Posted on: 10 December 2015
Although it's normal to have some spotting or light bleeding for up to 6 weeks following a hysterectomy – a surgery doctors perform to remove the uterus as a treatment for cancer and other gynecological conditions – there may be a problem if bleeding occurs months or years later. Both cancer and benign conditions can cause abnormal vaginal bleeding after you have a hysterectomy; therefore, it's important to see your doctor to identify the cause.
If the surgeon does not remove your cervix, bleeding may be due to cervix infection or polyps – abnormal growths in the cervix. A subtotal hysterectomy leaves your cervix intact; therefore, bacteria and viruses can cause cervix infection, which may cause additional symptoms, including abdominal pain, vaginal itching, and a burning sensation when you urinate. Since the cervix is located right above the vagina, a yeast infection can easily lead to a cervical infection.
Most times, your gynecologist can remove a cervical polyp during a pelvic exam. Depending on the source of a cervical infection, your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic or anti-viral agent to treat the infection. If left untreated, a cervix infection can lead to chronic pelvic pain and sometimes cervical cancer.
You may experience vaginal bleeding following a hysterectomy if you are post-menopausal. Atrophic vaginitis – a condition where the wall of the vagina becomes dry and inflamed – can occur as a result of the body producing less estrogen. The condition can cause genital itching and urgency with urination. It can also lead to more urinary tract infections. Your doctor may recommend topical estrogen as treatment or hormone treatment if your symptoms persist and are severe.
Doctors sometimes recommend a total hysterectomy to treat severe endometriosis – a condition where endometrial cells that line the uterus grow on the bowel, bladder, or other pelvic organs. When endometrial cells implant themselves on other organ tissue, you can experience bleeding, sometimes each month. If the surgeon did not remove your ovaries during hysterectomy, these cells respond to the hormonal signals your ovaries continue to produce.
Vaginal bleeding can be a sign of cancer. If a hysterectomy was performed to treat cancer, there is the possibility that the surgery did not remove all the cancer cells and the cancer has spread. Also, although you may have had a hysterectomy to treat another medical condition, you still are at risk for developing ovarian cancer even if your ovaries and Fallopian tubes were removed. It's uncommon, but it sometimes occurs. Cancer is typed by the organ where it starts despite the cancer cells migrating to other areas of the body.
To learn more, contact a gynecologist like Central Iowa OB/Gyn Specialists, PLC.Share