Bleeding after a hysterectomy can be normal, but that isn’t always the case. Many women experience bleeding and spotting as they recover from a hysterectomy, and minor bleeding that doesn’t get worse with time usually is considered normal. Heavy, bright red blood may be an indication that something is wrong, however. Additionally, any type of bleeding from the vagina, with the exception of menstruation, that persists past about six to eight weeks after a hysterectomy may be a sign that a patient needs further evaluation from her doctor.
After a woman has a hysterectomy, she may experience some light bleeding or spotting. This is normal, as organs have been removed and bleeding may occur as the body begins to heal. Normal bleeding after hysterectomy may start out red and change over to a brownish tinge. Sometimes spotting may occur off and on rather than continuously. Eventually, it may develop a pinkish coloring and then change to resemble the woman’s normal vaginal discharge.
If a woman does experience heavy bleeding after hysterectomy, she would do well to contact her doctor right away. Heavy vaginal bleeding is not considered typical after this type of surgery. In fact, it may be particularly troubling if a woman’s bleeding had slowed down or stopped before the heavy bleeding began. Most experts agree, however, that in the absence of other troubling symptoms, it is all right to wait to notify one’s doctor of light bleeding or spotting at a follow-up appointment. Bleeding accompanied by a foul smell, pain, or fever should usually be reported immediately.
Sometimes it is not the amount of bleeding after hysterectomy that causes concern, but the length of time it continues. In most cases, vaginal bleeding tapers off during the recovery period. If a woman is still experiencing vaginal bleeding after her six-to-eight week recovery period has ended, for example, she needs to inform her doctor.
It is important to note there are times when moderate to relatively heavy, bright red bleeding after hysterectomy is normal instead of an indication of a problem. If a woman has only had her uterus removed through a hysterectomy and her cervix and ovaries are left in place, she may think she is bleeding because of the hysterectomy when she is actually having a menstrual period. Still, mentioning the bleeding to her doctor may help a woman to feel confident that all is well with her health.