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How Common is Discharge After a Hysterectomy?

By Harriette Halepis
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A slight amount of discharge after a hysterectomy is normal, though anyone experiencing a large amount of discharge should consult a medical doctor right away. Light-colored fluid, clear liquid, and a small amount of brown spotting are all common side effects of a hysterectomy. Bright red discharge, urine that contains blood, and an excessive amount of bleeding are not normal side effects.

Directly following surgery, most women will experience a small amount of discharge. The general rule of thumb is not to be concerned with discharge after a hysterectomy unless more than one sanitary napkin is used throughout the course of one hour. If numerous sanitary napkins are needed in order to control bleeding, it is wise to speak with a medical doctor.

The type of hysterectomy that a woman goes through can also impact the amount of bleeding that one experiences. A partial hysterectomy is the removal of a portion of the upper uterus, while a total hysterectomy involves removing both the cervix and the uterus. A radical hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus, cervix, and a portion of the vagina. Women who have recently undergone a partial hysterectomy may experience a larger amount of discharge than those who have gone through a total or radical hysterectomy.

In addition to discharge, some women may experience a small amount of bleeding following surgery. Bleeding of this sort can occur due to surgical scars. Surgery-related bleeding should not continue for more than one week following a hysterectomy. All patients should be notified of an expected amount of bleeding prior to surgery.

While discharge after a hysterectomy may seem alarming, in most cases a small amount of discharge is normal. If a patient experiences a large amount of pain followed by discharge, this could be a sign of infection. It is also important that a patient does not exert herself too much following surgery, as this could cause surgical scars to swell and ooze.

In some instances, discharge may occur many years after a hysterectomy. While this is common, speaking with a medical doctor about any unusual discharge after a hysterectomy is a wise idea. Every woman's body reacts different to surgery, though speaking with an expert about discharge is never a bad idea. A hysterectomy can be a scary experience, though understanding will help provide peace of mind.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By literally45 — On Dec 01, 2013

@donasmrs-- If the discharge continues and if you also get some mild bleeding in between, you definitely need to see a doctor.

One of my stitches after my hysterectomy did not dissolve and it caused scar tissue there. I had heavy discharge and bright red spotting for a few weeks before I saw my doctor. I had to have the stitch cauterized to stop the bleeding. The discharge completely stopped after that.

A hysterectomy is a serious procedure and there can be hysterectomy complications like this.

By SarahGen — On Nov 30, 2013

@donasmrs-- I experienced the same after my hysterectomy procedure and it turned out to be completely normal. My doctor said that it's regular vaginal discharge and the tint is due to old blood from the procedure finding its way out. Sometimes dissolving stitches can cause this too.

You need to make an appointment with your doctor though because an infection is possible as well. If that's the case, you will need oral antibiotics. So go ahead and make an appointment for a check-up. That's the only way to make sure that everything is in order.

By donasmrs — On Nov 29, 2013

It's been four weeks since my partial hysterectomy. I had some mild discharge during the first week and then it went away. Two days ago, the discharge came back and it's a lot more than the last time. It has a brownish tint to it. Should I be worried? Could it be a hysterectomy infection?

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