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Avatar universal

period after partial hysterectomy

I am 32 years old and had a partial hysterectomy 6 1/2 weeks ago.  This was after having problems with my period over the years, being married for 11 years and deciding we didn't want any more children, and the number one issue...a growth on my ovary that continued growing over 3 months. After pain for 6 months off and on and a trip to the emergency room, with pain so severe it made me double over, it was found on a CAT scan that I had a good size cyst that they thought burst.  When I went to my OBGYN and had a vaginal sonogram they found not a cyst that had burst but one that doubled in size from the 2 weeks prior trip to the emergency room.  My doctors suggestion was a laproscoptic surgery to remove the cyst and I asked about a hysterectomy and he agreed to do as I wished.  I had my utereus removed along with the cystic ovary and the fallapian tube on that side.  Upon my wish the doctor left the other ovary and tube and cervix.  I was informed by him later that because the cyst ended up being an endometrioma caused by endometriosis starting that I might later have the same trouble on the other ovary.  When my surgery was done it was 2 weeks til my next period.  I bleed very little and had just a little bit of pain afterward.  However I did have somewhat of a period.  When I went back for my 4 wk checkup the doctor asked me a lot of questions, one was if I had a period and I told him yes.  He then informed me that some women do have periods after a hysterectomy.  AFTER HAVING A 2ND PERIOD SINCE SURGERY I AM WONDERING IF THIS IS NORMAL OR NOT?????  Everyone says it isn't.
254 Responses
Avatar universal
No, it is not normal to have a period after having a hysterectomy.  However, some women refer to any kind of vaginal bleeding as a period.  A "period" actually refers to the cyclic build up of the endometrial lining of the uterine cavity, that is shed approx 2 weeks after an egg is released and not fertilized.  By definition, you don't have a uterus, no endometrium, and hence shouldn't be having menstruation.
But you could be having some sort of bleeding (again NOT a period) from your cervix.  "Normal" implies that it happens to most women after hysterectomy, and certainly the majority of women do NOT bleed cyclically after hysterectomy.  So it deserves to be checked out.
Avatar universal
yes, it is completely normal to have a period, if you still have your cervix. people who have their cervix removed during a hysterectomy will NOT have a period. i am suprised your dr did not inform you of this. i had a hysterectomy, with only 1 ovary remaining, and my dr told me i will still ovulate, i just wont have a period because my uterus AND cervix were removed.
Avatar universal
According to the New England Journal of Medicine:

"Complications of Subtotal Hysterectomy: Menstrual-like vaginal bleeding. After subtotal hysterectomy, about 7% of women have bothersome cyclic bleeding. This happens when uterus-like cells remain on the outside of the cervix after the uterus is removed."

(A subtotal hysterectomy is when the body of the uterus but not the cervix, is removed).

So it is NOT completely normal to have bleeding after a hysterectomy in which the cervix has been left.  Normal would imply that most women have this.  They do not.  There are procedures that can help.
Avatar universal
i was just going by what my dr told me and also information on hystersisters.com, i believe they call them "mini" peroids. again, i was just going by what I was told, no need to jump down my throat!!!
Avatar universal
Thanks to you both and any info given.  I have been told by a lot of women this hasn't happened to them, all having the same procedure.  I call what is happening a period because it is when I would be having mine.  What has been happening for the last several years is that I will spot lightly for about a week, then my breast will get sore for 2 days and I will bleed good for about 3 to 4 days, spot alittle then in two weeks start the process again. With both "periods or bleeding" it has happened the same minus the real good red bleeding. I have passed clots, light pink, and the dark that I have always done before. Also my breast have been sore before this.  I guess I was hoping all the bother of two weeks in a months time would be gone.  I had not heard of any one having problems.  I also read on the info sheet given from my doctor that a light pink or discharge could be expected for up to 6 weeks after surgery.
I am thinking when I read this very light, maybe I would need a  pantyliner.  What I have had has been just like a period, minus the real good red blood.  If I had the uterus taken out where is this coming from?  Why is it accumulating and passing when I would have my period....Maybe I am in a hurry and it will just take more time to stop all together...if not I am going to MAD!!!!  Could I still  get pregnant???  I asked my doctor this question and he told me not to worry about something like that....Well guess what, if I am still ovulating with my other ovary and there is blood coming form somewhere every month WHY NOT???  I have read a few on this website that has had a hysterectomy and still got pregnant.      Please if any one has had this happen also to them, give me some advise...HOPE... that I will not still have somewhat of a period every month for the rest of my life!!!
Avatar universal
Ladies, when your uterus is removed, you cannot bleed from a menstral cycle.  There is no such thing as a partial hysterectomy.  A hysterectomy is when your uterus is removed.  Whether your cervix remains, ovaries or fallopian tubes, no menstral cycle will occur.  Many woman have hysterectomies and were still menstrating leave their ovaries in to avoid menopause and hot flashes.    This makes having a hysterectomy easier especially since uterus' may be removed through your belly buttom or vaginally.  No long incision is required.

