Post Operative Care – Abdominal Hysterectomy
Pain Relief Medications
Paracetamol 500mg; take 1 to 2 tablets every 4 hours if needed. Do not take more than 8 tablets over a 24 hour period.
Anti-inflammatory Medication; (for example Nurofen, Advil, ibuprofen, Voltaren or naproxen) should be taken with food. It works well for post-operative pain and period-like cramps. Take according to the directions on the packet.
Oxycodone (Endone); take half or one tablet every 3 to 4 hours as required. Constipation is very common if you are taking oxycodone regularly. Once the pain improves this is the first tablet you should stop.
Tramadol; may be used instead of oxycodone. Take 1 tablet (50mg) 3 times a day as required.
After a hysterectomy it is normal to have some bleeding. The bleeding usually becomes light after a few days but may continue for up to 6 weeks. We recommend that you use pads for the bleeding rather than tampons.
If the bleeding becomes heavier than a period or vaginal discharge becomes smelly and looks infected please notify us.
Care of your Wounds:
Your abdominal wounds are held together with:
Dissolvable stitches under the skin.
These stitches do not need to be removed. The wound is covered with a Hypafix dressing which can go in the shower and be patted dry afterwards. The dressing can be removed after 10 days. The area can be cleaned with water and left open to the air.
What can I do when I go home?
This will depend on how you feel. You will need regular rest, but it is good to get moving and go for a walk each day. You first walks may be short, for example around your garden, then later you will be able to increase, for example around the block. The tiredness after a hysterectomy will pass, but you do need to give your body time to heal. Do as much as you feel comfortable with, but make sure to plan rest time each day. If you do too much one day, you will be more tired the next day and may need a quiet day before you start increasing your activity again.
Intercourse can resume 6 weeks after a hysterectomy.
Avoid lifting things
You have a wound at the top of the vagina that you cannot feel or see. The top of the vagina has been stitched together but will take some time to become strong. You should not lift more than a pair of shoes from the ground level for 6 weeks (up to 3kg). If you have had a vaginal prolapse operation at the same time you should avoid lifting anything more than 5kg from the ground level for another 6 weeks (i.e 12 weeks in total). You will find your usual housework difficult for 6 weeks as full washing baskets and vacuum cleaners weigh more than 5kg. If you can arrange for some assistance that would be extremely helpful. Our physiotherapists can assist you with a pre-operative and post-operative consultation to teach you about what you can and can’t lift, and when you can return to previous activities and fitness levels to help guide you through the recovery process, You will learn practical tips to improve your comfort and optimise your outcomes after surgery.
Wound infections are uncommon. The usual sign of an infection is that the skin around the wound becomes very red and hot or there may be discharge from the wound.
Small infections may settle after the discharge is cleaned away and an antiseptic like Betadine or Savlon is applied twice daily. If you are concerned about the wound please contact us; it is possible antibiotics may be required.
Constipation is common after surgery, especially if you are taking tablets such as oxycodone or Tramadol. When you go home you should make sure you stay well hydrated and that you are eating some extra fibre or fruit such as pears or prunes.
If you are constipated you can use:
- Coloxyl and Senna; 2 tablets each night
- Lactulose; 20ml of syrup 1 to 3 times a day
If constipation persists please contact us to discuss further options.
Problems to watch out for:
Occasionally serious complications occur after surgery. If you are concerned please contact us.
- Tenderness or swelling in a leg/calf
- Difficulty breathing
- Allergic reactions / rashes
- Increasing pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Heavy vaginal bleeding
O&G Rooms: Phone 1300 604 377 (Mon to Fri 9 to 5)