Vaginal Hysterectomy Recovery: What to Expect

What is a hysterectomy and why is it done?

Hysterectomy is a surgical procedure in which the uterus is removed. There are several types of hysterectomy.

A partial hysterectomy is when only the upper part of the uterus is removed and your cervix is left in place. This is also known as a supracervical hysterectomy.

A total hysterectomy is when both the uterus and cervix are removed.

A radical hysterectomy, or a total hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, is when the uterus and cervix are removed along with surrounding structures, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes.

The most common reason for a hysterectomy is uterine fibroids. Others reasons include:

There are three ways to perform a hysterectomy:

The method will be based on the reason for the surgery, plus other health considerations.

In the United States, hysterectomy is the second most common surgery among women, after cesarean delivery.

Continue reading to learn more about vaginal hysterectomy and what to expect during recovery.

Before the day of your surgery, youll receive information on how to prepare. This may involve blood and urine tests, as well as an enema or other bowel prep.

As you are prepped for surgery, an IV will be placed in your arm to deliver fluids and medications. Your pubic area will be cleaned with antiseptic solution, and then shaved.

You wont have an abdominal incision, but its still surgery, so youll need general anesthesia. Or you may have an epidural instead of general anesthesia.

A tube will be placed down your throat to help you breathe. Another tube helps to remove gas from your stomach. These tubes are generally inserted and removed while youre asleep.

A catheter may be inserted into your bladder to handle urine. Compression stockings are used to help prevent blood clots in your legs while youre in surgery.

The surgeon will use long instruments through a vaginal incision to detach your uterus from the following:

The uterus will then be removed through the vagina. Some doctors use a laparoscope to assist in a vaginal hysterectomy.

Dissolvable stitches will be used to close the incision. The surgery takes from one to three hours.

Youll be given medication to prevent infection, plus a pain reliever, if necessary. You should be in the recovery room for an hour or two while your vital signs are monitored.

After that, youll be transferred to a room. Before long, youll be asked to stand up and move around a bit.

Its not unusual to have a few cramps or feel a little bloated following a hysterectomy. Most women also have a bloody vaginal discharge after a hysterectomy that is normally a brownish color and may have a slight odor. This can continue for a few days to several weeks.

Recovery time for a vaginal hysterectomy is shorter than for an abdominal hysterectomy. Youll be able to leave the hospital after a day or two, depending on how well you are recovering. The hospital will provide you with instructions regarding driving, bathing, and showering.

Youll be able to enjoy a normal diet and move around as much as is comfortable. Try to move a little bit more every day. For the first four weeks or so, youll be advised not to lift anything that weighs more than 10 pounds.

It usually takes three to six weeks for a full recovery and return to normal activities, including sexual intercourse.

Follow up with your doctor as advised.

A vaginal hysterectomy is less risky than an abdominal hysterectomy, but any surgery can have complications. Some of these are:

Let your doctor know if you experience any of the following symptoms:

Certain things will change after your hysterectomy. How you feel about those changes depends on the reasons for the surgery and your life circumstances. Its a very personal process, but these are some of the changes you can expect:

Menstruation: You wont have any more periods or need to buy feminine hygiene products.

Contraception: Youll never need birth control again. But youll still need to protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Routine Pap tests: If you no longer have a cervix, and your surgery was for reasons other than precancer or cancer, you may no longer need Pap tests. Ask your doctor if routine Pap tests are necessary for you.

Sexuality: Sexual function should return to normal after you fully recover from a hysterectomy. Depending on the reasons for your surgery, you may find it more pleasurable, since periods and birth control are no longer an issue.

Hormonal changes: If you still have your ovaries, you wont experience hormonal changes. If your ovaries were removed, menopause will follow. You may experience symptoms of menopause that include:

If symptoms become a problem, talk to your doctor about possible remedies. You may also need to increase your intake of calcium and vitamin D. If menopausal symptoms are severe, hormone replacement therapy may be an option.

Emotional changes: Everyone reacts differently to surgery and many things can affect your emotions, including hormonal changes. Depending on why you needed surgery and your feelings about fertility, you may experience a range of emotions.

This is normal, so dont hesitate to discuss it with your doctor, especially if you have feelings of depression.

Overall, a vaginal hysterectomy involves less time in the hospital and a faster recovery time. Unless you had complications, its also likely to cost less than an abdominal hysterectomy.

Most women make a full recovery and can resume normal activity within six weeks.

Follow your hospitals discharge instructions. After a vaginal hysterectomy, it might be tempting to try to speed up recovery, but that can actually set you back and increase recovery time. Instead, try to follow these tips:

Originally posted here:
Vaginal Hysterectomy Recovery: What to Expect

Related Post

Comments are closed.