TLDR: If you’re worried about your wife or partner after they’ve had a hysterectomy, this article looks at advice for husbands after a hysterectomy and ways you can support your wife or partner emotionally and physically. This article is based on Rachel’s real-life experience of having the surgery and the support she needed from her husband.
Don’t want to read this one? Let me read it out to you!
When we think of a hysterectomy our minds immediately go to women, and rightly so —they are the ones undergoing huge, life-altering surgery.
But, it does actually affect lots of people, not just the person having the surgery. Sometimes I think of it from my family’s perspective and how they may be affected. For example, my husband wanted a second child and that isn’t something I am now able to do, so if you’re a husband or partner reading this and feeling guilty for wondering how it might affect you, then don’t.
In this article, we are going to focus on the husbands as this will be advice for partners and husbands after a hysterectomy. Yes, the woman is the star of the show here, but you will also feel the impact.
A Little About me
I’m Rachel and I had a hysterectomy when I was 30 due to stage 3 borderline ovarian cancer. I have written lots about my experience with recovery here so if you are a husband looking for advice on how to help your wife after hysterectomy you may find this or my video diary really useful.
Firstly, a little education.
What Is A Hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus, but sometimes also other female reproductive organs too. Your wife may be undergoing surgery to remove just her womb and cervix are going which is know as total hysterectomy.
If she is going to lose her ovaries and fallopian tubes too that is known as a hysterectomy with salpingo-oophorectomy.
I had my surgery when I was 30 and I found my husband incredibly supportive, so I wanted to write something that will hopefully offer advice for husbands after a hysterectomy, helping them support their partners.
Top Advice For Husbands To Help Wives After Hysterectomy
Husbands, how can you help your wife manage pain after a hysterectomy?
Your wife will leave the hospital with a treatment plan to follow. Make sure you are there with her when the doctor comes round after surgery, as post anaesthetic she probably will be a little groggy and it can be really hard to remember things.
If you can’t be there, or miss the doctor because you did the coffee run (typical!) then ask her to see if she can record it on her phone (with the Doctor’s permission!). Most phones have a voice memo app and as long as the doctor is okay with it and you have permission it is a good idea to record it so you know how to help your wife after a hysterectomy.
Once you know what the treatment and care plan is, make sure she is following it.
Even if she isn’t in pain it will probably be recommended that she follows it anyway, so take her the tablets she needs with a nice cold glass of water, at the exact times she needs them.
If you can’t be there because of work then set reminders to call her or drop or a message when she needs to take them. She’s probably totally engrossed in a TV show, with her feet up (hopefully!) so the reminder might be useful : )
Summary | Advice for husbands after a hysterectomy | How to help your wife manage pain after a hysterectomy
- Make sure she follows the treatment plan set out by her doctor
- If you can’t be there see if she can record conversations with doctors on her phone so you can listen back
- Take some time off work
- Set reminders on your phone to remind her to take her meds
What complications should you look out for as a partner of someone who had a hysterectomy?
Make sure you ask this question to the doctor when they come around after the surgery, as it will differ depending on the type of surgery she had.
Infections can easily be picked up in hospitals no matter what surgery you have. A sure sign of infection can be hot and cold chills and a fever. If your wife is experiencing this don’t assume it is caused from surgical menopause, it could be she has picked up an infection. Call your doctor right away and let them know.
It is likely your wife will be in a little bit of pain after a hysterectomy, but it should be manageable. If she seems like she is in agony, let your doctor know.
You will also want to keep an eye on the site wounds and follow the treatment plan for caring for the after surgery. If they look like they might be getting infected give your doctor a call.
Summary | Advice for husbands after a hysterectomy | What complications should you look out for?
- Fever / hot and cold chills
- Pain should be manageable. If it isn’t, call a doctor
- Keep an eye on the site wounds
What to do if my wife is bleeding after a hysterectomy?
A little vaginal bleeding and discharge after a hysterectomy is normal, for up to 6 weeks. However the NHS website states “Visit your GP if you experience heavy vaginal bleeding, start passing blood clots or have a strong-smelling discharge.”
How to take sex slowly with your wife after a hysterectomy
It might feel frustrating that your regular sexual activity with your wife is put to a stop for a while, but the best thing you can do is take is very slowly.
First of all you absolutely have to wait for your GP to sign her off. This is usually around 6-12 weeks and totally varies depending on the person.
Even once she is signed off she might not feel up to it. After having the surgery the thought of having something inside can be very daunting, just keep that in mind. I’ve written more about sex after a hysterectomy, which could be worth reading.
Once you have the green light from her and she has decided the time is right, take it slow. Lots of foreplay to make sure she is really in the mood and think about your connection throughout the entire day, not just 10 minutes before you want to do the deed.
When she wakes up in the morning take her a tea, and tell her she looks beautiful. Give her bum a little tap as you walk past her in the kitchen or wink at her in the knowing way only you two understand. It’s these little acts throughout the day work for women.
You might also want to consider lubrication, try a water-based lube rather than a silicone one as the vagina can be more sensitive after the surgery.
Another thing to consider is going slow and checking in on her as you have sex, it’s new to you both, but only she knows how it feels. If at any point she says it is painful you should stop. If the pain wasn’t too bad you could try again but if the pain was so bad that she can’t try again wait a couple more weeks, or call your GP.
If she is really struggling with sex drive then you could look at ways to increase sex drive after a hysterectomy.