If you still have your ovaries and fallopian tube, but no uterus...you cannot get pregnant.  You will still ovulate, you might have sore breasts, achey side, white mucus.

If you are still bleeding it is from the surgery, stitches etc.  Speak to you doctor.

And again, once your uterus is removed, you cannot get a period.
Remember, your menstral cycle occurs when the lining of your uterus sheds.....nothing to do with your cervix, uterus, etc.

I specifically asked my doctor these questions and more just to become knowledgeable.

Good bye Tampons!  Good by Napkin!  Freedom finally!
Avatar universal
Thanks for your comment.  I will just keep an eye on it.  That is what I keep finding in any info on hysterectomies.  What my doctor told me about some women still having a period every month has to be wrong and if I continue to have every month, I will look for me another doctor to get his/her opinion.  Thanks so much.
Avatar universal
there is such thing as partial hysterectomy, do your homework
Avatar universal
I had a "supracervical" laparascopic hysterectomy in November.  Basically, a laparascopic "partial"  hysterectomy. I went back 6 weeks later for my check up with light bleeding.  After examining me, my doctor stated that I was a "Medical Phenomenon".  He said that a portion of the endometrial lining was left and that I was actually having a period.  I was devastated, to say the least, and now await another 6 weeks before he confirms this suspicion.  

I was forwarned of sore breasts and moodiness, because he left my cervix and ovaries.  However, nothing was mentioned of periods. And now... I have a staph infection and am taking antibiotics.

Gotta love being a "girl".  :)

God Bless!
Avatar universal
I had a LAP in August 2005 (kept my overies and cervix) that had to be converted to an open procedure.  I have experienced bleeding (like a period) monthly since the procedure.  At first, I was confused, because my situation was complicated with numerous surgical mistakes. I had a massive case of ascites for 5 weeks post op as the result of a severed ureter.  It has taken 4 months to repair the ureter and I still have some kidney damage.  My new GYN says that part of the uterus tissue was left behind, causing the bleeding.  I am experiencing major hot flashes (probably due to my overies shutting down during the trama of this 4 month ordeal).  I had to undergo a nephroscaphy tube and stents to repair my ureter. My Dr. has placed me on both estrogen as well as provetrium which he says should help with both the flashes and the bleeding.  Am interested in hearing from anyone else with similar situation.  What else can be done to stop this bleeding!
Avatar universal
A hysterectomy is an operation to remove a woman's uterus (womb). The uterus is where a baby grows when a woman is pregnant. Sometimes the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and cervix are removed at the same time the uterus is removed. These organs are located in a woman's lower abdomen (see image below). The cervix is the lower end of the uterus. The ovaries are organs that produce eggs and hormones. The fallopian tubes carry eggs from the ovaries to the uterus.

Avatar universal
You know what I have just had a third period since my surgery.  I too was never told of the chance that I could still have periods after having a partial hysterectomy.  If I knew that there was a chance I could still have them, why would I have had it done?  The whole idea was not to have a period ever again.  All my doctors office can say is that it is just taking time for my body to adjust and that I will eventually stop having anything at all.  This time was more like a period than the other two.  My husband didn't know I had started spotting and we had sex.  Afterward when he cleaned up he had very RED blood like before my surgery.  It wasn't the dark left over stuff that my last two consisted of.  He was shocked to say the least.  I can recall my doctor saying to me, after my surgery when I was still in the hospital, that I was well on my way to being period free, NOT... he didn't know what he was talking about.  If I am the only case he has had to experience this I my need to find me a new OBGYN because either he didn't do my surgery right or he isn't listening to his patients.  To the lady who had some of the lining left attached to your cervix, how did they find this out?  Maybe I need to mention it to my doctor when I go back in for my 6 month checkup.
Avatar universal
Out of curosity, if you are going to have a hysterectomy, what are the reasons to keep your cervix?, especially if the upper part of the uterus will remainif you keep your cervix(I think)?  Or what would the need for the cervix be for a woman who has her uterus removed?

