ALERT CONTENT PLACEHOLDER

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Go to your nearest emergency department if you have​

  • Bright red bleeding from your vagina (soaking a pad every 2 hours).
  • Severe pain that is not relieved by pain medication or is getting worse.
  • A temperature higher than 38°C (100°F) and/or you feel chills.
  • Redness or increased pain around your incision.
  • ​Sudden shortness of breath.
How can I take care of myself when I go home?

Plan to have someone stay with you for the first 24 hours after your operation. Within 24 hours of your operation, the CNS or another member of the health care team will call to check on you and answer any questions you may have. You will continue to recover at home over the next few weeks.​

  • Drink lots of fluids. Drink 6 to 8 glasses of fluid a day, unless you are given other instructions.
  • Slowly return to your usual diet over a few days. You may find it easier to start with small meals.
  • Healthy eating can give you energy and strength, and help you recover.
  • Eat a variety of foods from the four food groups. Choose foods that are low in fat, cholesterol and salt.
  • You can go back to your usual activities when you feel ready. Start with light activities the first week after the operation, such as short walks.
  • You may get tired easily. Listen to your body and don’t do more than you can handle.
  • If an activity causes discomfort or pain, stop and rest before trying that activity again.
  • Some light vaginal bleeding and spotting is normal for up to 5 weeks after the operation. When you have bleeding use pads, not tampons.
  • It takes time for your mind and body to recover after an operation. It is normal to feel low at times during your recovery. Some women also feel a sense of loss after a hysterectomy.
  • You may find it helpful to discuss your feelings with people who are close to you. If your feelings seem overwhelming, see your family doctor for help.
  • Your surgeon will let you know when it is safe for you to return to work. This will depend on your recovery and the type of work you do. Most patients will be off for 6 weeks after the operation.
  • For 3 to 4 weeks after the operation, do not do activities that strain your stomach muscles such as:
    • Heavy lifting (lifting anything over 10 pounds or 5 kilograms).
    • Vacuuming or pushing a lawn mower.
    • Weight training.
    • High impact sports
  • Take your pain medication as prescribed by your surgeon.
  • It is important to control your pain. You need to be comfortable enough to move and walk. This helps you recover faster. If the medication does not relieve your pain, call the CNS.
  • As you heal, you will feel less pain and will not need pain medication as often.
  • You may have some pain in your shoulder, due to the gas that was put into your stomach area during the operation. Walking and moving around can help
  • You can drive when you have no pain and/or you are no longer taking strong pain medication (narcotics).
  • Call your auto insurance company to see if there are any other driving restrictions after an operation.
  • When taking long car rides, stop every 2 hours to walk around. Sitting for a long time increases the chances of developing a blood clot.
  • Do not have sex or place anything in your vagina for 6 to 8 weeks after your operation. During this time, you can be intimate in other ways such as cuddling and touching.
  • If the top part of your vagina was removed, your vagina will be shorter. As the vagina is stretchy, you may not notice a difference during sexual intercourse.
  • ​The operation should not affect your desire for sex or ability to have an orgasm. However, your orgasms may feel slightly different.
  • You can start showering the day after the operation.
  • You can have baths when your incisions have completely healed.
  • Constipation is common after an operation. To keep bowel movements soft and regular:
    • Drink lots of fluids.
    • Eat foods high in fibre such as fruits, vegetables, lentils, beans and whole grain breads and cereals.
    • ​Take a laxative or stool softener for 4 to 6 weeks to prevent straining when you have a bowel movement. You can buy these at the pharmacy.
  • Incisions are usually closed with stitches and Steri-Strips (tape strips). The Steri-Strips will come off on their own in about 7 days. You can take them off if they begin to come away or haven’t fallen off after 7 days. The stitches under the skin will dissolve in 3 to 4 weeks and do not need to be removed.
  • Sometimes, incisions are closed with staples. If you have staples, they will need to be removed in 7 to 10 days at your family doctor’s office.
  • Check your incisions each day. Look for any signs of infection: redness, swelling, pain or discharge.
  • ​Keep your incisions clean and dry. Gently wash them with mild soap and water. Rinse well and pat dry with a clean ​​towel. Do not put creams, lotions or powder on your incisions.
Who do I call with general post-operative questions?​

If you have questions, concerns or need support, you may call:

Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) for Gynecology Oncology
Phone: 416 340 4800 ext. 3674

Gynecology Oncology Resource Nurse
Phone: 416 946 4501 ext. 3280

If you are calling after business hours or on a weekend or holiday:

Nursing Unit – Consolidated Surgical Short-Stay Unit
Phone: 416 340 3521 or 416 340 3880​