During a partial hysterectomy, only the upper portion of the woman’s uterus is removed while the cervix remains in place. Sometimes the fallopian tubes are also removed. Women who have the procedure should know what to expect after a partial hysterectomy, so that they can make any necessary changes.
Immediately following a partial hysterectomy, expect to recuperate in the recovery room for about three hours. Pain medicine will be dispensed, and antibiotics will be given to treat infection. Expect to be up and walking around the next day and to remain in the hospital for a day or two. It will be necessary to use sanitary pads for discharge and for bleeding for several days after the partial hysterectomy. The incision in the abdomen will heal gradually and will most likely leave a visible scar. A heating pad can be used for a few days to relieve abdominal pain. This means no climbing stairs, no alcohol and no aspirin for the first week after surgery. A temperature over 100.6 F should be reported to the doctor. Also report any swelling, dizziness and bleeding where the catheter was inserted.
If the ovaries and fallopian tubes were left intact during the partial hysterectomy, the woman can still become pregnant. The fertilized egg can attach to one of the fallopian tubes, placing her life in danger. A woman who continues to have vaginal bleeding after a hysterectomy should seek immediate medical treatment. Expect it to take about six weeks to completely recover from the surgery. Activity should be limited, which means no heavy lifting. Sexual activity can be resumed after six weeks. The hysterectomy should not negatively affect sexual pleasure. According to the Mayo Clinic staff, when the reason for having the partial hysterectomy is a uterine problem, some women report increased sexual pleasure which may come from the relief of no longer having heavy bleeding or chronic pain. There remains a risk of cervical cancer with a partial hysterectomy, so regular pap tests must be taken. Women who undergo a partial hysterectomy can expect to start menopause at an earlier than average age.
A partial hysterectomy should provide relief from the symptoms that led to the surgery. It has been known to leave women with a sense of healthy well-being, and, for some, the surgery improves their quality of life. However, since the uterus represents femininity, other women experience a sense of loss after a partial hysterectomy. Younger women who have a partial hysterectomy to treat cancer might become depressed and experience grief over their inability to bear children.