What To Wear After a Hysterectomy
Last updated: April 2023
For the most part, I've been posting tidbits on here about what to potentially expect internally with one's body post-hysterectomy. But what about the changes that occur on the outside--in the short- and long-term?
In particular, what about stitches, scarring, and swelling? What can one wear to be comfortable and not aggravate already-tender skin?
Does what you wear post-hysterectomy matter?
When I was gearing up for my hysterectomy, I didn't really consider what to wear afterward. I thought it would be comparable to the lap I had had more than a decade and a half earlier for endo.
Other than a couple of days immediately after in pajamas, I went back to business as usual with my wardrobe--which tends to be blue jeans (not skin tight but definitely fairly form-fitting).
I was wrong. I hope to impart a little wisdom about what worked for me in the hopes it will help someone else.
Not all hysterectomies are the same
If someone is having a vaginal hysterectomy, where the uterus and cervix are removed through the vagina, then the impacts on the body will be far different than a hysterectomy performed via an abdominal incision. Some people get something called a "keyhole" surgery, where the incision is (as the name suggests) no larger than a keyhole.
The uterus is cut up in a process usually known as morcellation. This is when the uterus is cut up into tinier pieces before it's removed.
Many surgeons do perform morcellation anymore due to it having the potential to spread endometrial cells or, if the patient has cancer, cancer cells, inside the body. Another alternative is that morcellation is performed only if the uterus can be contained or bagged inside during the process to contain any rogue cells from escaping.
In my case, I was originally supposed to have a keyhole surgery but the size and misshapen nature of my uterus made the surgeon decide to do a mini-laparotomy, or "mini-lap." I instead got an abdominal incision and my uterus was removed whole through that incision.
The incision was still smaller than a full laparotomy but still took up several inches just above my bikini line, similar to what those getting C-sections may get. This was the safer alternative for my situation and cut down on risks.
Healing time after surgery
Basically, not only was I stuck in pajamas for a full week after the surgery, it took me close to a full three months to return to wearing jeans, or basically any zippered pants. I experienced swelling, or keloiding, around the stitching that needed time to settle down.
The scar would easily irritate if rubbed on (again, so no zippered pants) and sometimes I got ingrown hairs around the scar.
What clothing is best to wear after hysterectomy?
Yoga or stretch pants with long, loose cotton shirts, basically became my best friend and uniform those months. As it was the end of November when I had surgery and my recovery overlapped the winter holidays and well into February, I usually also wore leg warmers over the pants for extra insulation.
Sometimes, if I was staying home, I wore long, loose skirts made of a velvety material. This helped my skin and its scars heal faster.
I also avoided any tight shirts that stretched across my abdomen. Everything I wore was stretchy if not loose and comfy, almost all cotton.
And I found that helped me a lot. Now, nearly two years later, I still often opt to wear yoga pants with leg warmers in the cooler months and I usually find them more comfortable than jeans.
What are your favorite wardrobe options post-op and why? Please feel free to share in the comments below.
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