Summary | Advice for husbands after a hysterectomy | How to take sex slowly with your wife after a hysterectomy
- Wait until the doctor has signed her off
- Make sure she is happy to go ahead too
- Ensure she is comfortable, relaxed and in the mood
- Respect the fact she might be feeling nervous about something inside her
- Take time throughout the day to do nice things for her
- Try water-based lubricant
- Check in on her while doing the deed
- If it becomes painful, call the doctor
How can you pleasure your wife after a hysterectomy?
Firstly you will want to wait to be signed off by the doctor. I wrote lots about sex after a hysterectomy which goes into more detail, but waiting for sign-off is the first step.
Once signed off I would suggest you start with external pleasure. This could be from oral, fingers or a toy. Once she is comfortable you can consider internal penetration (aka sex haha) and use the toys that you used to, if that was your thing. If using toys make sure you are cleaning them correctly, this is no time to be risking infection.
Keep in mind that if your wife has had her cervix removed she will have a vaginal cuff. This means there will be stitches where her cervix used to be. When I asked the doctor about mine he said to be it is very strong. Imagine scar tissue and how strong that is, it would be very hard to penetrate. However, not impossible and that is why it is so important to wait for sign off from the doctor.
Summary | Advice for husbands after a hysterectomy | How to pleasure your wife after a hysterectomy
- Wait until she is signed off
- Start with external pleasure
- Keep any toys clean
- Be aware of the vaginal cuff, if she had her cervix removed
When should you suggest your wife seeks medical help?
The NHS writes more about recovering from a hysterectomy here, which I recommend you read.
If your wife is following her treatment plan and taking her pain medication, but she still has pain after a hysterectomy my advice is to call your doctor. Also, look out for vaginal discharge that is unusual in colour or smell and if she is struggling with bowel movements or is constipated.
What can you do to support your wife physically after a hysterectomy?
Quick story: I had a laparotomy (open stomach) once and my husband was at work hours away when the doctor said I needed to leave the hospital. He had to get his employee to come get me in the middle of the day, it wasn’t the person I wanted there to help me! Then my husband came down with an intense sickness bug on the motorway while driving home. Try to avoid all of these things : ) I booked him into a hotel, left his clothes on the doorstep and rang my Mum. Nightmare!
Essentially, what I am suggesting is you book a few days off work when your wife has a hysterectomy. The day your wife has the surgery and then a few days after. I came out of the hospital much quicker than anyone expected and they don’t want you taking up a bed, so you never know when she might need picking up.
Once she is home make sure she is propped up with pillows on both the sofa and in bed and has next to her anything she might need. This could be fresh water, her pain medication or her book.
If you have pets, especially jumping excited dogs who will be happy to have their Mum home, then see if someone else can have them for a few days. She probably won’t want anything jumping up at her.
If you have kids then this is your time to shine. Expect nothing from her, she can’t do any heavy lifting and the school run is out of the question because she can’t walk long distances or drive for a few weeks after the surgery for around 6 weeks (check with her insurance.)
Summary | Advice for husbands after a hysterectomy | How can you support your wife physically after a hysterectomy
- Book some time off work, ideally around 3-4 days
- Make sure she has pillows propped up in bed and on the sofa
- Get pets looked after, especially jumpy dogs
- If you have kids then you will need to do pretty much everything for them for 1-2 weeks
- Do all the driving for 6 weeks
What supplements should I get my wife after a hysterectomy?
Considering supplements is good advice for husbands after a hysterectomy as they may support her in ways she didn’t need before. I have written more on supplements to take after a hysterectomy here, but in short I would say to consider:
- Magnesium for joint health and sleep
- Maca root for increased sex drive after a hysterectomy
- CBD for anxiety brought on by surgical menopause
- Vitamin D
- Probitoics if she is struggling with vaginal dryness which can lead to thursh
We sell these on our website and would make a lovely gift to let your wife know you’re thinking of her. Check the box which says ‘it’s a gift’ at checkout and we’ll give your parcel some extra love.
What can you do to support your wife emotionally?
This is the advice for husbands after a hysterectomy that I really want to share, as it comes from a very personal place.
Your wife has just gone through something life-changing and she will take a while to recover physically but the emotional scars will stay long after the physical ones heal.
Be patient with her. Talk to her, make sure she knows the line of communication is open.
Validate her feelings. For example if she says “I just don’t feel like a woman after having the surgery” my advice for husbands would be to respond with “I understand that must be hard for you, here are ways I feel you are still the same woman you have always been (list ways…)” Do not respond by dismissing her, this will only lead to the breakdown of communication between the two of you and her feeling hurt.
She may also find she needs to speak to a therapist, which is totally normal after such life-changing surgery. I had therapy after mine as I was struggling with the infertility aspect (I was very young and wanted more children) and so it was good to talk about this. If you think she is struggling but she doesn’t open up to you, you could suggest this to her.
If you think she is struggling and won’t talk to you or a therapist perhaps you could enlist the help of a close friend of hers, or a family member. You will be the one spending the most time with her and noticing the most changes, so if something seems wrong it may be a good idea to chat to someone else too.
There are lots of support groups for hysterectomy and I often see husbands post asking for advice, so don’t be embarrassed. I recommended a facebook one call ‘Hysterectomy support and shared experiences’
Summary | Advice for husbands after a hysterectomy | How can you support your wife emotionally after a hysterectomy
- Be aware that the physically scars will heal quicker than the emotional ones
- Validate her feelings
- Keep the line of communication open by talking
- See if she wants to speak to a therapist
- Speak to a trusted friend or family member for help if she won’t talk to you
Hopefully, this advice has helped you and if you found this blog and have read it right up to the end here then I think you are incredible and will make your wife very proud by how much support you can now offer her.
If you want to ask me any questions you can email me [email protected] I answer all my emails and I love hearing from you all.