Vaginal Discharge After Hysterectomy

For several weeks after your hysterectomy, you’re likely to experience some type of vaginal discharge. This is especially true if you had a complete hysterectomy (removal of the uterus with cervix) and now have a vaginal cuff.

Most of the time, the discharge is a normal part of healing. Now and then, however, it can be a sign that something is wrong.

Knowing what to expect and when to call the doctor can help ease your mind during recovery, so here are some basics about vaginal discharge after hysterectomy.

Normal Vaginal Discharge

Tissue has been cut and stitched, so it makes sense to have some vaginal bleeding while everything heals. Blood can range from pink to red to brown, but there shouldn’t be large amounts of it.

You may also see a white, off-white, yellow, or clear, watery discharge. As long as it is odorless, it’s part of the healing process.

If you do too much too soon, you may see an increase in bleeding and discharge. It’s a sign to slow down and get your feet up for awhile. Those tender, healing areas aren’t ready for the strain you’ve been putting on them. You could cause some serious damage if you don’t give them the time they need to heal before becoming too active.

Abnormal Vaginal Discharge

If you are passing large amounts of liquid, it may be urine. You could have a fistula, nicked ureter, or other urological complications. If your liquid output is greater than your liquid intake, call your doctor immediately.

Any discharge accompanied by a foul or “fishy” vaginal odor is not normal and is worth a call to the doctor who may take a culture for diagnosis.

You should be healed around week 6 – but that’s not a magical number. You may take a bit more or less time. Around that time, all bleeding and discharge should stop. If it doesn’t, call your doctor. You could be dealing with an infection, granulation, vaginal cuff tear, or other complication. The sooner it’s treated, the better.

You should also call your doctor if

  • you are bleeding enough to fill a pad an hour,
  • there’s a sudden gush of bright red blood,
  • there’s a gush of any type of fluid,
  • you pass clots larger than a quarter,
  • you see chunks of tissue,
  • you also have itching or burning,
  • there’s a strong odor, or
  • discharge increases along with a fever or pain.

Additional Vaginal Discharge

There are couple of other unique reasons for discharge after hysterectomy. Your doctor may have used saline or other liquid in the pelvic region either as part of your surgery or to check for nicks and bleeding. If not all of that liquid was removed, the remainder can seep through the healing vaginal cuff.

Never hesitate to call your doctor about your concerns regarding vaginal discharge – color, amount, or odor. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

This content was written by staff of by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support. Reprinted with permission: Vaginal Discharge After Hysterectomy

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