What you should know
A vaginal hysterectomy is a surgery done to remove your uterus through your vagina. Other organs, such as your ovaries and fallopian tubes, may also be removed.
You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
- After surgery, you may get a fever or an infection. You may have vaginal dryness or a decreased interest in sex. You may have damage to your blood vessels and your organs, such as your bladder and bowels. You may not be able to control when you urinate. You may have pain in your lower abdomen that lasts for months or more. Your other pelvic organs may slip out of place and slide down into the vagina. You may bleed too much during surgery, and need a blood transfusion. Caregivers may decide during surgery to do an abdominal hysterectomy instead.
- You may get a blood clot in your leg. The clot may travel to your heart or brain and cause life-threatening problems, such as a heart attack or stroke.
- After a vaginal hysterectomy, you will not be able to get pregnant. Without a vaginal hysterectomy, you may continue to have very heavy bleeding and severe pain. Tumors may continue to grow. Your uterus may slide down further into your vagina. You may have difficulty controlling your bladder. Cancer may spread to other parts of your body. An infection can become severe and be life-threatening.
Before your surgery:
- Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
- Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
- You may need to donate blood before your surgery. Your blood is stored in case you need it during or after your surgery.
- You may need to take antibiotic medicine before your surgery. This medicine may help prevent you from getting an infection after surgery.
- You may need to have blood and imaging tests. You may have a urine or blood test to see if you are pregnant. A chest x-ray, pelvic ultrasound, or abdominal CT scan may also be done. Ask your caregiver for more information about tests that you may need. Write down the date, time, and location of each test.
- Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.
The day of your surgery:
- You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
- Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.
- An anesthesiologist may talk to you before your surgery. This caregiver may give you medicine to make you sleepy before your procedure or surgery. Tell your caregiver if you or anyone in your family has had a problem using anesthesia in the past.
What will happen:
- You will be given anesthesia medicine to make you comfortable and pain free during your surgery. Your caregiver will make an incision near your cervix (the opening to your uterus). He will cut and tie the ligaments that hold your uterus in place. Your caregiver will also tie the blood vessels to your uterus to help prevent bleeding. Your caregiver may give you a shot in your vagina to help decrease bleeding.
- Your caregiver will remove your uterus through your vagina. He may leave your cervix in place, or he may remove it. He also may remove tissue surrounding your uterus and part of your vagina. Once your surgery is complete, caregivers may fill your vagina with bandages soaked with medicine. Pieces of tissue or organs removed from your body may be sent to a lab for testing.
After your surgery:
You will be taken to a room where you can rest until you are fully awake. Caregivers will watch you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is okay. After your caregiver says it is okay, you will be taken back to your hospital room.
Contact a caregiver if
- You have pain that does not go away, even with medicine.
- You have a fever.
- You feel pain or fullness in your vagina.
- You feel like something is sticking out of your vagina.
Seek Care Immediately if
- You are bleeding more than you were told to expect.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.