I know that the reason to keep your ovaries would be to avoid immediate menopause provided there is nothing wrong with your ovaries?

If I may suggest to the above poster, are you able to call your doctor and speak to him over the phone regarding your periods after a hysterectomy?  

Has anyone had a partial hysterectomy (I am not sure of what a partial hysterectomy is) and your doctor told you that you may still menstrate?
Avatar universal
At my 6 week post partial hysterectomy check up, my doctor said the bleeding I was experiencing was from endometrial lining left inside.  This was diagnosed by a regular exam as if a pap test was being done.  He said there was a small opening and that remaining lining was the reason for the periods.  He said he had mentioned prior to surgery that this was a risk ... however, I only remember the many times he mentioned "death" and possible damage to near by organs, bladder & colon.  I do not remember him ever telling me a chance that there would be a period of any kind. Infact, like many of you, I was ecstatic about being period free and now heart broken to still have issues.  I go back on Feb. 1, 2006 to see if his diagnosis still holds.  I'll let you know.

Regarding partial hysterectomy, that is only uterus removed.  Total hysterectomy is uterus & cervix which they don't like to remove because of prolapse (falling organs)and radical hysterectomy is everything removed.  (If you have a "total" with ovaries it's another name... ooph something.)

My question: anyone else have mood swings or has anyone had hormones tested even though you still have ovaries left?  This same doctor states if I have ovaries, my hormones should be fine.
Avatar universal
I had a partial hyst. on 12/14/05 and yeasterday on 1/20/06 I was spotting very light red blood. It was type sticky not runnning like a period. Haven't spoke to the doctor yet, will do that first thing in the morning. But what is with all this leaving things on the cervix and all. I feel this malpractice and if my gyn knows what good she better have not left anything behind. I chose this procedure due to fibroids, bleeding and extreme pain during sex. I'm 34 and full of sex drive with my husband and the pain was horrible. So thinking of know more period and pain, now thats life. But if i'm still going to bleed then what was the use of the operstion. I even feel cramping. So I will let you know what her response is to me tomorrow, because this was not a side effect that was told. I'm also on antibiotics from a stahp infection and bladder infection. Boy I was I could turn time back. But I pray it gets better becasue again I say MALPRACTICE!!!!!
Avatar universal
I haven't had any cramping with my periods, I can tell a reasonable amount of difference in my mood swings since my surgery also.  That has been better.  I have been on the computer looking at info on the cervix.  It jogged something my doctor said when I was there for my 4 week check up after surgery.  My friends and I had been talking at work and was wondering about something i had seen on tv.  A lady was on a talk show and had said she had been pregnant with what she thought were twins.  She was having trouble with her pregnancy and they found another heart beat.  She had a baby that was not in the utereus but the placenta had attached itself outside the sac onto her bladder.  I asked my doctor if there was any way with me having my right ovary and still ovulating that I could get pregnant, with no utereus but still having a period.  He told me that eventually my cervix would scar over at the end where he removed the utereus.  Therefor not allowing any sperm to get to the egg that was released every month.  I am wondering why he left my cervix.  If it was to keep from opening me up by incision  i think I could handle a scar better than having a period every month.  That was the whole reason of having the hysterectomy.  I could have just had the the oversized ovary removed if I would had known what I know now.  Why guess at this kind of stuff, why tell me from the office that it would eventually stop if theres a chance this will go on for ever.  Yes I also say MALPRACTICE!!!  Would my insurance pay for him to go back in and remove the cervix to fix my problem because I am not a satisfied customer and why should I have to pay.  He better hope that this stops eventually because there will be trouble if it hadn't stopped by the June when i have my 6 month check up.  He will either fix his screw up or he will lose a customer of the last 9 years. Luckily my husband had a himself fixed right before i started having trouble so at least the chance for me to get pregnant is a lot smaller. You know something could go wrong and his grow back together, you never know now a days....the doctors know about what the patients know.  I guess I am down on them right now!!!
Avatar universal
Nurse... you and I have something in common as we both had hysterectomies on 12/14/05.  I had an emergency hysterectomy due to hemmoraging.  However, for some reason, I asked that my uterus and cervix be removed.  My doctor never said to leave my cervix in but suggested I keep my ovaries if they were in good shape so that I would not go through immediate menopause. I thought of uterine cancer and cervical cancer, so I figured it was best to remove them. I never was told about dropping organs if you remove your cervix.  I was told by my doctor that in many cases when a woman goes through menopause, synthetic hormones are given which studies have found to cause heart problems, cancer too, etc. So, I was in no rush to remove my ovaries which I am glad I didn't because it was kind of shakey the first 2 weeks post surgery..nerves and such..without hormones, it might have been worse.

