Showering Before Your Hysterectomy

A hysterectomy is done in a sterile environment. Unfortunately, you aren’t sterile – you have a number of germs residing on every inch of your skin. Getting rid of as many germs as possible before your surgery is one of the ways you can reduce your risk for infection.

Your surgeon will provide you with pre-op instructions for showering before surgery. Your skin and hair need to be freshly washed and dried. Usually, you’ll be asked to shower or bath both the night before and the morning of your hysterectomy. You may be instructed to shower as usual, use an antibacterial soap, or wash with Hibiclens.

Hibiclens is a special soap which can help eliminate germs for up to 24 hours. It is generally mild to the skin, but talk to your doctor if you have known sensitivities or allergies. You shouldn’t use this soap if you are allergic to chlorhexidine gluconate.

If you are to use Hibiclens, you’ll need to rinse your body completely after using soap. Next, you’ll apply a minimum amount of the Hibiclens to everything except your head, face, and genital area. You should also avoid using it on any wounds. Be sure to thoroughly rinse the Hibiclens off with warm, running water. Check your instructions to see if you should wash down with it twice before drying off.

Your instruction may also specify that you need to use a clean towel and put on clean clothing after each shower or bath. In addition, you’ll be asked not to use any lotions, moisturizes, deodorants, make-up, or hair products after your shower the morning of surgery.

You should also avoid hair removal procedures in the days leading up to surgery. Shaving and waxing can create tiny scratches or openings in the skin, putting you at risk for infection during surgery. To reduce that risk for infection, your surgeon will mostly likely ask you not to shave or wax for a couple days before your hysterectomy. If you do, your surgery may be cancelled.

Following these instructions correctly are one of the ways you can take an active role in your health and the outcome of your surgery. If you have any questions about your pre op showering instructions, talk to your surgeon or her staff as soon as possible so you’ll be prepared the night before and morning of surgery.

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: Showering Before Your Hysterectomy

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