me show you how yoga can improve a range of post-hysterectomy health issues.
1. Doing Yoga After Hysterectomy for 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 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.
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.
Depression is something that can occur after the menopause. And you may essentially go into an 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 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 your mood and enhance general well-being. These are both extremely important for your recovery. Inversions are often recommended by yoga experts as a way to counteract negative emotions.
Yoga for depression involves:
3. Yoga after Hysterectomy for Forgetfulness
Having had a hysterectomy may cause memory issues. Short-term memory loss and “brain fog” is quite common and is 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. Post Hysterectomy Yoga for Constipation
Many women struggle with constipation during the early stages of their recovery from a hysterectomy. This is partly due to lack of muscle tone.
Eating plenty of fiber can help. They may advise you to take medications that relieve constipation while your body gets back to normal.
For constipation that persists beyond this, yoga after hysterectomy can be very beneficial. 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. This includes 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. This means you should not do them while your hysterectomy wound is still recovering.
5. Post Hysterectomy 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 linked to the decline in your 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 using bolsters to support your head in forward bends means you are not working too hard but can still reap the wellbeing benefits.
6. Post Hysterectomy Yoga for 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 6 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 of the yoga poses that they recommend for leaking urine include the Chair Pose, the Triangle Pose and the Squat Pose.
7. Yoga after Hysterectomy to 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 can help to tone your muscles and rebuild some of the muscle tones that 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 that is responsible for weight gain.
Check out these 13 Yoga Asanas for weight loss from Avocadu.com
When Can You Start Doing Yoga After Hysterectomy?
If you used to exercising 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 and even the advice from your doctor can sometimes be on the vague side. Generally, the advice is to wait around 6 to 8 weeks before doing anything physical and that extends to activities such as yoga too.
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 hysterectomy?
Every woman experiences menopause differently and symptoms vary in severity. But 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 considered generally safe. Though, there are strenuous yoga poses that may not be suitable for every person. Specifically older women with conditions like osteoporosis should definitely check with their healthcare provider first 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.