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BROWN DISCHARGE after hysterectomy

Hysterectomy is a specific surgical procedure that partially or totally removes the uterus. Women could have different reasons for hysterectomy including uterine fibroids, uterine prolapse, endometriosis, abnormal vaginal bleeding, chronic pelvic pain, adenomyosis and cancer of the uterus, cervix or ovaries.

After hysterectomy it will take at least 3 to 6 weeks to feel better and during this period women could experience vaginal discharge – in most cases brown vaginal discharge but sometimes vaginal discharge could be pink or red. Brown vaginal discharge is a fairly common symptom that women can experience immediately after a hysterectomy.

Brown vaginal discharge after hysterectomy will last several weeks after surgery and it may have some specific vaginal odor. The amount will vary depending on patient activities but is often more noticeable two weeks after surgery.

Main causes for smelly brown discharge after hysterectomy include bacteria and/or virus and/or other vaginal infections such as yeast infection and Chlamydia. These infections could originate from the vagina. Since after hysterectomy the immune system is weakened due to the surgery, these microorganisms could take over.

BROWN DISCHARGE after hysterectomy

BROWN DISCHARGE after hysterectomy

As after hysterectomy women would not have more periods, brown discharge could be disturbing. Women should expect brown vaginal discharge for several weeks after surgery. Sometimes vaginal discharge can be pink and may have a slight odor. The amount will vary depending on women activities but is often more noticeable two weeks after surgery when you begin passing some of the absorbable stitches. If you are flowing like a period or you begin passing clots the size of your thumb or larger, notify your doctor.

After hysterectomy women could experience brown vaginal discharge combined with bloating, pain on the abdominal area, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting and weakness.

Sometimes brown vaginal discharge after hysterectomy could be a symptom of HPV (human papilloma virus) or UTI (urinary tract infection).

Getting a hysterectomy will not be cause of the infection, but can be the reason it has produced symptoms because it has compromised the patient’s immune system which was weakened by operation.

Anyway, normal discharge after hysterectomy is usually brown, but it will most likely change to a white color soon. Internal stitches may accompany this discharge as the surgical wounds heal. This is normal cleansing of the area that was involved in the procedure, and should not be cause for alarm. However, if the discharge is red and bloody, you should contact your doctor.

Brown discharge after hysterectomy indicates blood that has dried, and red discharge would indicate fresh bleeding. This should be examined by your doctor to make sure that you do not have an infection or damaged tissue.

Brown discharge causes after hysterectomy

  • Improperly tied blood vessel or a slip in the ligature after hysterectomy. Loosen suture from the operation may cause light pink discharge after hysterectomy. Granulation tissue that is sloughing can also cause colored discharge after hysterectomy including brown discharge.
  • Another cause for discharge after hysterectomy is the re-opening of the wound after the surgical procedure, which is also called wound dehiscence.
  • Bleeding disorders or coagulation can also cause reddish and/or brown discharge after hysterectomy due to clotting defects.
  • Allergic reaction to suture.
  • Vaginal injury during or after hysterectomy.
  • After operation douches, tampons, or sexual activity can also cause this type of discharge.

Recommendations for women after hysterectomy

Complete recovery from the operation takes about 2 months.

  • Do not put anything into your vagina for the first 8 – 12 weeks after hysterectomy including tampons and douching.
  • Do not use feminine deodorant sprays.
  • You can have shower without any problems.
  • Avoid swimming or using a hot tub during 8 weeks after hysterectomy.
  • Do not start having sexual intercourse for at least 8-10 weeks.
  • Do not lift heavy objects for 6-8 weeks after the operation.

18 Comments

  1. I had a complete hysterectomy at age 40. Since then vaginal discharge has been odor free and clear or none. I am now 70 years old and started to have light brown discharge – enough to change underwear twice daily. What is causing this? Should I see a gynecologist. I recently had a pap smeer which came back negative. Thank you

    • I would strongly recommend to visit your gynecologist urgently. After 65 any blood/brown discharge could be a symptom of something serious.

  2. I am 33 years old and had a hysterectomy about 9 months ago all of the sudden I have a dark brown discharge, is this normal?

    • once OK but if you would have it regularly – better to visit your doctor

  3. Hi,
    I had my hysterectomy done a 6 weeks ago, and my question is,
    If I can do light swimming, or It is better to wait?
    Thank you,
    Batia

    • if your after surgery inspection is OK (no problems in vagina and healthy normal scar), you can have simple not heavy (limited physically!) just relaxed swimming – even it is good for rehabilitation after surgery

  4. I recently had a full robotic hysterectomy with appendectomy all due to endometriosis. The surgery was extensive due to the endometriosis and although I’m feeling great, I’m still having brown discharge. First, is this normal, and second, should I be able to have intercourse yet? My surgeon said 8 weeks but she claims that my body must still be healing and that I should wait until I am no longer spotting. I’d appreciate your opinion.

    • brown discharge during endometriosis and after surgery is common; after 8 weeks should be OK for sex contacts (if your partner does not have any infections!)

  5. Hi, I had a vaginal hysterectomy a week ago, together with prolapse repair.

    I have had small amounts of red bleeding since the surgery, but tonight it has turned to brown, is this cause for concern?

    Thanks

    • it is normal for your surgery – looks like “final internal cleaning” and old blood is coming out

  6. I had a complete vaginal hysterectomy on April 15th 2015. It is now June 13th and I am still having vaginal cuff pain and brownish discharge when I move around a lot. I have pain when I sit for too long or over walk myself. And occasionally a full bladder will make it hurt too. (I was negative for a uti) My obgyn said at my 6 weeks check up that I don’t have any granulation that she could see. She said I am healing up nicely and thinks that the discharge is from moving around and making the stitches stretch some to let liquid through. I also sometimes have ligament pain where they reattached them to my body from the uterus. My question is how long can I expect to have the discharge and pain?

    • your description is typical for women after vaginal hysterectomy – your symptoms can be pretty long up to few months after surgery

  7. Hi,I had Hysteroscopy to remove my polyps on May 21st. After the Hysteroscopy,i bled for almost 3 weeks. First week was pink,which is normal,but the following two weeks it was brown. And now I’m still having the brown discharge after the period(June 13th). I’m wondering whether it is normal to have discharge after the surgery,it’s been 4 weeks and I am so worry

    • brown discharge is a symptom of recovery – you can have endometrial recovery (after polypectomy) during 2-4 menstrual cycles (depending on number or polyps, sizes and methods used)

  8. I just had a robotic partial hysterectomy due to endometriosis pelvic pain and unusual bleeding it will be three weeks post op this Wednesday June 22,2015 I have not had any control over urine flow since my surgery and is nothing more then a trickling flow and I just now started having a moderate amount of brown discharge what could be the cause of this. I have post op app end of this week do I need to be concerned and get to my doctor sooner. Thank you

    • brown discharge is normal after hysterectomy

  9. I had a complete hysterectomy except my ovaries 2 weeks ago. I have been very active the last couple days and have been experiencing a lot of pain and my husband and I did have sex last night and know I wasn’t suppose too. One thing just lead to another. Now today I am having a lot of vaginal pain and now having brown discharge that I haven’t had since I came home from the hospital. Should I go see my obgyn?

    • better to visit your doctor

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