How to Manage Pain and Discomfort after a Hysterectomy: Medication Options and Alternatives

Updated on May 19, 2023

A hysterectomy is a surgery in which a woman’s uterus is removed. This surgery can be done for various reasons, including cancer, fibroids, and endometriosis. Recovery from a hysterectomy can be a challenging experience, with patients facing a range of physical and emotional challenges. Pain and discomfort are among the most common issues during hysterectomy recovery. This article will discuss medication options and alternative methods for managing pain and discomfort after a hysterectomy.

Understanding Hysterectomy Recovery

Hysterectomy recovery can vary depending on the type of hysterectomy performed and the patient’s overall health. Generally, it takes about six weeks for patients to fully recover from a hysterectomy. Patients may experience various symptoms during this time, including pain, fatigue, constipation, and emotional distress. The first few days after surgery are typically the most challenging, with patients experiencing the worst pain and discomfort.

Medication Options for Managing Pain and Discomfort

Several medication options are available for managing pain and discomfort after a hysterectomy. To treat your symptoms, your doctor might prescribe one or more of the following drugs: 

  1. Pain relievers: After a hysterectomy, painkillers such as acetaminophen, naproxen, and ibuprofen can help reduce inflammation and pain. These drugs are available over-the-counter or through prescription.
  2. Local anesthetics: Such as lidocaine, can be applied topically or injected to help numb the surgical area and reduce pain after a hysterectomy.
  3. Muscle relaxants: Such as cyclobenzaprine, help in reducing muscle spasms and cramping that may occur after a hysterectomy. 

Alternative Methods for Managing Pain and Discomfort

In addition to medication, there are several alternative methods for managing pain and discomfort after a hysterectomy. These techniques may not help all patients but can be effective for some. 

  1. Heat therapy: Applying heat to the surgical area can help reduce pain and inflammation after a hysterectomy. You can use a heating pad, warm compress, or hot water bottle to apply heat to the area.
  2. Cold therapy: For example, applying ice or a cold pack to the surgical area may help reduce pain and swelling after a hysterectomy.
  3. Relaxation techniques: Practise relaxation techniques, such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing, to help reduce stress and anxiety, which can worsen pain and discomfort after a hysterectomy.
  4. Physical therapy: After a hysterectomy, physical therapy can aid in enhancing mobility and reducing pain and stiffness. Your doctor may recommend exercises or stretches to help you recover more quickly.
  5. Acupuncture: A form of alternative medicine, acupuncture involves inserting small needles into certain body sites to promote healing and reduce pain. The therapy has been shown to be effective for some patients in managing pain and discomfort after a hysterectomy.

Tips for a Smooth Hysterectomy Recovery

In addition to medication and alternative therapies, there are several things you can do to help ensure a smooth hysterectomy recovery:

  1. Rest: Rest is essential for a successful recovery. For at least six weeks after surgery, make sure you get plenty of rest and refrain from strenuous activities.
  2. Eat a healthy diet: After a hysterectomy, eating a nutritious, balanced diet can aid in promoting healing and lowering inflammation. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains.
  3. Stay hydrated: Adequate fluid intake can help prevent constipation and promote healing following a hysterectomy.
  4. Follow your doctor’s instructions: Following them carefully after a hysterectomy is important. This may include taking medications as prescribed, attending follow-up appointments, and avoiding certain activities or behaviors.
  5. Seek support: Recovering from a hysterectomy can be emotionally challenging. If you are experiencing anxiety, loneliness, or depression, it is crucial to ask friends, family, or a mental health professional for support. 

Preparing for Hysterectomy Surgery

Preparing for hysterectomy surgery is an important part of the recovery process. Your doctor will provide specific instructions before your surgery, such as fasting or adjusting your medications. It is essential to follow these instructions carefully to ensure a successful surgery and smooth recovery.

Potential Complications of Hysterectomy Surgery

While hysterectomy surgery is generally safe, potential complications can occur. These may include bleeding, infection, and damage to nearby organs. Before making a choice, it is crucial to discuss the potential risks and benefits of the procedure with your doctor. 

Long-Term Effects of Hysterectomy Surgery

Hysterectomy surgery can have long-term effects on a woman’s health and well-being. For example, removing the uterus can lead to changes in hormone levels, which may affect menopause.  Discussing these potential long-term effects with your doctor and developing a plan for managing any symptoms that arise is important.


Although recovering from a hysterectomy can be difficult, you can effectively manage pain and discomfort with the right approach. Medication, alternative therapies, and self-care practices can all promote healing and reduce symptoms after a hysterectomy. If you are preparing for a hysterectomy or in the midst of recovery, discuss your options for managing pain and discomfort with your doctor. Working together, you can develop a personalized plan that meets your unique needs and supports a successful recovery.

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.