Feed Bags, Hay, and Hysterectomy

I am 2 weeks post op from a full hysterectomy. It was done as laparoscopic surgery and all was taken out except my ovaries. So far, I’ve been a good patient and have heeded all warnings regarding lifting and bending. I’ve been increasing my walking little by little and I’m trying everything in my power to heal correctly and safely. While at my post op appointment with my doctor yesterday, we were discussing the eventual lifting of heavier items around 50lbs such as feed bags, hay, and pushing a full wheelbarrow. The plan is to not even try for at least a year (which is fine!), but she acted like it may never be possible and that I would always be at risk for a prolapse of my bladder. My husband does much of the heavy lifting daily as we live on our own small farm, but he travels for work and sometimes I’ll be on my own to do it. So my question is for those who have had a hysterectomy, have you eventually been able to go back to lifting these things?

I’ve read the other threads on riding after a hysterectomy, but none addressed this particular issue. Any insight is greatly appreciated!

Interesting. Lifting heavy things was never mentioned past the initial six week no lifting anything heavier than a gallon of milk restriction.

So to answer your question - I clean my own stalls, carry my own feed bags and just put up several hundred bales of hay.

Does your doctor have this concern about you lifting because of something specific in your anatomy or is this what they tell everyone? Maybe ask about going to physical therapy to get exercises to help you strengthen what needs to be strengthened so you can do those things?


Thanks for responding trubandloki. That makes me feel better that you are able to do those things. My doctor said that everything inside looked very well supported so she didn’t have any concerns from that perspective. That’s why I was a bit surprised. My guess is that it may be the standard answer for everyone. Maybe she has to say that from a liability standpoint? I was just curious to hear from real horse people to see if, in reality, there were any complications. However, I realize that everyone is different.

There are a few different ways to connect the stuff left inside after a hysterectomy. That your surgeon says no heavy lifting perhaps ever is concerning that whatever method she’s using is driving that request.

I’d speak with her about the nitty gritty of WHY she has that restriction. This is really not one to rely on feedback from other patients, as they may have had a slightly different procedure.

Well, my initial reaction to the advice you received was to call BS. I had a total hysterectomy via open incision 17 years ago, and I can remember carefully carrying firewood logs 3 months post-op. I’ve been carrying hay bales and 50-lb. feed sacks and pushing a full wheelbarrow all this time, and I’ve never had a problem with my bladder or anything else related to my abdomen. My doc never said anything specific about heavy weights, just not to lift over 5 pounds for the first 6 weeks after surgery. After that, I just did what I felt like I could do, and if it hurt I didn’t do it. And I’m sure that, with an open incision, my abdominal muscles needed a lot more recuperation than yours will.

It will likely be at least several months before you can lift hay bales and feed bags, so be patient with yourself and listen to your body. If it hurts, don’t do it. But yes, most likely one of these days you’ll be hauling hay and won’t even think about your hysterectomy.

1 Like

I had a splenectomy years ago…it was an exploratory surgery so I was filleted from just below my bust line to my pubic area. I lift everything, and as mentioned above, paid attention and didn’t do anything that was painful early on. I know it’s not the same surgery but hope this is helpful somehow.

Simkie, I agree that I shouldn’t (and won’t) rely on the feedback from other patients and will continue to have the conversation and follow doctor’s orders. I am just curious what others were told and have experienced. It wasn’t that my doctor explicitly said NO it will never be possible. It’s more that she sort of shrugged her shoulders and said well…maybe you will be fine…maybe you won’t…but that I will always run a risk. I will definitely ask her if there was any particular situation in my surgery that made her respond that way at my next post op.

OzarksRider, so glad you recovered so well! I’m not planning on doing any heavy lifting soon. In fact, probably not for at least 12 months. I’m all about erring on the side of caution and trying to heal well. Lighter stuff maybe at 12 weeks if my doctor clears me but I’m really in no rush. Besides, I’m sort of enjoying the fact that my husband is cleaning the house for me! I’m willing to milk this for as long as possible. Haha!

I had a radical hysterectomy in January 2020. Full abdominal incision, cut hip to hip. Had a previous C-section 30 years prior.

I had restrictions with a weight limit of 10 lbs. for the first 6 weeks, then was cleared to go back to regular lifting, which my doctor knew involved things like hay bales and feed bags. (I actually am supposed to keep the lifting to 30 lbs. because I have an aneurysm, but will occasionally do a little heavier if absolutely necessary.)

I have not had an issues with my bladder or anything else related to the hysterectomy. My only regret is I wish I had it done sooner!

Talk to your doctor! Ask lots of questions! I have never been one to “doctor” much, but what I have learned since my aneurysm diagnosis is that you must be your own advocate. Part of that is asking as many questions as you need to in order to stay healthy!

I had a hysterectomy about 14 years ago and they left my ovaries as well. Mine was done vaginally, so I had no incision to heal. I did way too much , way too early but have had no problems since having it done.

