Endometriosis UK
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Is 6 weeks too early to go back to work after a total abdominal hysterectomy - GP says yes I can go back as that's long enough!

I have had a TAH, 3lb fibroid removed, 20 week sized uterus removed on the 24th Sept. I have had severe endo and the op lasted 3 hours. I am now 6 weeks post op and decided to go to my GP as my Gynae appointment is not until 27th November and my sick note is due to run out this Thursday 8th November.

I asked my GP for another sick note for 6 weeks. I told him that I work as a Teaching Assistant in a local primary school, I start work at 7.45 as I run a breakfast club until 9 am, then I go straight into class until 11.45 and then I work as a welfare assistant. I explained that it's a very long day and there is a lot of bending, lifting, children hugging and running into you and that this term is a very stressful term what with Christmas etc. My GP said oh you are ok with lifting as everything is healed by 6 weeks and won't cause any damage. I asked him for another sick note as I didn't feel ready and could I have another one for 6 weeks. He said he thinks I'm pulling a fast one and that it's too long!! I said that the school are brilliant and that the head teacher told me that they do not expect my back until after Christmas. He wasn't agreeing with that. He thinks I'm swinging the lead!! He reluctantly gave me 4 weeks .

I feel really hurt by his remarks as he went onto tell me when he had a serious operation on his stomach and how painful it e was etc. What about me then??? Have I not been through it?

Sorry about the rant.

Does anyone else think that 6 weeks in too early? Is 10 weeks too early or the right time to go back. I appreciate everyone is different and we all recover in different ways etc but would like to hear from others who have/are going through the same.

Many thats for reading this.


10 Replies


Its a tough one, as you've said everyone is different and 6 weeks is only the standard time recommended by the hospitals etc. My mum went back to work after 4 weeks and it was probably a bit early, a woman I work with came back after 8 weeks - she had the initial 6 week sick note and then renewed it weekly.

Only you know when you will be well enough and ready to go back - however, I dont want to sound negative, but I dont think asking for another 6 weeks note in one go was necessarily the best idea as you have no idea how you will feel in 4, 5, 6 weeks time etc, and another 6 weeks is a long time. You may well need another 6 weeks, but you could also feel a lot better in another 3 weeks time. Sick notes are now Fit notes, the doctor is declaring that you are not fit to work, not whether you are sick or not e.g. they could declare you fit to work but on certain conditions, e.g. only on reduced hours for a number of weeks etc until you are fully recovered.

With hindsight maybe the doctor would have reacted better if you had told him that you dont feel ready and asked for another week/two weeks and then you could go back when that note runs out if you still didnt feel ready and ask for another week/2 weeks etc.

My friend is a GP and she really takes offence to patients requesting specific amounts of time off (its her pet hate!) as there are so many people that do try to push their luck and its her job to determine how long a patient should be signed off for. Because of this I now wait and see how long the doctor signs me off for first, and only query it if I think its too short. I'm definitely not saying you are one of those people but there are a lot of them out there which is probably why your doctor reacted like he did.

Take you time, I hope you have a speedy recovery and hopefully you will feel a lot better after another 4 weeks.

Hayls x


Thank you for that Hayls. I know what you are saying and agree with that how can I possibly know how I will feel in say 3, 4 or 5 weeks time. All my colleagues at school/work keep saying oh you will need 12 weeks at least and don't come back until after Christmas. I've said that it depends on myself and what the Doctor says really. I feel better :) It's just the attitude of my GP at first saying I was pushing it a bit. I'm not like that at all and wouldn't want to be - I've always worked and not had much time off. I just wanted to know what the guidelines were about major ops etc.

