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Discharge Instructions: Surgery for Cancer of the Uterus

Surgery is the most common treatment for both types of uterine cancer: endometrial cancer and uterine sarcoma. You may have had your uterus removed. This is called a hysterectomy. You may have had your fallopian tubes and ovaries removed, too. This is called a hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. Lymph nodes in the area are sometimes removed, too. Next, you may need radiation therapy after you heal from surgery. You may also need chemotherapy.

Talk to your healthcare providers about how long you have to wait before going back to your normal activities, what your pain medicines are and how you should take them, and when you need to see your providers again. Follow all instructions given to you by your healthcare providers.

Make sure you:

  • Understand what you can and can’t do, and follow these instructions.

  • Know what your surgery site should look like and how to care for it.

  • Know what your medicines are for, how and when to take them, and what side effects you might have.

  • Keep your follow-up appointments.

  • Call your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns about how you feel.

Activity

You may have to limit certain activities for a period of time after surgery. You may find that you need extra rest throughout the day. But try to get up and move around as you are able. Ask family members or friends to help with shopping, meals, housework, and other tasks.

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 don’t need to go up and down often.

  • Whether or not you can lift heavy objects, and what your weight limits are for lifting.

  • When you can drive. Don't drive if you're taking pain medicine that causes drowsiness.

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

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

Other self-care

To help with your recovery and prevent problems:

  • Take only the medicines that your healthcare provider prescribes. Tell your provider if you take other medicines. These include prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and other supplements.

  • Take pain medicine as directed.

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

  • Try to keep from getting constipated. To do this:

    • Eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

    • Drink a lot of water and other healthy drinks.

    • Call your healthcare provider if you are having trouble with bowel movements. You may need a prescription medicine. 

  • Talk with your healthcare providers about taking care of your incisions. 

  • Ask when you can shower. Don’t take a tub bath until your healthcare provider says it’s OK.

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

  • Ask when you can have sex again. It's very important to follow your provider’s instructions about this. The healing vagina is very weak and the suture line can open.

  • Tell your healthcare provider if you have hot flashes or mood swings. There are medicines that can help you if needed.

Follow-up care

Make a follow-up appointment as instructed. If you're having more cancer treatment after surgery, make sure you understand how to be ready for treatment.

When to call your healthcare provider

Talk with your healthcare provider about what other signs to look for, and when you should call him or her. Ask how to reach your healthcare provider in case of emergency. Ask what number to call on weekends, holidays, and in the evening, too. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these: 

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

  • Chills

  • Bright red vaginal bleeding or a smelly discharge

  • Vaginal bleeding that is more than just spotting

  • Trouble urinating or burning when you urinate

  • Severe pain or bloating in your belly

  • Redness, swelling, fluid leaking, or opening of your incision site

  • Chest pain

  • Nausea or vomiting that doesn't go away

  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing

  • Swelling, redness, or pain in 1 of your arms or legs

Online Medical Reviewer: Howard Goodman MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Kimberly Stump-Sutliff RN MSN AOCNS
Online Medical Reviewer: Lu Cunningham RN BSN
Date Last Reviewed: 3/1/2020
© 2000-2020 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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