What Are the Most Common Hysterectomy Complications?

A persistent fever following a hysterectomy may signal the presence of an infection.
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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 27 July 2014
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There are many different complications that may occur when a woman has a hysterectomy. Among the most common are fever and infection that develop after the surgery. A woman may also suffer from blood clots and heavy bleeding. In some cases, a woman who has had a hysterectomy may even develop problems urinating or having bowel movements after a hysterectomy. Some women also experience early menopause or damage to other pelvic organs as the result of this surgery.

Among the most common hysterectomy complications are a fever and infection that develop as a result of the surgery. Many women develop low-grade fevers after a hysterectomy, though this may not be cause for alarm. In many cases, a low temperature doesn’t indicate a complication. Often, however, a moderate-to-high fever is a sign of infection in a woman who has recently had a hysterectomy. A persistent fever, regardless of whether it is high or low, may also be a sign of infection.

Problems with urination and bowel movements are also among the most common hysterectomy complications. A woman may retain urine after any type of hysterectomy. It may be a more common complication in women who have had vaginal hysterectomies, however. Many women also have constipation after having this type of surgery.

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Blood clots and bleeding problems are also common hysterectomy complications. Some women bleed more than is desired after this type of surgery. Truly excessive bleeding, which is referred to as hemorrhaging, does occur as well, though it is less common. A woman who has had a hysterectomy may also be at increased risk for developing blood clots. In fact, the increased risk may last for about six weeks after the surgery.

Menopause is a natural change women go through as they age, but it can occur early as a complication or consequence of a hysterectomy. For example, many women in developed countries experience menopause around the age of 51. Menopause that occurs before that may be considered early. This may occur if a woman’s ovaries are removed or when blood flow to a woman’s ovaries is interrupted because of the surgery.

Hysterectomy complications are usually treatable with medication and other medical treatments. Sometimes, however, a repeat of pelvic surgery is required. For example, a woman with a serious infection after a hysterectomy may sometimes need pelvic surgery to treat it. Surgery may even be required to repair damage to the surrounding pelvic organs in some cases.

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anon320384
Post 4

What I want to know is this. Does your body still go through cramps, ovulation, and all that after a full hysterectomy, and how long does it take for your insides to go back to normal? I mean your muscles and etc?

umbra21
Post 3

Don't panic too much about possible complications. Most surgeries end up being successful and you might never have any complications whatsoever.

But do try to take as much care of the wound as possible.

My mother has had several surgeries over the last few years, including a hysterectomy. She's had very little trouble with any of them, because she tries to follow the doctor's orders as exactly as possible.

That said, sometimes you can do everything right and something will still go wrong. Unfortunately with one of her surgeries the scar tissue healed badly and she might eventually need further surgery to deal with that.

It could have been much worse if she wasn't taking care of the wound site diligently though. And even with a laparoscopic hysterectomy you need to be careful.

KoiwiGal
Post 2

@Mor - I would, in fact, suggest that anyone who has this kind of surgery see a counselor or a psychologist afterwards.

Hysterectomy surgery is a major traumatic event in a woman's life. Particularly for a young woman, who might have thought she was going to be able to have children one day.

But even older women might be depressed and need some help talking it through.

Even if you don't feel depressed, go and see the counselor a couple of times just in case you need to talk about it.

It doesn't have to be traumatic, it doesn't even have to be a "big deal" and maybe some women can have this kind of surgery and not be emotionally phased by it, but I think they would be the rare exception.

Mor
Post 1

I know it doesn't really count as a "complication" but if you've had a hysterectomy, you might start feeling depressed.

This could partly be because of the hormonal changes you'll be experiencing, but you should also acknowledge that a part of you is now gone.

I think a lot of women try to brush off that aspect of it, but I think it's important to deal with it. A uterus is not like a toe.

Culturally, it's very bound up with the idea of a woman, even if it isn't essential to that experience.

Even if you were never going to have (more) children, just having a uterus and periods was taken for granted.

Be kind to yourself and not impatient while you grieve its loss.

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