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Medically reviewed by Last updated on Mar 5, 2023.

What do I need to know about colpocleisis?

Colpocleisis is surgery to partially or completely close the vagina of an older woman with genital prolapse. It is done if you are too weak for other surgeries and are not sexually active. You may need to have surgery for stress incontinence at the same time.

How do I prepare for surgery?

  • You may need an endometrial ultrasound or biopsy before your surgery, if you still have your uterus. Your healthcare provider will counsel you that sex will not be possible after the surgery. He or she will make sure that you do not want to have sex in the future. Make plans for someone to drive you home and stay with you once you are discharged.
  • Your healthcare provider may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight the night before surgery. He or she will tell you what medicines to take or not take the morning of your surgery.

What will happen during surgery?

  • You may be given general anesthesia to keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. You may instead be given spinal anesthesia to numb you from the waist down. With spinal anesthesia, you may still feel pressure or pushing during surgery, but you should not feel any pain.
  • You may be given antibiotics during your surgery to prevent an infection. Your surgeon will cut the vaginal lining. In a complete colpocleisis, the front part of the lining will be stitched to the back. This will completely close off the vagina. In a partial colpocleisis, strips of the vaginal lining are removed from the front and back of the vagina. These are then sewn to each other to close the vagina. Space is left open on one side to allow discharge to pass. A sanitary pad will be placed to protect the area.

What will happen after surgery?

You may need to stay in the hospital at least 1 day after surgery. You will have a urinary catheter to drain your urine. It will be removed the day after surgery. Healthcare providers will make sure you are able to urinate and bleeding is controlled before you leave. You will need to wear a sanitary pad to monitor bleeding.

What are the risks of colpocleisis?

You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. You may have blood clots or pus in the vaginal space behind the stitches. If this happens, you will need another procedure. Damage may be done to your bowels or bladder during surgery. Your pelvic organ prolapse may remain after surgery. Rarely, prolapse can happen again. You may get a blood clot in your leg. This may become life-threatening.

Care Agreement

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 healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.