No surgery is routine. If you've had an abdominal hysterectomy, there can be both short-term and long-term side effects. Some are natural and don't require the assistance of a physician. Others should have you running to the doctor's office ASAP. Not sure what's normal? Here's the 411 on your recovery.
1. Light bleeding or spotting: The day of and up to a few weeks after the surgery, you will notice a light discharge and bleeding from the vagina. Wearing a panty liner should be sufficient. But if the bleeding resembles a period, and requires several pad changes each day, let the surgeon know, advises the Mayo Clinic.
2. Deep, ongoing depression: Depending on the reason for the hysterectomy, a sense of loss or being upset is normal. But if you sink into a deep depression and find yourself unable to eat, sleep or do everyday tasks, speak with your doctor.
3. Swelling or redness: If your hysterectomy was performed abdominally, you will go home from the hospital with a small incision just above your pubic bone. Tenderness is common. But if the area puffs up, turns very red or oozes a pus-like discharge, it may be infected. Go to the emergency room immediately and have the doctor call your surgeon for background information on your surgery.
4. Fever: Although mild lingering pain and fatigue is a normal part of recovery, a fever is not. If your temperature rises above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority (UWHCA) recommends calling your doctor immediately.
5. Problems urinating or constipation: Going to the bathroom isn't fun to talk about, but if your urine flow is restricted or constipation lasts longer than two days, it's a good idea to tell your doctor. Remember to drink plenty of fluids and maintain a regular diet, complete with fiber, to keep all systems moving smoothly--even if your appetite is waning, advises the UWHCA.
Ready to see a doctor? Give an OB/GYN specialist in Atlanta a call today to schedule a checkup.