Bleeding After a Hysterectomy

When Bleeding After Hysterectomy Is Abnormal

Woman with stomach cramps.
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Some bleeding after a hysterectomy is normal. In the 6 to 8 weeks following the procedure, some bleeding or spotting is to be expected, and is considered a normal recovery from surgery. A hysterectomy is a major surgery and tissues may have been removed from several different areas, providing many opportunities for small amounts of bleeding.

The key with normal bleeding is that it should decrease as you heal. For example, if you were bleeding less each day during your first week of recovery, then the next day you had a significant increase in bleeding, that is abnormal bleeding and should be reported to your surgeon. Bleeding should steadily decrease in the days and weeks following surgery, and should not be alarming in quantity at any point in the recovery.

Heavy bleeding in the recovery phase is not considered normal and should be reported to the surgeon immediately. Bright red blood, which is "fresh" blood, indicates a current source of bleeding. Passing large clots is also abnormal and indicates a large amount of blood that has time to clot before leaving the body, such as bleeding during sleep.

If you do experience spotting or bleeding during your recovery, be sure to mention it to your surgeon during your follow up visit. If your bleeding increases during your recovery, a call to your surgeon is warranted.

Anemia After Surgery

Bleeding after surgery can lead to anemia, a condition where a decrease in red blood cells can cause fatigue, easy bruising, dizziness, and headaches.  It is important to pay attention to blood loss after surgery, as it can increase the weakness and feelings of tiredness that are so common during many recoveries.

Bleeding, Sex, and Hysterectomy

You should be able to return to having sex 6 to 8 weeks after your surgery. Having sex too soon after surgery can lead to pain and even bleeding.  If you note any bleeding after having intercourse, and you've waited an appropriate length of time, be sure to mention it to your ob-gyn.

Bleeding After Recovery From Hysterectomy Surgery

Bleeding after you have finished recovering from hysterectomy surgery is not normal, and should be reported to your physician. This bleeding should not be ignored as it can be a sign of more serious medical conditions. Regardless of whether the bleeding is fresh blood (bright red) or older blood (darker red), no amount of bleeding after fully recovering from a hysterectomy is considered normal. If you are experiencing this type of bleeding, call your physician and schedule an appointment immediately.

The one exception to this is the regular period experienced by some women who have had a subtotal hysterectomy. Women who have this type of hysterectomy may experience periods, though this type of bleeding is considered a less than undesirable outcome. The vast majority of women who have a subtotal hysterectomy do not experience regular period-type bleeding.