Bleeding After a Hysterectomy

Some bleeding after a hysterectomy is normal. In the six to eight weeks following the procedure, a certain amount of bleeding or spotting can be expected. After all, a hysterectomy is a major surgery involving the removal of a significant amount of tissue.

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Knowing the difference between normal and abnormal bleeding can help prevent serious complications, including infection and uterine injury.

Normal vs. Abnormal Bleeding

The key sign that you are healing normally is that the bleeding will begin to decrease in the days following the surgery. On the other hand, if there is a sudden and significant increase in bleeding, that would be considered abnormal.

Bleeding should steadily decrease in the days and weeks following the surgery and should never be excessive at any point in your recovery. Heavy bleeding during recovery should be reported your surgeon immediately as well as any symptoms of infection or a neurogenic bladder.

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. Passing large clots indicates that a large amount of blood has accumulated, often while you are sleeping.

Other Concerns

Bleeding after surgery can lead to anemia, a condition in which the depletion of red blood cells triggers symptoms of fatigue, dizziness, headaches, and easy bruising, Even if there are no overt signs of bleeding, extreme fatigue following surgery should always be looked into.

Lab and imaging tests may be used to confirm the anemia diagnosis and help pinpoint the source of bleeding. The anemia itself may be treated with iron supplements or require a transfusion to restore your red blood cell count (RBC) and prevent complications.

You should be able to return to having sex 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 having intercourse, be sure to report it to your OB-GYN.

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.

A Word From Verywell

Regardless of whether the bleeding is bright red or not, no amount of bleeding should be considered normal after you've recovered from a hysterectomy. If this happens, call your healthcare provider and schedule an appointment immediately.

The one exception is menstruation in women who have undergone a subtotal hysterectomy. This considered a less-than-undesirable result given that the vast majority of women who have undergone the procedure do not experience this.

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 paralyze bowel movements, 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 into 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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