Can I Get a Flat Stomach After a Hysterectomy?

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question-icon-newI have been told by friends that because I had a hysterectomy that I will not be able to obtain a flat stomach as they cut the muscles for this surgical procedure. Is this true?

answer-icon-newMany people complain about weight gain after a hysterectomy, attributing it to the surgical procedure. Whether your stomach appears flabby after your hysterectomy may depend on the type of hysterectomy you needed and surgical technique used to perform it. The surgeon may have performed the hysterectomy entirely through the vagina, known as a Total Vaginal Hysterectomy or TVH. He may have made small incisions with the assistance of a laparoscope to remove the uterus and cervix. In this case, he may not have incised abdominal muscles that would leave a scar.

If the hysterectomy was performed by cutting abdominal muscles to remove the uterus, he would have made an incision about eight inches long in the lower abdomen or stomach area. An abdominal hysterectomy would leave a scar that might make your stomach appear flabby and looking a little like a pouch.

Hysterectomies can be a little difficult for women to cope with because they usually take place at the time a woman’s metabolism begins to slow down. This often happens in mid-life, when women may develop issues like cervical cancer or uterine fibroids that cause pain and other problems.

hysterectomy-flat-stomachIt can be hard to completely flatten the stomach after a hysterectomy, but steps can still be taken to reduce the stomach’s annoying, flabby appearance. You might have water retention after the procedure, which can cause your stomach to appear bloated. Drinking more water keeps you hydrated. It reduces bloating in the stomach as well.

Make sure your diet is balanced with an adequate amount of fruits, vegetables and lean protein. Modify the amount of food you eat, especially since the metabolism tends to slow down after a hysterectomy. Avoid gas-producing foods like baked beans, broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts so as not to aggravate the bloating you may experience after the surgery.

Eat more high fiber foods, but introduce them into your diet slowly. Oatmeal and wheat bread are excellent sources of fiber, but introducing them too quickly might cause problems like gas production. Adding them gradually into your diet allows your body to adapt to the fiber and begin digesting them as quickly as possible so that your stomach does not get bloated.

In regards to exercise, Yoga and other abdominal exercises help to strengthen the core muscles and tighten up the stomach. Try using several different exercises to hit a range of areas in the midsection. Here are a few recommended ones to try out:

For the traditional crunch, lay down on a mat, bend your knees and cross your arms in front of your chest. Slowly lift your shoulders towards the ceiling and crunch up using your abs. If crunches are not for you, schedule a daily walk to get some good cardio exercise in. A 45-60 minute walk every day helps to tone up your lower body and burn calories.

In addition, wearing a belly or compression wrap can help to get your stomach back to pre-hysterectomy shape. Girdles can help to reduce the appearance of flabbiness, as they contain lycra that provides extra abdominal support. A hysterectomy may make you seem overweight and flabby, but changes to your lifestyle can help to reduce body fat and flatten your stomach.

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11 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for this information. I’m having a full hysterectomy in two weeks and I’m scared but ready to have the procedure. I had no idea that so much would be necessary in making a full recovery. Again, thank you so much for educating people such as myself who are facing this type of surgical procedure. Much appreciated!

    • ShapeFit

      Hi Sharon – It’s always important for females who have had a hysterectomy to always get the advice from their doctor before starting any type of fitness program, especially when it involves training the abdominal area directly.

  2. I had a total abdominal hysterectomy. It has been two years now, but my stomach is still flabby. I have to wear a girdle all the time now.

  3. I have always had a flat tummy and now I have a horrific pooch. I’m currently on a diet and I’m going to the gym. It’s really affecting my confidence and love life. I feel disgusting and I can’t bear my husband of 21 plus years to see me so embarrassed by my appearance now.

    • ShapeFit

      Hi Beth – Stay focused with your diet and workout regimen. It didn’t take you a few weeks to add size to your stomach, so it’s not going to be gone in a few weeks either. Try to focus on a 90 day target of seeing results and stick with your diet and exercise game plan.

  4. Broken hearted on

    I had mine in 2012, due to a cyst. I eat right follow all the “rules” and still have the pouch. My Dr. told me they have literally cut my stomach muscles in half. There is no amount of crunches that can be done to repair this! Believe me I’ve tried. Then in 2013 I contracted fibromyalgia and 4 other disorders. The only way to get rid of this is through additional costly procedures. Once the muscles are cut there is no way of strengthening them. I hated my pouch prior to this procedure, I worked out 3 times a week and had a flat stomach. Also, like me, many women are on additional medications that cause us to gain weight. I’m not trying to be negative, I’m just trying to shed a little light on the subject. I will be 47 years old in May of 2017 which is 5 years after the surgery and I still have the dreaded pouch!

  5. Paula A Kaiser on

    I would like to hear what “broken hearted” can do to help her situation with her pooch. I just turned 62 in March and I had a full stomach hysterectomy in 1987. I am 5’1″ weigh 115 pounds. With age, the pooch, at least mine, has gotten larger. I’m a tiny 62 year old woman who looks 6-8 months pregnant. I’ve wondered about surgery to fix it. Can they? Like most women, I’m embarrassed, humiliated and will not be completely naked in front of my husband. I’ve done girdles and Spanx. Summer dresses, form fitting clothes and swimsuits are out! It’s not just toning for us women, it is actually severed muscles!

  6. Kathy Reilly on

    I also had an abdominal hysterectomy nine years ago and I exercise regularly. I would love to be thinner, but it’s important for the ladies out there to remember to embrace your bodies and love yourselves! Don’t be ashamed of something you may not be able to control. Trust me, your husbands or significant others love you regardless and would most definitely love to see you naked! So, take time to love yourself for who and what you are! Relax, life is short 🙂

  7. Thank you all for sharing your own experiences, I no longer feel alone! I had an abdominal hysterectomy 18 months ago. I’m 45 years old and have put on almost a stone and a half. I go to the gym regularly and try to eat well, but my metabolism has definitely slowed down a lot! I feel as though my shape has totally altered and has changed from an hourglass shape to a lumpy bubble. Think it’s time to fully embrace high waisted 50’s knickers!

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