Bleeding After a Hysterectomy: What to Expect

Recovering completely from a hysterectomy usually takes at least 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 a healthcare provider.

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Normal Bleeding After a Hysterectomy

Some bleeding and discharge after a hysterectomy are normal for a few weeks following surgery. The key sign that you are healing normally from a hysterectomy is that the bleeding will decrease in the days and weeks following the surgery. Normal bleeding is mainly spotting that gets lighter over time.

Abnormal Bleeding After a Hysterectomy

A sudden and significant increase in bleeding is considered abnormal. In addition, bleeding should never be too heavy at any point in your recovery.

Bright red blood indicates an active bleed. If you pass large clots, this suggests that a large amount of blood has accumulated, often while you sleep. If you are experiencing either of these, seek medical attention immediately.

Some complications that may cause abnormal bleeding include a vaginal cuff tear and hemorrhage.

Can You Still Get Your Period After a Hysterectomy?

Since your uterus is removed during a hysterectomy, menstruation is no longer possible. Rarely, some people experience vaginal bleeding after a hysterectomy. This is not a menstrual period but may indicate a health complication, such as atrophic vaginitis (drying and thinning of the vaginal wall), cervical stump cancer, ovarian tumors, or other estrogen-secreting tumors.

Vaginal Cuff Tear

The vaginal cuff is the incision where the vagina was cut away from the cervix. A rare complication involves a tear at this site, called vaginal cuff dehiscence.

In addition to vaginal bleeding, people with vaginal cuff tears may experience:

This complication occurs 0-7% of the time and is more common in vaginal and robotic surgeries than in vaginal and abdominal surgeries.


Hemorrhage is severe bleeding. It is a risk of any surgery, including a hysterectomy. Hemorrhage may be primary (occurring within 24 hours after surgery) or secondary (occurring between 24 hours and six weeks).

Overall, the risk of hemorrhage after a hysterectomy is low (between 0.2% and 2%), but it can be life-threatening when it happens. Signs of hemorrhage include:

Secondary hemorrhage may occur more often after laparoscopic surgeries than other surgical techniques.

Bleeding Years After a Hysterectomy

If you start vaginal bleeding years after a hysterectomy, this could be a sign of an underlying condition. Some things that may lead to vaginal bleeding when you no longer have a uterus include vaginal atrophy and some cancers or tumors. Therefore, you should always see a healthcare provider about unexpected bleeding.

When to See a Healthcare Provider

See a healthcare provider if you experience the following:

  • Bright red vaginal bleeding
  • Vaginal discharge with a foul odor
  • Vaginal bleeding is more than light spotting
  • A temperature over 100.5 F
  • Severe nausea or vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pain that is increasing
  • Redness, swelling, or drainage at the incision site
  • Difficulty urinating or pain with urination

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.


Some bleeding after a hysterectomy is expected. However, the bleeding should lessen over time. Heavy bleeding can be a sign of a complication and can be life-threatening in some cases. If you notice bleeding that is heavier than spotting, contact a healthcare provider.

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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  2. U.S. National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus. Hysterectomy - vaginal - discharge

  3. Boersen Z, Aalders CIM, Klinkert ER, Maas JWM, Nap AW. Vaginal cuff dehiscence after endometriosis surgeryJSLS. 2019;23(3):e2019.00018. doi:10.4293/JSLS.2019.00018

  4. Fuchs Weizman N, Einarsson JI, Wang KC, Vitonis AF, Cohen SL. Vaginal cuff dehiscence: risk factors and associated morbiditiesJSLS. 2015;19(2):e2013.00351. doi:10.4293/JSLS.2013.00351

  5. Paul PG, Prathap T, Kaur H, Shabnam K, Kandhari D, Chopade G. Secondary hemorrhage after total laparoscopic hysterectomyJSLS. 2014;18(3):e2014.00139. doi:10.4293/JSLS.2014.00139

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By Jennifer Whitlock, RN, MSN, FN
Jennifer Whitlock, RN, MSN, FNP-C, is a board-certified family nurse practitioner. She has experience in primary care and hospital medicine.