I even had breast cancer three years ago, estrogren related so I was on tomaxafin for 1 year and couldn't stand the side affects and went off it which caused me to think numerous times about getting rid of my ovaries.  Anyway, I was able to keep my ovaries because there was nothing wrong with them (no scarring or cysts).  In fact, I was ovulating during my surgery.  Nowadays, you don't have to make an incision but rather remove the uterus, cervix and ovaries through the belly button or delivery them vaginal.  When these organs are removed through the belly button, a biopsy is impossible because the organs have been chopped (well not the best word) up into small pieces for removal.  With a vaginal delivery, a biopsy can be proformed because these cervix, uterus and even ovaries can be removed pretty much intack..

I asked the same question, "what happens to my eggs that my ovaries release each month" and I was told they will be released and disinegrate.  I also, told my doctor of a television program where a woman was pregnant with twins in her uterus and another fetus was found attached to her abdomin and she delivered 3 heathly children.  He laughed and said, I will not get pregnant nor will I ever have a period again...and so on....

You are not the 1st person to post about a period after having one's uterus removed.  It seems that when you leave the cervix in, part of the upper uterus remains.  And my doctor never explained this to me either and I thought that I asked every option at the time.

You also can seek another opinion if you are not satisfied with what your doctor says about your continual bleeding.  In my case, I stained for no more than 10-14 days.  No period came on or around Jan 2nd (28 days since my last period), so I assumed I was home free.

I don't blame you for being concerned or possible annoyed (if I am reading you right) about having bleeding.  And you shouldn't blame yourself because you have so much information thrown at you, that it is impossible to cover everything even if you think you do.

Anyway, I am curious to hear why some women bleed after a partial hysterectomy where the cervix remains.  Remember, you don't have to wait for an appointment, you can call your doctor up and ask him/her over the phone.  Good Luck and let us know.
Avatar universal
Thanks to you all for sharing your stories. I had a hystertomy Oct. 28th 2005. My cervix was left because over time it, in some manner, has become attached to my bladder and to attempt to detach it would be to risk rupturing my bladder.  I also have one ovary remaining.

Anyway, I too have cyclical bleeding. It is dark/rusty and is just more bothersome than anything. Certainly nothing like what is mentioned in some of the posts.  I have been waiting to see if it was just some left over old blood from the surgery and figured by the end of November early December it was done. But with regular 'periods' now in December and January I knew I needed to see if there were other women who had also experienced this after a hystertomy.

While I recognize a trip back to the Dr. is needed to discuss this, it is oddly 'comforting' to know I'm not along in this experience.
Avatar universal
I had an emergency hysterectomy after the birth of my son in Nov 04(uterine atony, DIC.).the OBGYN warned me i may have a little spotting monthly but it wasn't likely. Imagine my shock when about six weeks after I started bleeding quite heavily. After seeing my doctor he sent me to see the OBGYN who delivered my son and preformed the Hyst. I was told that they left my cervix and a small part of my uterus ( which she referred to as a cervical stump). Apparently some of the uterine lining/tissue "slipped" into this area when the were stitching me up.Since then it has caused me to have monthly bleeding(I refer to it as my monthly reminder). She sent me for an ultrasound to see how much tissue was there and told me I would have to undergo another hysterectomy if I wanted the "periods "to stop. My son is almost 15 months now and I have really bad cramps,headaches and bloating just before my "period". I find this odd as before my pregnancy and hysterectomy I had only mild P.M.S. occasionally. I am considering the surgery because I find it too emotionally painful every month ( my body acting like I could get pregnant but It really can't) If I do decide go ahead with the surgery It won't be for awhile. At least not until my son is a little older and can do a little more on his own. My OBGYN said this happens often( piece of uterine tissue left) because alot of doctors want to leave the cervix when possible and they feel it's better to leave to much than too little . I don't know if I necessarily agree with it but it is how she felt in my case.
Avatar universal
I find this amazing!  I think  just about everyone thinks once you have a hysterectomy, no more bleeding.

I am beginning to think that if you leave your cervix in, you will possibly have periods. Therefore, why chance it and leave the cerix in unless there is a specific issue like the woman whose cervix attached to her abdomen (I hope you got a second opinion on that).  As a stated before, my ob/gyn never mentioned this to me.