No restrictions on anything was ever mentioned. I might have a thorough talk with your OBGYN or get a second opinion as to why they would put such drastic restrictions in place?

This is interesting. I know people who have had them done vaginally and they had an incision inside that had to heal up. One friend had issues with too much scar tissue that they had to go back in and take care of.

My OB never mentioned an incision that needed to heal but you know I never asked how they did the procedure. I didn’t want to know!

This is a concerning statement. Bladder prolapse isn’t conducive to continuing to lift stuff either.

The women I know that have had corrective surgery for bladder prolapse aren’t allowed to lift period.

I’d be cautious and discuss this more with your dr. You can creatively get around a fair bit of heavy lifting

This paper talks a bit about technique and risk of bladder prolapse in a laparoscopic procedure.

Definitely not all hysterectomies are the same. This article probably isn’t for the squeamish, but if you can get through it, it should help provide some background for your discussion with your doctor :slight_smile:

1 Like

I had a total pelvic floor reconstruction and the surgeon said he would not operate unless I promised never, ever again to lift more than a yet to be determined weight.
He said his reason, if I did I would be back to needing the same surgery again and second time around is much harder for everyone to do the work, it be successful and get over it.
I also had several weeks of 10 lb restriction, finally he agreed to the rare 50 lb sack of feed or bale of hay, just don’t make it a whole load.

I don’t have a problem with the restriction, use a dolly/ Gator/ tractor bucket or points with a pallet to handle heavier stuff, you can manage thru those restrictions by working smarter, not harder.

Ask your surgeon, he will know what is best in your case.
Mine was a whiz, did an absolutely amazing job on my innards, that are holding up wonderfully, considering the mess he found in there once operating, stuff where it should not have been.

Good luck that you find such miracle worker surgeon also.

1 Like

I agree with working smarter not harder!

But your examples confuse me. Do you get someone else to lift the hay/grain/heavy thing into the tractor bucket/gator/dolly?

I just can not think of a way to do farm chores that does not involve lifting at some point. Not talking about carrying that bag of feed 100’ over to there. I am talking about taking it out of the bed of the truck and putting it in the tractor bucket. That is still lifting.

Nope, dolly is loaded from the pickup bed by dropping sacks onto it, then wheeling to feed room and scooting it into place, not lifting and minimum pulling.
We use small bales of alfalfa at 68 lbs each the same, drop them off the stack, stand them up and slide dolly under them, wheel to feeding place across the barn.
Loading onto tractor same, bucket on the floor, manage loads with dolly or if close, end over end bales to bucket and slide into it.

Manure buckets low dumped directly into bucket, then driven to manure pile or spreader.
If lifting buckets onto Gator or pickup, just fill them light, more trips but lighter load to handle, etc.
You can also slide from pickup bed into tractor bucket lined up with said tailgate.

Have right now a crew building stalls.
They have learned from how I do it and can move big 16’ x 8’ metal stall frames into place by hooking one end with a dolly forward, other end one backwards and two people can easily get into places machinery can’t, now without hardly any effort.
It took before four people, one on each corner, struggling, to get them into place and is safer, won’t be falling on anyone that has problems moving and handling those heavy weights.


I’m not Bluey, but I do have a bum back atm and am avoiding lifting like the plague.

I back the bed of my golf cart up to bed of truck and push/roll/slide things from truck to golf cart. Back golf cart up to where I want things and push/roll/slide some more. Or back truck into barn and push/roll/slide onto a pallet or dolly. Occasionally, I pay delivery fees. My new fav is I drive horse trailer to hay dealer, they stack hay in trailer, I drive home and park trailer in barn. I plan purchases for days when my assistant is coming and pay her to unload whatever. Mr LS unloads as needed too. Do I occasionally end up lifting a bag of feet or bale of hay? Sure. But it’s a lot less now and if I was more careful I could reduce it even more. When I get frustrated, I ask myself if I’d rather lift this hay or be able to ride again one day.

When I had this surgery the ‘lifting’ restrictions included things like vacuuming. So I am thinking the no lifting includes - no dragging a crazy heavy thing across the bed of a truck and making it land just right.
I guess I should have explained that thought sooner.

I get that rolling and dragging are not actually lifting. But neither does vacuuming and it was totally on the list of not allowed things for those six weeks of recovery.

1 Like

That was temporary, I stacked bales of hay by each stall beforehand.
Feeding was merely putting out a flake from the bale, no lifting or dragging bales necessary.
If needing more than what was previously prepared, use dolly to bring part bales in flakes to feed, not whole bales.

No vacuuming, making beds and such is also because of the twisting and reaching out there etc.

The main idea of the restrictions is to slow down and not strain, not even to go to the bathroom.
That was another restriction, be sure to stay well hydrated and keep digestive system loose, don’t become constipated. :stuck_out_tongue:

1 Like

Not according to my doctor or my friend’s doctor (when she caused all kinds of damage by vacuuming).