↑ Return to Surgery

Basic Post-Op Care


There are many benefits to keeping your pain under control, which include being able to move easier, breathe deeper, and cough more effectively. All of these things are essential to your recovery because they can prevent complications such as pneumonia, blood clots, and psychological stress. Unless you have a reason to not take acetaminophen or ibuprofen (such as liver or kidney problems, ulcers, allergies): you may need to take these regularly. Usually the dose is acetaminophen 650mg + ibuprofen 400mg every four hours. If you are given a narcotic prescription use it as needed. Unfortunately, narcotic medication can be constipating so follow the directions for bowel management as listed below. Please call the office if your pain does not improve or worsens after taking your pain medication.


The incision (vaginal area included) may be washed with soap and water. After showering or washing gently, pat the incision dry with a clean towel. A dressing is not usually necessary, but may be desirable to protect your clothing, as there may be a fluid or bloody drainage. If you have had an abdominal incision, steristrips may have been placed over the incision. Sometimes steristrips become loose or fall off. This is normal and you do not need to replace them. Stitches do not need to be removed; they will dissolve in about six weeks. Itching, bruising, a pulling sensation, and or numbness around the incision are normal. If your incision becomes hot, red, swollen, or persistently painful, please contact the office. It is not uncommon after 2-3 weeks to have some slight redness in a few small areas along the incision. This is often due to stitch irritation that will improve with keeping it clean with water and exposing it to air. If there is increasing pain, increasing redness and/or fever, call the office.


It is important after surgery to maintain good bowel habits, as constipation requiring strong bearing down efforts may cause a problem with your stitches. Please take a stool softener such as colace (twice daily) and/or laxative (such as lactulose). Drinking plenty of water, walking, and increasing fiber in your diet or with fiber supplements (Metamucil or flax) are helpful. If constipated, you may try Milk of Magnesia or Dulcolax.


Initially you may have slight vaginal bleeding, which is usually followed by a dark brown discharge. This may last up to four to six weeks after vaginal surgery. The bleeding should not be heavier than a normal period. Use sanitary pads only; tampons are not permitted. A vaginal discharge with a foul odor may occur after your surgery. This is common and will take several weeks to subside. Please call the office if you are saturating a pad every hour.


If you go home with a Foley catheter, you will have a leg bag. You will need to return to the office to have catheter removed at the direction of your doctor. Alternatively, a home health nurse may be asked to remove your catheter when appropriate.


You can do most normal activity (walking, climbing stairs) as your pain allows. Walking is important to your recovery and to prevent complications such as blood clots. You should move some every day with the aim to increase your activity gradually. You should not drive a vehicle in the immediate post-op period, and should not drive until you can put your foot on the brake without having pain at the surgical site. If you have incisions on your abdomen or inside the vagina you will need to avoid heavy lifting (not more than about 10lbs) for six weeks.


Taken from Cleveland Clinic