I feel for you ladies and I hope more women become aware of this problem because it seems to be a big secret.

I cancelled my doctors appointment this past week because I had too much going on with my kids (this is another problem that women don't put themselves first) and I didn't get a chance to ask my doctor about the "period after hysterectomy" mystery.
Avatar universal
Did anyone here have their hysterectomy as a result of post partum hemmorage? If anyone has you should check out Yahoo's Post Partum Survivors Group. I managed to get alot of questions answered there. I know it can be heartbreaking to discover your still getting pseudo "periods". When I posted about my monthly bleeding I had some pretty passionate responses. Everything like How some women look at it as a chance to feel like a "normal" woman, for some( myself included) they are saddened by the reminder of there choices being taken away, and some think of it as a reminder that everything is alright with their body. I personally  still find it upsetting everytime it happens, even 14 months after the fact. I am interested to find out how the medication is working from the womon who posted about it. Are there any side effects ect.. My OBGYN said that for some women the can go intravaginally and cauterise the remaining tissue, but for some reason  it isn't and option for me. My family doctor advised me against having my cervix removed. He said it often results in poor bladder control( which I have presently anyhow) and that many women end up needing bladder surgey in the future to correct it. My OBGYN said there is a risk ,but if I want the bleeding to cease it is the only course of action. I am 29, I want the periods to stop but I also don't want to undergo major surgery to have to undergo major surgery a year or two later. What a dilema. I hate having bladder control issues. Doing the kegel exercises have helped but only a very little bit. Does anyone else have bladder control issues?
What have you done about it? My good wishes go out to all those still recovering from there hysterectomys. For all of us who still get those lovely "periods" well at least we are not alone.
I find comfort in that.
Avatar universal
For anyone anxiously awaiting my appointment, I had a Laparascopic Supracervical Hysterectomy 11/7/05.  At my 6 week check-up I had bleeding and thought I had over done it by lifting or something only to find out there wasn't any tearing, but an "opening".  The doctor stated several times now that he had informed me this could be a complication.  Nothing was said however that it could be an error on his part.  (Why would he)  

Anyway, long story short, a piece of my uterus was left behind.  The endometrial lining will remain there and I will continue having periods because my cervix was not removed.  No uterus, no fallopian tubes, I have both ovaries and a cervix and now some uterus still remains.  The doctor said because I am 38, I should have about 12 good years of ovary usage.  He did not want to remove them because if you take the ovaries out, he said not only would it throw me into instant menopause, but my overall "well being" would diminish. So, my only options with this doctor is to see another or get a monthly shot to eliminate my periods.  (Note: My husband works at GM and several women with ovaries without anything else inside ended up having them removed within 5 years)

On a humorous note... or not... I asked him what my chances were of getting pregnant. (God forbid) He stated that it was very rare, 1% chance, if that. And then ... on a very rare and unique note ... almost like TWILIGHT ZONE, I remembered my emergency appendectomy Dec. 2004, which herniated and the doctor who repaired me, May of 2005, said this mesh was a guarantee not to herniate ... very rare ... with only a 1 to 3% chance of reoccurence ... "bizarre note:" I have reherniated in that area... hopefully becoming pregnant is not in my future, as well.  I originally had a tubal ligation to solve that...

Any opinions, girls?  Should I get a second opinion?
Avatar universal
My doctor told me they could cauterise the lining so it wouldn't shed anymore. I would get a second opinion. I am also from Canada so things may be different here.
Good luck!
Avatar universal
On March 7th I am scheduled  to have a partial hysterectomy removing my uterus.  My doctor told me that I would not have anymore periods and that I would not be able to get pregnant.  What is messed up in my case is that I am having this surgery because of another doctor's mess up when I had my son two years ago through C-section.  After I had my son we were still in the delivery room for an hour becasue he ever time he tried to close me up I my uterus would contract and he would loose his grip and I would open back up again. After numerous attempts he finally was able to close me up but he rushed this procedure.  While I healed my uterus & fallopian tubes bind together and became attached to the lining of my stomach. I didn't start having pain until the beginning of last year and once all the test was done on me and I was told what was the problem, the status of limitations had run out and I couldn't sue the doctor who performed my surgery.  After hearing all of these stories, it have me a little worried about the decision I have made because this is an organ that will be removed plus my doctor told me that it may not eleviate the pain.  I just would like some words of encouragement.  I am also going to go for a second opinion because if this surgery can be avoided than by all means I would like to know what is the alternative method.
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