How should I care for my incision after a hysterectomy?

If you've had an abdominal hysterectomy surgery, your incision will take longer to heal than the smaller incisions from a laparoscopic surgery. But basic care for the incisions is the same. Here's what to do:

You may take a shower after the first 48 hours, but do not soak in a bath, hot tub, or swimming pool. Wait until your incision is well healed (and any tape covering the incision has fallen off). It's okay to sit in a few inches of warm water—just don't let the water reach your incision, and don't put soap or shampoo in the water.

Call your doctor if you have any of these signs of infection:

  • Ongoing red bleeding from your incision. (It's normal to have a small amount of bloody discharge—but not red bleeding—at home.)
  • Redness, swelling, separation, odor, or yellowish drainage from your incision.
  • Fever of 100.4 degrees F (38.0 degrees C) or greater.
  • Flulike symptoms (for example, chills, body ache, fatigue, or headache).
  • Increase in pain, or pain medication that isn't working.

Note: If you've had a vaginal hysterectomy, you won't need to take care of the incision. The internal stitches will dissolve on their own. When this happens—usually about 2 weeks after surgery—your vaginal discharge may increase or reoccur.

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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.