A hysterectomy is a major surgical procedure that can leave the abdominal wall with weak muscles. It is important to give stomach muscles their tone back and flatten the abdomen to avoid other complications and unwanted weight gain. This can be accomplished by dieting and exercising appropriately. Daily water intake is important as is a balanced diet. Specific exercises for flattening stomach muscles after a hysterectomy include walking on a flat surface and toning exercises for the abdominal muscle wall. Doctors may also recommend the use of girdles or stomach binders to hold stomach muscles in place until tone returns to normal.
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Things you need
- Water bottle
- Yoga mat
- Running shoes
Drink plenty of water. Drinking water will keep you from becoming bloated and dehydrated. The usual recommended amount of daily water intake is at least two quarts. Most women tend to have water retention after a hysterectomy, but it is due to poor hydration. You will find that drinking water will actually make you lose all that extra water you are carrying.
Eat a balanced diet. As with any other surgical procedure, it is important to maintain healthy eating habits. The right diet will help your incision heal faster as well as keep those stomach muscles toned and in their place.
Schedule a daily walk. It is important for you to walk at least 30 minutes a day on a dry, flat surface. This will help tone all of your muscles.
While walking, make sure to tuck in your tummy. It is OK to relax your abdominal muscles when you are resting, but during exercise the best thing to do is keep them taut. If you can't go for an outdoors walk, go to a big shopping mall or department store.
Practice a variety of abdominal exercises. The most beneficial exercises for flat stomach muscles are the ones that involve lying flat on the floor and working up towards bended knees.
Straight abdominal exercises are performed with your back on the floor and your knees bent. Tighten your stomach muscles and hold them in. With your arms in a comfortable position, raise your head, neck and shoulders so you can look at your knees. Hold this position and then lower yourself slowly till you are back on the floor. Repeat 5 to 10 times twice a day.
Wear a girdle or abdominal binder. Either of these will help when stomach muscles are too weak or are not responding quickly to exercise.
Girdles are simply underwear that has extra lycra in them for more tummy support. They fit very close to the abdomen and help hold stomach muscles in, thus helping to flatten them. An abdominal binder is an elastic wrap that is placed around the abdomen and fastens with Velcro. They can be used immediately after surgery. Both girdles and binders are easy to find and inexpensive.
Tips and warnings
- Pay attention to your body's signals, do not push yourself beyond your limits. Find an exercise buddy so that you are not exercising alone should you need help.
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