Thanks again :)



Hi again

I'm glad you didn't take offence as i was a bit worried after I posted it as didn't want to upset you. It's really good your work is being so supportive, thats a weight off your mibd at least. I was thinking on the way home that it's good that you've got your gynae appointment in a couple if weeks as you'll be able to discuss you recovery etc with him instead of your GP

Hayls x


Do not attempt to go back to work, I had a total hyst similar to yrs and was told by my consultant before the op I would be off for 3 mths in the end I needed 4 mths off. Ladies who just have a womb removed are given 6 weeks off to recover, it a much longer period for total hyst. You cannot lift anything etc and the risk of working with children would put and them at risk as not being so mobile, can you see another gp or tel your consultant to ask if they can give you a note. If your employer is saying they feel you should be off longer that should also be taken into consideration,you may be not fit to work on health and safety grounds


i find this so annoying. I have not had a hysterectomy, yet, but most of my family have, my nan, my mum, aunties and most recently my sister, all before the age of 40, my mum and aunties were 33, i have many troubles and try to think positive that maybe i will be the odd one out but hey ho - but anyway, a hysterectomy is a very serious operation however it is performed, and 3 months off work should be the absolute minimum depending on what job you do. it takes months for the insides to heal properly, and very heavy lifting is restricted for 12 months, as my sister found out after 8 months post op, feeling great and without thinking went out to mow the lawn, and after had the most awful bleed, which proves your body needs time to repair itself, otherwise you will end up with prolapsed bowel or bladder or both in later life, with the removal of the womb and whatever else then the body needs to rebuild its support for the other bits.



I'm so glad it's not just me thinking I do need longer off as I'm not as mobile at the moment and as I'm looking after 4 year olds I'm on my feet all day and running around after them! When I got home I thought maybe I should go back I'm better now and started to feel guilty. But I've had major surgery, been suffering with endo for years and want to be totally fit before going back and if it takes 3 months then so be it.

I haven't really thought about going to see another GP at my surgery but suppose I could do but as my appointment with the consultant is on the 27th Nov I will wait until then. There must be some guidelines with regard to time off work etc when you have had the kind of surgery that we have had. It takes a while to recover physically and mentally.

I will chat to my gynae and see what he says. He may be able to sign me off work for a little longer if he sees fit to do so. Christmas term at school is a very busy and stressful time as there are all kinds of things going on.

Once you are back at work people tend to forget and so do you that you have had major surgery and end up lifting things etc and putting yourself out.

Thank you ladies

take care :)


Hi I just had a radical... I had Ovarian Cancer... I had surgery on Oct 28th and was told I will be out at least till after 12/30 so that is lil over 2 months... It does take ur stomach 12 months to heal completely. some people are diff. everyone heals diff and reacts to pain diff... I think 2 mos is too soon I should be out at least 3 - now I have a wall of fluid built up on my right side so I prob will be out a lil longer


Shelly -this thread is over a year old. Just check each post to see how long it has been on the forum before responding- quite a few of these posters will have long left the forum.


Hi i am new to all this, but i have just had a TAH and i am a Barber by trade and have been told 6wks for recovery due to standing, but i am going out of my mind with bordem, don't get me wrong im very sore and am glad of the rest but i couldn't be off more than 6 wks. I am going to see my GP after a month to see how things are going, but like i have been told, you must rest and yes we all recover in different ways, your GP dosent sound very sympathetic and you should maybe consider changing!!! Anyhow good luck and best wishes....


Hi - yes this series of posts are very old- and even 5 years on very helpful to people who are struggling with similar issues-

how unkind of you to say this to Shelly. If you do have any knowledge or expertise in this field- how about signposting her regarding what she says at the end of her post? Health unlocked has not worked for me due to people with astoundingly unkind attitudes to my health issues in the past and then the one time I engage again after having a hysterectomy and this is what I read- this is dispiriting. I would encourage women to stand together and support one another, and at least give each other the benefit of the doubt.

I sign off feeling sad but confident in knowing that we are all responsible for how we are in the world, and I for one, want to have a positive effect of those who reach out to me. Maybe online forums are just not for me and I have been unlucky, but I urge any one who reads this to look into their own heart before they respond from 'impatience' or any other damaged part of themselves.

With warmth and faith in the greater proportion of human beings



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