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Endometrial Cancer: Discharge Instructions for Hysterectomy

A total hysterectomy is surgery to have the uterus and cervix removed. A radical hysterectomy removes more tissue. This includes removing the uterus, cervix, the upper vagina, and nearby tissues. In some cases, the fallopian tubes and ovaries are also removed. (This is called a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy with total hysterectomy.) Lymph nodes in the pelvis and belly (abdomen) may also be removed (called a lymphadenectomy). This sheet will help you take care of yourself at home after one of these procedures.

Make sure you:

  • Understand what you can and can't do.

  • Keep your follow-up appointments.

  • Make sure you have a contact number so that you can call your healthcare provider if you have any questions or are concerned about any problems or changes in how you feel.

  • Know what number to call if you have problems or concerns after office hours or on weekends and holidays.


You may have to limit certain activities for some time after surgery. You might find that you need extra rest throughout the day. This is normal. But try to get up and move around as much as you can. Ask family members or friends to help with shopping, meals, housework, and other tasks. Plan ahead so that you have some meals prepared ahead of time that can be easily heated and ready to serve. Talk with your nurses or other hospital staff about having an aide through a home healthcare agency, if needed.

Make sure you know: 

  • When you can use stairs. Go slowly and pause after every few steps. Have someone with you at first. Try to plan your day so you do not need to go up and down repeatedly.

  • When you can do house or yard work or return to your job.

  • Whether or not you can lift heavy objects and if there is a weight limit for these activities.

  • When you can drive. Don't drive if you are taking prescription pain medicine or other medicine that causes drowsiness.

  • How much you should walk. Ask your healthcare provider what type of exercise might be good for you as you recover.

  • When you can restart sexual activity. Ask your provider what you and your partner can expect after surgery.

Pain control

Pain management is a key part of your recovery. Good pain control will allow you to be more active, cough and deep breathe, and keep your digestive tract moving.

Make sure you know:

  • How to use your pain medicines. Know what they're for, how they work, and how to take them.

  • What side effects your pain medicines can cause and what you can do to help prevent them.

  • What to do if your pain medicines don't work.

  • What things you can do to relieve or prevent pain in addition to or instead of medicines.

Wound care

You'll be given wound care instructions before you leave the hospital. Ask for any supplies that you might need at home. You may need to buy them from a surgical supply store or pharmacy.

Make sure you know:

  • How to care for your incision(s), what problems to watch for, and when to call your healthcare provider.

  • How to manage any bandages or dressings you may have.

  • When you can shower, take a bath, or swim.

Other care

To help with your recovery and prevent complications, you should:

  • Take only the medicines that are prescribed by your healthcare provider. Talk to your healthcare provider before taking herbs, vitamins, or other supplements.

  • Do the coughing and breathing exercises that you learned in the hospital.

  • Try to not get constipated:

    • Eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

    • Drink plenty of water and other healthy drinks.

    • Call your healthcare provider if you are having trouble with bowel movements. You may be prescribed a medicine to help.

  • Don't put anything in your vagina. Don't use tampons or douches or have sex until your healthcare provider says it’s OK.

  • Tell your healthcare provider if you have hot flashes, mood swings, and vaginal dryness. These are menopausal symptoms when ovaries are removed. There are medicines that can help you if needed. 

Follow-up care

Make a follow-up appointment as directed by your healthcare provider. You may need more cancer treatment after surgery. Be sure you understand the plan and what you can do to be ready for treatment.

When to get medical care

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following:

  • Fever of  100.4°F ( 38°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider 

  • Chills

  • Bright red vaginal bleeding or a bad-smelling discharge

  • Vaginal bleeding that's more than just spotting

  • Trouble urinating or burning when you urinate

  • Severe pain or bloating in your belly

  • Redness, swelling, drainage, or any other changes at your incision site

  • Pain at your surgical site that's not controlled with your pain medicine or is getting worse

  • Lasting nausea or vomiting

  • Swelling, warmth, pain, or redness in your leg or arm

  • Trouble breathing or chest pain

Ask if there are any other changes you need to tell them about right away.

Online Medical Reviewer: Howard Goodman MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Jessica Gotwals RN BSN MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: Susan K. Dempsey-Walls RN
Date Last Reviewed: 7/1/2023
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