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Hysterectomy Complications

Hysterectomy complications range from mild and expected symptoms to severe, major and unpected events. For instance, a minor problem would be urinary tract infection or vaginal spotting, while a major problem could be an infected wound that takes three or four months to heal. Apart from talking to a medical astrologer beforehand, it is difficult to know in advance what is going to happen after the surgery.

Acquiring Information On Hysterectomy Complications

You can read books and ebooks about hysterectomy, you can go to forums, groups, be on relevant lists and so on. You can also talk to other "live and real" friends of yours who have already had their hysterectomy, and see how and what they did after the surgery. Whatever you hear, take it with a grain of salt: women tend to talk only about what was problem to them, minimizing at the same time the real difficulties that have been resolved either automatically or with the help of a health professional.

Talk to the doctors too, although there is no need to frequent their forums and groups (unless you are at the same trade as they). You will see that professionals that will actually operate upon you will not talk much about what can happen afterwards, while your friends physicians and medical doctors, will be more open. The surgeon is not interested in discussing theory with you, they want you to get better and well as soon as possible! They will, then, concentrate only on what matters to you before the surgery, leaving possible hysterectomy complications for later, hoping not too many will happen to you, if they appear at all.

If you have never heard of something that is happening to you, it does not mean that the surgeon did something wrong. Every surgery is a calculated bet, with lots of potential for surprises.

"Hysterectomy Complications" May Stem From Some Other Kinds of Surgery

You may have done all the tests and examinations, but the moment of truth is when the surgeon opens you and sees the state firsthand. Your elegantly designed laparoscopy may turn itself into a full incision from one hip to another, while other parts of the body may have to be reached: some of them may have in the original outline for the surgery anyway, while some may come as a surprise both to the surgeon during the "show" and to you, when they tell you about afterwards. Maybe the ovaries must be removed, or there is a cystocele or a rectocele present and must done away with.

In case of an oophorectomy (removing one or both ovaries), surgical menopause will have hit you like a ton of bricks and it may not be clear whether the problems arise from the lack of organs or from the lack of hormones (or both). But, the patient will experience all of those as "hysterectomy complications".

Amongst Hysterectomy Complications, Vaginal Bleeding Is the Most Common

The usual course of post operative bleeding will last from several days to several weeks after the surgery. There may be several phases:

period after the surgery
kind of bleeding
the cause of bleeding
several days, then stops spotting, dark or bright red from the surgery itself
2-3 weeks burst of bleeding accumulated blood in the pelvis
2-8 weeks bright red vaginal spotting suture dissolving
occasionally bright red spotting intercourse or physical activity

In rare cases, some bleeding might occur many months or even several years after the surgery:

Granulation tissue (healing tissue growing on its own);
prolapse of a faloppian tube;
endometriosis of the end of the vagina;
atrophic vaginitis due to low estrogen levels and traumatic irritation;
a cancerous growth at end of the vagina.

Common Hysterectomy Complications

Here are some of the usual postoperative symptoms within two weeks:

Urinary tract frequency and urgency

In other words, you have much too frequent calls to urinate. Three things have to be checked for:

urinary tract infection, or
bladder spasms due to catheter irritation, or
small pelvic collections of blood near the bladder.

Incisional problems

Discharge or weeping of the incision in the first week or two,
itching or burning of the incision at 3-6 weeks,
pain that is localized to one side of the incision or another,
swelling underneath or to the side of the incision but different than the rest of the incision,
abdominal wall laxness, pot belly, bloated appearance.

Gastrointestinal problems

Increased "gassiness" immediately after surgery (treatable with simethicone tablets or liquid),
constipation treatable with stool softeners, flax seed,
loose stools (especially if antibiotics were given).

Vaginal problems

Bloody or odorous discharge for the first 1-4 weeks,
odor without much discharge (may require topical vaginal antibiotic cream if persists beyond a week),
vulvar burning or itching (usually just due to dryness and not a yeast infection).

Mood changes

Reversion to moods previously ignored due to hecticness of every day life,
decreased libido,
increased feelings of stress and anxiety,
increased depressive symptoms


Pain and swelling or redness at the site of the intravenous needles;
pelvic cramps and catches somewhat sporadic in occurrence or related to increased physical activity.

General problems

Generalized allergic rash or itching to medications such as antibiotics or pain medicines.


Severe Hysterectomy Complications

Most of the severe hysterectomy complications of surgery will show themselves within the first 2-3 weeks after the operation although sometimes these can manifest even later.



Re operation - complications requiring repeat surgery to repair them;
vascular thrombosis or hemorrhage causing a stroke or heart attack;
Intraoperative or delayed post operative intraperitoneal bleeding requiring blood transfusion;
a pus type of drainage or extensive redness of the incision can indicate wound abscess;
watery, urine-like vaginal discharge may indicate ureteral or bladder injury or fistula;
leg calf or thigh pain and swelling may indicate a blood clot;
sharp chest pains and breathing difficulty can indicate a blood clot that has broken off to the lung;
a pneumonia;
a heart condition;
pelvic pain with bowel and bladder symptoms may indicate pelvic infection or abscess or a delayed postoperative bleed internally;
prolonged bowel laziness (illeus) with bloating and absent bowel movements may also indicate pelvic infection or abscess, a delayed postoperative bleed internally, or ureter or bladder injury.

Major Hysterectomy Complications

There can also be major hysterectomy complications that show themselves later than 3 or 4 weeks after surgery.

4-60 weeks
ovarian abscess
up to 6 months
late pulmonary embolus
6 months to 10 years
small bowel obstruction
2 years
vaginal vault prolapse
persistent pain with intercourse due to adhesions or abnormal scar formation at the end of the vagina

The Rare Or Unusual Hysterectomy Complications

Many of the complications mentioned above are uncommon. There are some even rarer problems that may occur.

Drug induced blood dyscrasias (anemia, low platelets),
massive hemorrhage resulting in death,
bowel injury requiring colostomy,
bladder atony and inability to void urine,
liver failure due to anesthetic complications,
chronic incisional pain or drainage due to suture granulomas, endometriosis or foreign body reaction,
abdominal compartment syndrome (decreased blood flow to intraabdominal organs),
kidney shutdown due to renal artery spasm,
abdominal or vaginal herniation of the bowels (evisceration) through the incisions.

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