Will I Need an Internal Exam at My Post Op Appointment?

We all dread having an internal exam as part of our yearly well-woman check up. We’d skip them if we could. And the thought of one a few weeks after a hysterectomy can be especially unpleasant.

There are pros and cons to having an internal exam as part of your check up after your hysterectomy. Some of the pros are that the doctor can check to see that the vaginal cuff is healing properly; and she may be able to spot any possible problems early in your recovery so they can be minimized. Cons can include irritating tender tissue which can be painful and cause some bleeding, as well as posing a risk of introducing bacteria to delicate, healing areas.

Thankfully, many doctors do not include an internal exam as part of a routine post-op appointment following a hysterectomy. Instead, they use experience and other signs to determine if your vaginal cuff is healing. Your doctor may ask if you have had any vaginal bleeding or discharge and if you have had any discomfort or pain around your vaginal cuff. Your doctor will also base your healing schedule on the type of hysterectomy you had, how she created your vaginal cuff, the type of stitches used, or how she sealed the top of your vagina if you kept your cervix. Your lifestyle and overall health may also impact your doctor’s opinion. For instance, you may need a longer recovery if you are diabetic; or if you perform heavy lifting at your job, your doctor may want to be sure you are healed before releasing you to return to work.

If your doctor does an internal exam, try not to worry. The more tense you are, the more uncomfortable it will be. She may choose to only take a look, may or may not use a speculum, and will try to be as gentle as possible to the healing tissues if a physical exam is necessary.

If you are worried about the potential of an internal exam at your post-op appointment, call ahead and ask if one will be necessary and when. Talking to your doctor about your fears can alert her to be extra gentle with you, and together you can decide if an internal exam is in your best interest.

This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support. Reprinted with permission: Will I Need an Internal Exam at My Post Op Appointment?

Shutterstock.com/Martin Lauge Villadsen

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