Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Hysterectomy Recovery For Runners: the phrase that is most searched that reaches my blog.  I thought I'd take the time to complete a follow up on my hysterectomy related to running.

It’s been 4 years since my radical complete hysterectomy. Time has really moved along!  I had it all removed vaginally: the  uterus, the fallopian tubes, the ovaries, the cervix. I had surgery at Mayo in Rochester after my mother, grandmother and aunts were diagnosed with ovarian cancer and cervical cancer.  I had been having a vaginal ultrasound and CA125 (blood test) every 6 months since my Mother’s diagnosis, 9  years ago. Once the tumors on my ovaries began to grow and my CA125 began to increase, it was time to go under the knife.

First of all, there is SO MUCH MISINFORMATION regarding running and hysterectomy!  Who writes that shit? I was truly scared that I wouldn’t run again after all of the garbage I read. I even read from multiple sources that women NEED high levels of estrogen to run. Why? How? What? Ridiculous!

After I had decided to have the hysterectomy I began to look up articles relating to women, hysterectomy and ultra running. There isn’t much out there. I found a site called Hystersisters that had a few running articles available from women but most were dismal, depressing and had the ‘why me’ syndrome. Give me a break.

(if you click on  Hysterectomy  on the left bar you will find all of my hysterectomy related posts)

So, yes, I do run. I run many miles. I love running now just as much as I did prior to hysterectomy.  If you are here researching running and hysterectomy let me tell you that YOU WILL RUN again!  Do not fear that you will have to sit on the couch and become inactive other than the bon bons to the mouth syndrome. Not so. There are changes, however.

I am 50 now. I had my surgery at 46. I hadn’t even started menopause and I believe that banging full force into menopause via hysterectomy is more difficult on one that mellowing up to it…naturally experiencing  a reduction of hormones. I began hot flashes while in the hospital, the day after the surgery. They are still constant and very intense but hey, I can live with them. I no longer change my sheets during the middle of the night..I just go back to sleep in a pile of wet sheets. I became very tired of changing sheets every night. Forget it!

Due to the constant hot flashes I now keep the house at 67F. I’m never cold. I used to keep the house at 72F. No thanks! 

At work I always froze. FROZE!  I wore multiple layers and never removed them. I wore lots of fleece. Now I wear 2 layers and always remove one during the day.

I run with many zippers! I sometimes feel like a hot sausage running down the trail. Zippers allow me to let the steam escape and cool down. Whew! Then I get cold and zip back up.

After the hysterectomy I incurred injury. I experienced a double-whammy. While recovering from hysterectomy I laid upon the couch, looking at my iPhone and iPad, I watched TV with my neck to my chin..I guess. Apparently that movement caused stress upon my spine. I didn’t know it until July, but I herniated two discs in my upper spine-neck at this time.  Painful as hell.

(if you click on herniated discs on the left you will see my posts relating to the discs)

I began to walk slowly in the week  following surgery and by week  two I was walking 4-5 miles each day. Really!

At 6 weeks my surgeon released my restrictions and told me to run freely!  I did!  I was feeling fabulous and began to train for a March half marathon. It went great-other than a bit of dizziness. 

click on Get Luck Half Marathon for the report

After a few months I was feeling a numbness in my right arm. I thought it was due to reaching for the phone at work but eventually was in so much fricken pain I couldn’t run. That is when I learned I had herniated discs. Ugh!

That recovery sucked big time – 4 months or so, but eventually all was well in my world and I was running hundreds again and completely forgot about the herniated discs that I had.

Fast forward a few years and I roll my ankle at Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon. Fractured Ankle.  Superior 100 a few months later. Broken Ankle.Same Ankle. I didn't let it heal.

While recovering from the broken ankle I became depressed.  My mom had passed away from ovarian cancer, my nest was going to become empty soon as Troy would be leaving for college, I was gaining weight with the inactivity. I went to my doctor who I've had since 1991 and decided to go on an antidepressant. They help.

After the ankle healed I went off the antidepressant and continued with my running goals. I thoroughly enjoyed last year. I had a great year. Ran a few marathons, 50Ks, 50 milers and two hundreds. Love that. The depression lifted.

