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What you should know
A vaginal hysterectomy is surgery to remove your uterus through your vagina. Other organs, such as your ovaries and fallopian tubes, may also be removed.
Care AgreementYou 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 bleed more than expected or get 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. During surgery, caregivers may decide to do an abdominal hysterectomy instead. You may get a blood clot in your limb. This may become life-threatening.
- 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. An infection can become severe and be life-threatening. If you have cancer, it may spread to other parts of your body.
The week before your surgery:
- Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.
- Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself home.
- 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 antibiotics before your surgery to help prevent a bacterial infection after surgery.
- You may need blood or urine tests before your surgery. You may also need a chest x-ray, pelvic ultrasound, or abdominal CT scan. Talk to your caregiver about these or other tests you may need. Write down the date, time, and location of each test.
The night before your surgery:
Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.
The day of your surgery:
- Ask your caregiver before you take any medicine on the day of your surgery. Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the hospital. Caregivers will check that your medicines will not interact poorly with the medicine you need for 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 will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell caregivers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.
What will happen:
- Your surgeon 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. He will also tie the blood vessels that go to your uterus to help prevent bleeding. Your caregiver may inject medicine into your vagina to help decrease bleeding.
- Your surgeon will remove your uterus through your vagina. He may leave your cervix in place, or he may remove it. He may also remove tissue surrounding your uterus and part of your vagina. Once your surgery is complete, your vagina may be filled with bandages soaked with medicine. Pieces of tissue or organs removed from your body may be sent to a lab for tests.
After your surgery:
You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. Caregivers will monitor you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is okay. When your caregiver sees that you are okay, you will be able to go home or be taken to your hospital room.
Contact a caregiver if
- You cannot make it to your surgery.
- You have a fever.
- You get a cold or the flu.
- You have pain that does not go away, even with medicine.
- You feel pain or fullness in your vagina.
- You feel like something is sticking out of your vagina.
- You have questions or concerns about your surgery.
Seek Care Immediately if
- Your symptoms get worse.
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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.