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Losing Weight After a Hysterectomy

written by: Robin Hawkins • edited by: lrohner • updated: 11/28/2010

Many women find that losing weight after a hysterectomy is a challenge. While there may not be a magical formula for post-hysterectomy weight loss, there are some tips to make weight loss after hysterectomy more manageable.

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    Is Weight Gain After a Hysterectomy Normal?

    While not everyone will gain weight after having a hysterectomy, it remains a very common concern for those that undergo this surgery. When a woman’s ovaries are removed as a part of this procedure, her body is immediately pushed into menopause. These ovaries produce hormones; estrogen and progesterone. When the ovaries are removed, these hormone levels are drastically reduced, throwing the overall hormone balances in the body into a skewed state. This hormonal shift has an effect on the metabolism—the rate at which your body burns calories, as well as where this weight is commonly distributed—around the middle.

    Another reason for weight gain after a hysterectomy could be due to the recovery period after having surgery. Bed rest and limited activity, while still taking in the same amount of calories, is believed to be a common denominator in weight gain after major surgeries.

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    How To Lose Weight After a Hysterectomy

    One way that some women find help in losing weight after a hysterectomy is by addressing the hormonal imbalances that occur due to the surgery. Although managing hormonal treatment is believed to be a process of trial and error, some women do find success with weight loss after a hysterectomy with hormonal treatment. It is important to work closely with your physician when trying to decide if this type of treatment is a good option for you.

    The basic formula for losing weight after a hysterectomy remains the same as it always has: burn more calories than you take in through a well-balanced diet and exercise. After a hysterectomy, it is recommended to get in at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise each day. If 30 minutes at once is not possible for you, this time can be broken up into shorter, more intense segments throughout the day. Walking, jogging, bicycling, aerobics and swimming are all great forms of cardiovascular exercise. Increasing your heart rate will burn calories and rev up your metabolism.

    Weight loss after hysterectomy surgery can also be aided with dietary changes. Establish permanent eating habits that include watching portion sizes, increasing protein intake and decreasing your intake of simple carbohydrates. Keep your food choices to more natural options with little processing. Count calories for a while if you need a guide or starting point for what your caloric intake is.

    Strength training is a great way to build muscle and subsequently give your metabolism a boost. Muscle burns more calories than fat, and after a hysterectomy, adding weights to your workout can aid in weight loss and counteracting the hormonal shift that occurs due to the hysterectomy. Ideally, you should be strength training three times a week. Work your way up to doing three sets of 15 reps with each exercise. The weights should be heavy enough so your muscles feel physically challenged by the end of each set.

    The debate is still out there on whether or not weight gain after a hysterectomy is due to hormonal shifts or lack of activity after surgery. No matter what your experience, if you make any one or several of these positive changes to your lifestyle, you are bound to see some weight loss after hysterectomy.

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    The Estronaut: "Weight Gain After a Hysterectomy":