Then Morton’s Neuroma  reared its ugly head.  I found myself depressed, went back on the anti depressant and am now healing. Thank goodness! Now, men have broken ankles and neuroma and this probably isn’t all due to hysterectomy. It’s just ironic that I have rolled ankles before but never broke one!  I had never worn Hokas with a roll though, before, either.  These injuries are probably due to overuse, age, hysterectomy, a bit of everything. 

But why aren't there many women in their 50s and 60s running 100s? That's my big question. I don't understand. In our 50s our children are grown and gone..I would think we have more time to spend to train and travel. Wouldn't it be a great time to run ultras?

After receiving the blood work, blood pressure, cholesterol counts and scale weight at the clinic I had a long conversation with my awesome doctor and we knew what I needed to do to change those results. We went through all of my data. We spoke of what is different now from when I had my healthiest test results. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, all runs rampant in my family. My numbers were best while I was eating a vegan diet 2008-2010. Interestingly enough I ran all my PRS from 50K to 100 mile during that time.

(If you click vegan on the left bar you’ll see the related posts)

(if you click Leanhorse you will see the vegan training/outcome)

Just  know, you will run again after hysterectomy. It doesn’t have to have any bearing upon your running at all. Don’t use it as a reason NOT to have hysterectomy. Hysterectomy will affect other areas of your life- you may experience some depression, some weight gain, some injuries, some hot flashes, some memory loss..or you may not..but it doesn’t have to change anything  about your running! You will run again!

If you have ANY questions relating to running and hysterectomy or anything else, please ask! Drop me a comment, let me know how you are dealing with hysterectomy and running or what your fears may be.


Julie B said...

Thank I you, Olga!! Right on!

Anonymous said...

Thanks! I needed to see this.

Anonymous said...

Great article. I’ve been up for two nights researching this topic. After reading this topic on hystrsister, ended up in tears feeling like my life was over. How are you doing now?

chrislezotte said...

I am 69 and started running in my 30s. In my 60s I started running half marathons and 10ks, and usually place in my age group. Due to a recently discovered pelvic mass the size of a softball, I will be having a total hysterectomy in 3 weeks. I have no symptoms; the mass was discovered during a routine pelvic exam. Being an old runner as well as old hysterectomy candidate, i can’t find anything that relates to my current circumstances. I love to run and hope that my current fitness level will allow me to continue after recovery from the surgery.

Unknown said...

Seriously, thank you for this! My doc is recommending one & tells me that at 55 my running days may be over. ���� All the articles online are either frightening or vaguely useless. I only have 1 runner friend in my age group that’s had the surgery & for 3 years all I’ve heard about was how she can’t run because of pelvic floor issues.

Jamally said...

Hey everyone I had total.laparascopic.hysterectomy 5th Dec 2018
I run, teach lift.weights so you.can imagine what a mind f@#k it.was not able to do any of these things
Day 4 I was walking , no abdo pain nothing
I'm into week.4 now.had my morning only 30 mins I felt great apart from.tightened hammies and hips.which Iam foam rolling out
On my spin bike 40 mins a day.and feel awesome
So.far no complications
I.dont heavy lift at all haven't ventured back to the gym yet,.I don't.twist or.vaccum nor do I lift.heavy grocery bags
Listen to your body we are all.different I believe trust in what your body.can do.and it will.deliver.
Stay well folks
Ally from New Zealand age 50

Unknown said...

Thank you so much!! I am 4 weeks post op and up to 2 mile walk weekly and daily 20 mins routinely. I have my 1st ultra this year and doc wanted so badly to returning to run.. Just waiting for my final clearance. But you are right not much put there to running and hysterectomy.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much!! I am 4 weeks post op and up to 2 mile walk weekly and daily 20 mins routinely. I have my 1st ultra this year and doc wanted so badly to returning to run.. Just waiting for my final clearance. But you are right not much put there to running and hysterectomy.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for this. I've been going crazy researching this topic and can't find much inspiration. I'm 2 WPO and can't wait to get back to my normal routine, working out!

Much Love,


Jen said...

Thank you for sharing your experience. Im at week 2 of recovery following total vaginal hysterectomy and still having pain. I miss running and worried after reading so many articles on pelvic floor issues following hysterectomy.