Consultants who perform this procedure
Why would I need a vaginal hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy might be carried out if you have the following:
- Heavy periods
- Uterine prolapse
What symptoms does a vaginal hysterectomy address?
A vaginal hysterectomy involves removing the womb, so it will help any problems with heavy periods. It may be part of surgery to address problems with prolapse and these symptoms should improve.
Because your womb is removed during a hysterectomy, you will no longer be able to get pregnant after this procedure.
When should you speak to your specialist about a vaginal hysterectomy?
If you are suffering from any of the above conditions or symptoms, and no longer wish to become pregnant, you might consider talking to your specialist or gynaecologist about the possibility of undergoing a vaginal hysterectomy.
How is a vaginal hysterectomy performed?
A vaginal hysterectomy takes approximately 1-2 hours and is performed under a general anaesthetic.
During the procedure, your surgeon will make a cut around your cervix at the top of your vagina so they can remove the uterus and the cervix.
They will usually stitch the support ligaments of your womb at the top of your vagina to reduce the risk of a future prolapse.
What is the recovery for a vaginal hysterectomy?
Your recovery from a vaginal hysterectomy can depend on many factors, and you should discuss this with your surgeon.
You will need to rest for two weeks after your operation, and you will likely need to take up to six weeks off of work after your surgery.
It is recommended that you abstain from sex for six weeks.
It can take up to three months to feel fully recovered from a vaginal hysterectomy, as it is a major operation.
You and your surgeon will discuss what you can expect after your surgery and what the best options will be for your recovery.
Are there any risks/complications associated with a vaginal hysterectomy?
As with any medical procedure, it is possible for risks or complications to arise. It is best that you speak with your specialist or surgeon about how best to avoid any adverse reactions.
Some risks that have been associated with a vaginal hysterectomy are:
- Pelvic infection or abscess
- Damage to the structures close to your womb, including the bladder, bowel and ureters
- Developing an abnormal connection – a fistula
- Having to convert to an abdominal hysterectomy
- Developing a collection of blood
- Vaginal cuff dehiscence (the splitting of a wound)
- Blood clot
- Variable effects on future bowel and bladder habit
How can I prepare for a vaginal hysterectomy?
You should discuss the specific preparations that you should make prior to your vaginal hysterectomy with your surgeon, as they can vary from person to person.
Prior to your procedure, you might undergo blood tests and a general health assessment.
If you have any questions or concerns about your vaginal hysterectomy, it is integral to discuss them with your surgeon prior to your surgery.
Are there alternatives for a vaginal hysterectomy?
Depending on what symptoms you are experiencing or condition you have, it may be possible to explore alternatives prior to getting a vaginal hysterectomy.
For example, heavy periods can be mitigated by using oral medications, an IUD, or by removing just the lining of your womb.
The hysterectomy could be performed laparoscopically.
You and your specialist or gynaecologist should discuss the best options for you.