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Frequently Asked Questions

We have prepared a comprehensive guide of hysterectomy FAQs. Explore our FAQs to gain a deeper understanding of hysterectomy and navigate your journey with confidence. This information is designed to address common queries, communicate potential risks and benefits, recovery timelines, and postoperative care.

Getting ready for your procedure

Is it normal to have feelings of general anxiety about having a Hysterectomy?

It is normal to feel a general anxiety surrounding having a hysterectomy as may be felt before any major surgical procedure or operation. If you feel you are particularly nervous or anxious about the operation, please discuss these feelings with your doctor.

Where can I find additional information or videos about the procedure?

Further information including videos and information sheets are available from the homepage of this website. If you have any questions that are not answered, please get in contact with your doctor who will be able to answer these for you.

How can I find updates on progress of the hysterectomy process?

Your doctor will keep you updated with the process of getting your hysterectomy. Depending on the reason for having a hysterectomy, the time from booking to having the surgery may vary.

After your procedure

Where can I access general medical advice related to post-operative period?

You can discuss with your doctor any questions you have surrounding the medical aspects of the post operative period. This can occur either during one of your pre-operative visits, or post operative checkups. If you have any concerns post operatively, do not hesitate to get in contact with your doctor to discuss.

What if I experience changes in bowel habits in the post-operative period?

Changes in bowel habits post-operatively can occur, but are relatively uncommon. These changes usually return to normal once the healing process is complete and once you return to normal levels of physical activity and dietary intake. Regular light exercise, adequate hydration and a balanced diet often help to return to normal bowel habits faster. Longer term changes in bowel habits are rare but can occur due to adhesions, which may need to be rectified by an additional surgery.

Can I experience catheter related bladder irritation in the post-operative period?

Sometimes bladder irritation can be experienced in the post operative period due to the use of a urinary catheter during and immediately post surgery. A urinary catheter is a thin plastic tube inserted into the bladder through the urethra to allow urine to freely drain out. Bladder irritation will generally settle over the first few days post surgery. Urinary infection can sometimes occur with catheter usage. This is one of the more common complications from hysterectomy surgeries, and may occur in 2-5% of patients. This is usually rectified by a course of simple antibiotics.

What if I have a feeling of a sense of loss post-hysterectomy?

A feeling of loss post hysterectomy may occur, this can be for many different reasons, and each of these are personal and individual to each patient experiencing them. One of the more common reasons for this feeling of loss is that a hysterectomy represents an end to your childbearing years. If you feel that you need to discuss this further, a discussion with your doctor or referral to counsellor may be advisable.

The first six weeks

How much bleeding is normal in the first 6-weeks post-operatively?

Bleeding is generally encountered with most surgical procedures. Usually that bleeding is minor, but in some cases it can be heavier. It is rare for excessive bleeding to occur, where transfusions or blood products may be needed. It is normal to experience post operative bleeding through the vagina for one to two weeks. This can begin with no bleeding then experience a gush of blood, or sometimes be a steady slower bleed or spotting. Sanitary pads should be used rather than tampons. If any heavy bleeding is experienced, please contact your doctor.

Things that increase bleeding risk include blood thinning drugs (i.e. aspirin, clopidogrel, warfarin), and some alternative medicines (i.e. fish oil)

How much abdominal/pelvic pain is to be expected LESS than 6-weeks post-operatively?

Pain and discomfort immediately following the surgery and for the first few days is common, however this is usually well managed with medications and simple analgesia. Non-medicinal analgesia, like heat packs can also be useful to relieve discomfort. Note: baths should be avoided for the first four to six weeks, or until all wounds have healed. If your pain is not well controlled with the medications prescribed by your doctor, or by simple analgesia (i.e. paracetamol), please get in contact with your doctor to discuss.

After the first six weeks

How much abdominal/pelvic pain is to be expected GREATER than 6-weeks post-operatively?

Sometimes chronic (long-term) pain can develop after a hysterectomy surgery. If you develop ongoing pain, please contact your doctor to assess the potential cause of the pain.

What is a normal amount of fatigue to be expected GREATER than 6-weeks post-operatively?

It is common to feel tired or fatigued in the early stages post-surgery. this is often during the time where your body is doing most of the healing. It is important that you get plenty of rest during this time. If the fatigue lasts longer than six-weeks, please get in contact with your doctor to discuss potential causes. 

Returning to daily activities

When am I able to do strenuous exercise?

Hysterectomy is a major operation, and recovery is influenced by many differing factors including: pre-operative health and general fitness, type of hysterectomy (abdominal, vaginal or laparoscopic), co-morbidities, age, among other things. Remaining active is important, however ensure adequate rest should you feel tired. General guidance indicates that heavy lifting or straining should be avoided for the first four to six weeks after surgery to avoid the complication of a hernia (weakness at the incision site).  Gym and swimming should be avoided for the first four weeks.

When can I drive after surgery?

You should not drive a motor vehicle during the first week after surgery. Before returning to driving, please ensure your doctor has signed you off as fit to drive. 

When can I have sex after surgery?

Sexual intercourse and placing anything in the vagina should be avoided for the first 8 weeks post surgery. This is to ensure the vagina has sufficient time to heal to avoid potential infections or sutures in the vagina from pulling apart. 

When can I return to work?

It is recommended that you take the first two weeks off work to recover, followed by a staged return to work which may involve only returning for half days the following week. Different employment requires differing levels of physical activity or demands. More physically demanding jobs may require more time off to fully recover prior to recommencing. 

Last updated 06 Feb 2024