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How do I care for myself after a hysterectomy?

Recovery is different for every woman, and has a lot to do with the type of surgery you’ve had. It can last anywhere from 3 to 8 weeks. (Be sure to follow the specific instructions of your own care team if they’re different from what you see here.)

Vaginal discharge
After a hysterectomy, it’s normal to have light vaginal discharge for up to 6 weeks. At first, the discharge tends to be bright red or pink. Gradually, it changes to a brownish or yellowish color. Here’s what to do to take care of yourself:

  • Use pads to absorb discharge. Change them every time you go to the bathroom.
  • Do not douche, use tampons, or have sex. Ask your doctor when it’s okay to do so.
  • Wipe front to back after going to the bathroom. This helps prevent infection.
  • Call your doctor if the discharge becomes foul-smelling, or if the discharge becomes heavier than a light menstrual period.
  • Get emergency care if your bleeding is heavier than a normal menstrual period, or if you pass bright red clots.

After a hysterectomy, your surgeon should give you a specific set of instructions of what you can and can not due, based on the type of hysterectomy. You should have someone available to drive you home, as most of these are outpatient procedures. You may have some significant pain, so your doctor will likely prescribe a pain killer for you. The wounds will be covered by your surgeon; most surgeons advise against taking a bath for at least seven days, but allow you to shower after 24 hours. You should plan to rest and relax for the first 48-72 hours following surgery. After that time, you'll be able to be up and around the house, but shouldn't be out running errands, etc. for about five days. You will also be restricted from any heavy lifting for about six to eight weeks. Most people are able to return to work after one to two weeks.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.