This page will provide you with information about a Vaginal Hysterectomy. For further details, you should speak to your consultant.
What is a vaginal hysterectomy?
It is an operation to take out your cervix and uterus. Ovaries can be removed, but typically they will be left (see figure 1).
What are the main reasons for having a vaginal hysterectomy?
The most common reasons include heavy/painful periods, fibroids and uterine prolapse.
What are the advantages that come with this type of surgery?
After the operation, you will not have another period. Any symptoms should be improved or cured completely.
Are there any other options available, other than a vaginal hysterectomy?
- Pelvic floor exercises can help improve symptoms of uterine prolapse
- Heavy periods may be treated using an intra-uterine device (IUD), oral medications or by the removal of only your womb’s lining
- Size dependent, the symptoms of fibroids can be treated with medication
- Other options include the removal of fibroids only or uterine artery embolisation
What does this surgery involve?
Usually performed under general anaesthetic, the operation should take around 45 minutes. After the gynaecologist has made a cut around your cervix at the top of your vagina, the cervix and womb will be removed. To minimise the chances of future prolapse, they will normally stitch the support ligaments of your womb to the top of your vagina.
Are there any likely complications?
1 General complications
- Feeling of nausea
- Blood clotting
- Infection at the site of surgery
2 Specific complications
- Developing a fistula or haematoma
- Pelvic abscess or infection
- Vaginal cuff dehiscence
- Conversion to an abdominal hysterectomy
- Damage to structures near the womb
3 Long-term problems
- Continued pain
- Menopause, even if your ovaries have not been removed
- A hysterectomy makes you infertile, which can result in feelings of loss
- Stress incontinence
What is the recovery time?
After around one to three days, you should be able to return home. Once home, you should continue the exercises taught to you in hospital and rest up for a fortnight. Depending on your line of work, you should be fit to go back to work and feel like your normal self after two or three months. Frequent, gentle exercise will help, but always seek advice from your GP before doing so.
Only after less invasive and simpler treatments have failed should you consider a hysterectomy – it is a major operation, but should improve your symptoms.
References: EIDO Healthcare Limited – The operation and treatment information on this website is produced using information from EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by Aspen Healthcare.
The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.