Vaginal Discharge After A Hysterectomy: What To Expect

The removal of the uterus during a hysterectomy procedure is a major medical procedure. This surgery can take place for several reasons, including endometriosis (uterine fibroids), pelvic pain, and cancer. Vaginal drainage is one of the most common concerns for women following surgery. Understanding what to expect helps reduce anxiety and can ensure a successful recovery. According to Peter M. Lotze, MD (a specialist in Urogynecology) and pelvic-reconstructive surgery, vaginal spotting after a Hysterectomy can be a part of healing. 

Different Types Of Hysterectomy

To understand vaginal spotting, you must first know about the different types of hysterectomy surgeries:

  1. Hysterectomy Total: Removal of uterus and cervix.
  2. Hysterectomy partial: Removing the uterus and leaving the cervix unaffected.
  3. Radical Hysterectomy: Removal of the uterus, the cervix, the part of the vagina and the surrounding tissues.

The type of procedure performed and the length of time that vaginal fluid is discharged can have an impact on how it feels during recovery.

Understanding Vaginal Discharge After a Hysterectomy

Vaginal drainage is a common, and even expected, symptom following a hysterectomy. It can vary in length, color, and texture and is a component of the body’s natural healing process. These are some types of common discharges that you may experience.

  1. Bleeding Discharge: After surgery, you may experience a lot of blood. It is similar to light menstrual bleeding, which occurs due to the healing of surgical sites and the shedding of the uterine membrane.
  2. A Pink Or Brown Discharge: As the healing proceeds, the discharge color may change from a dark pink to a brownish pink. This signifies that old blood is being excreted from the body.
  3. Yellow/White Discharge: The discharge may eventually turn yellow or whitish. This is often due to the mucus present and is an indication that the body’s healing process is progressing. This type of discharge is normally not accompanied by an unpleasant odor, so it shouldn’t be cause for alarm unless other symptoms are present.

Normal vs. Abnormal Discharge

It is important to identify abnormal vaginal discharges that may be a sign of a complication. The volume of normal discharge should slowly decrease, and the color should change over the following weeks. Upon the occurrence of any of these symptoms, consult your healthcare provider without delay.

  1. Foul Odor: Discharges with an unpleasant, strong odor may indicate infection.
  2. Bleeding: Heavy bleeding through a cloth pad may indicate an underlying problem.
  3. Fever Or Chills: These symptoms are indicative of an infection. Seek immediate medical attention.
  4. Unusual Coloring: Green or grey discharge could be an indication that the infection is present and needs to be treated as soon as possible.

Managing Vaginal Discharge

The best way to manage vaginal bleeding after a surgical hysterectomy is by following simple hygiene rules and listening to your body. The subsequent recommendations will aid in the efficient management of the symptom:

  1. Use Of Sanitary Sheets: During the initial period of recovery, sanitary sheets are used to manage discharge. Tampons are not recommended as they increase the chance of infection.
  2. Maintain Good Hygiene: Keep vaginal skin clean and drained. Use mild soap or water. Avoid douching.
  3. Wear Breathable Underwear: Opt for cotton-based underwear, which will allow you to breathe in the area and reduce moisture.
  4. Monitor Changing: Keep track of the color and consistency. This information will help your doctor if you encounter any issues.
  5. Follow Your Surgeon’s Postoperative Instructions. Adhere to any activity restrictions and follow the instructions given by your doctor to ensure healing.

What Do You Do If You Need Medical Attention?

When seeking medical assistance, it is essential to avoid any complications. Call your healthcare provider as soon as you feel any signs of an infection. Also, contact your doctor immediately if you’re experiencing heavy bleeding, persistent discomfort, or any of the other symptoms listed above.


Normal vaginal discharge is part of the healing and can vary from one individual to another. Understanding what is expected can reduce anxiety and promote a speedy recovery. You can effectively treat this symptom if you follow proper hygiene practices and monitor changes in discharge. Women can navigate their postoperative recovery with confidence when they are in the care of professionals like Peter M. Lotze, MD. In order to ensure your health and well-being, regular communication is crucial.

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