Bleeding After a Hysterectomy

Recovering completely from a hysterectomy usually takes six to eight weeks. It is normal to expect some amount of bleeding during this time. However, if the bleeding doesn't get lighter over time, that is not normal.

This article will explain the difference between normal and abnormal bleeding and how to know when to call your healthcare provider.

Woman with hand on lower stomach
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Normal vs. Abnormal Bleeding

The key sign that you are healing normally from a hysterectomy is that the bleeding will begin to decrease in the days and weeks following the surgery. A sudden and significant increase in bleeding is considered abnormal.

Bleeding should never be too heavy at any point in your recovery. Heavy bleeding during recovery should be reported to your surgeon immediately. This also goes for any symptoms of infection, such as a fever. You should also call your healthcare provider if you have any signs of a neurogenic bladder. This is a condition in which there is damage to the nerves that control your bladder, resulting in difficulties with urination.

When to Call a Healthcare Provider

  • If there is bright red vaginal bleeding
  • If you have a temperature over 100.4 F
  • If you have severe nausea or vomiting
  • If the pain is increasing
  • If there is redness, swelling, or drainage at the incision site
  • If you have difficulty urinating or pain with urination

Bright red blood indicates an active bleed. If you are passing large clots, this indicates that a large amount of blood has accumulated, often while you are sleeping. If you are experiencing either of these, seek medical attention right away.

Other Concerns

Bleeding too much after surgery can lead to anemia. Anemia occurs when the amount of red blood cells in your blood drops below normal. This can cause symptoms including fatigue, dizziness, headaches, and easy bruising. (If you are extremely fatigued after a few days following surgery with or without bleeding, you should also give your doctor a call.)

Blood tests may be used to confirm an anemia diagnosis. Imaging tests can help pinpoint the source of the bleeding. Anemia may be treated with iron supplements. Sometimes it is necessary to receive a blood transfusion to restore your red blood cell count (RBC) and prevent complications.

You should be able to return to having sexual intercourse eight weeks after your surgery. Having sex too soon may not only be painful but end up promoting bleeding. If you note any bleeding after resuming intercourse, be sure to report it to your provider.

According to research published in Obstetrics & Gynecology, post-operative infection occurs in 10.5% of abdominal hysterectomies, 13% of vaginal hysterectomies, and 9% of laparoscopic hysterectomies.

Summary

Some bleeding after a hysterectomy is normal. However, the bleeding should lessen over time. Heavy bleeding can be a sign of a complication and can cause you to become anemic in some cases.

A Word From Verywell

Being aware of what kind of bleeding is normal and what's not will help you know when to call your healthcare provider and avoid any complications.

Keep in mind that once you've recovered from a hysterectomy, you should not experience vaginal bleeding at all.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can you still get your period after a hysterectomy?

    No. You no longer menstruate after a hysterectomy. If you begin bleeding vaginally after healing from a hysterectomy, you should contact your healthcare provider. It could be a sign of various disorders, including:

    • Atrophic vaginitis
    • Cervical cancer
    • Tumors
    • Endometriosis (particularly on the bowels)
    • Bladder disorder
  • How common is it to have endometriosis recur after a hysterectomy?

    If the ovaries are not removed with the hysterectomy, the risk of recurrence is fairly high. One study found the prevalence to be about 62% when ovaries remained versus a 10% risk when ovaries were removed.

  • How do I manage constipation after a hysterectomy?

    Right after surgery, you will need to wait for the anesthesia, which can cause constipation, to wear off. As you heal, make sure you stay well hydrated, begin walking regularly as soon as you are able, and include fiber-rich foods in your diet to help regulate your bowels.

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6 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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