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WHAT YOU NEED TO 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.
WHILE YOU ARE HERE:
Before your surgery:
- Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
- An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
- Antibiotics help treat or prevent a bacterial infection.
- Blood thinners help prevent blood clots. Blood thinners may be given before, during, and after a surgery or procedure. Blood thinners make it more likely for you to bleed or bruise.
- Anesthesia is medicine to make you comfortable during the surgery. Caregivers will work with you to decide which anesthesia is best for you.
- General anesthesia will keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. Anesthesia may be given through your IV. You may instead breathe it in through a mask or a tube placed down your throat. The tube may cause you to have a sore throat when you wake up.
- Regional anesthesia is injected to numb the body area where the surgery will be done. You will remain awake during the surgery.
During your surgery:
- 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.
- Antinausea medicine may be given to calm your stomach and help prevent vomiting.
- Pain medicine may be given. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.
- A Foley catheter is a tube put into your bladder to drain urine into a bag. Keep the bag below your waist. This will prevent urine from flowing back into your bladder and causing an infection or other problems. Also, keep the tube free of kinks so the urine will drain properly. Do not pull on the catheter. This can cause pain and bleeding, and may cause the catheter to come out.
- 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.
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 caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
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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.