Bowel Infection after Hysterectomy

Complications after hysterectomy include intestinal obstruction and bowel infection. Read ahead to know the causes and symptoms of bowel infection after hysterectomy, and also what type of bowel problems can arise after hysterectomy.
HerHaleness Staff
Last Updated: Mar 5, 2018
Surgical removal of the uterus and ovaries is called hysterectomy. Depending upon the causes and symptoms, ovaries and the adjoining structures are removed or retained, while removing the uterus. There exist several types of surgical procedures, for example, vaginal, abdominal, and robotic hysterectomy. When the surgery is performed on a young or premenopausal woman, it induces premature menopause and leads to hormonal imbalance. Side effects of surgical removal of uterus include osteoporosis, increased risk of heart diseases, vaginal dryness, decreased sexual pleasure, mood changes, depression, abdominal adhesions and fatigue. Adhesions can cause bowel obstruction after hysterectomy and can lead to bowel infection.
Bladder Problems after Hysterectomy
Some women may complain about bladder pain after hysterectomy. If the bladder gets hurt during the surgery, then the woman might experience pain in that particular area. Some women may suffer from bladder atony (lack of muscular tone) and inability to void urine due to injury to the bladder. The woman may suffer from urinary tract infection, leading to pain in the lower abdomen. Increased frequency or urgency for urination can be noticed in case of a urinary tract or bladder infection. Sometimes, bladder spasms are experienced by the woman due to catheter irritation. Surgery may lead to accumulation of a small quantity of blood near the bladder; which might result in bladder spasms. All this can affect bladder movement seriously.
Bowel Infection after Hysterectomy
Wound Infection
If the wound is infected, pain and itching or a burning sensation in the wound is experienced by the woman. Discharge from the wound, swelling around the wound, or a bloated appearance indicates infection in the wound. Leakage due to suture granulomas and endometriosis can cause severe pain. A pus type drainage indicates wound abscess. Along with skin irritation, the woman may suffer from fever, body ache and nausea. The infection may spread to the abdominal cavity. Unattended blood clots can lead to bowel problems after hysterectomy. If the symptoms of infection are noticed, then the woman should see the doctor immediately. It might take 3 - 4 months to get rid of the symptoms.
Bowel pain immediately after hysterectomy is experienced when the trapped wind moves around inside the bowels. Most of the time, the symptoms like bowel pain, subside within a few days. But when adhesions are formed, the woman may experience constipation, or irritable bowel syndrome (constipation and diarrhea). If adhesions obstruct the intestines, then the woman may experience severe abdominal pain or abdominal cramps. Adhesions are the bands of fibrous scar tissues which develop between the organs and tissues of the abdomen. They get attached to the walls of the abdomen or cause the tissues and other organs to stick together. This can lead to obstruction of the bowels. Decreased blood flow to intra-abdominal organs can result in several complications. Anesthetic complications may lead to liver failure, while renal artery spasm may affect the kidney functioning seriously. Small bowel obstruction can be noticed after 6 months or even after 10 years. Severe bowel injury may require colostomy, but this is very rare.
Almost all patients who undergo an abdominal surgery develop adhesions. Chances of developing adhesions are maximum when abdominal surgeries are performed on the lower abdomen and pelvis. Since hysterectomy involves handling of the internal organs, the use of foreign materials like a gauze, surgical gloves (leading to foreign body reaction), etc.; chances of developing scar tissues and infections are more. Formation of scar tissues may result in intestinal obstruction, audible bowel sounds, difficulty in passing gas, bouts of constipation, and swelling of the abdominal area. Intestinal obstruction can result in bowel infection. Protruding of bowels through abdominal incision or vagina (herniation) can lead to pain, infection, and other problems.
Abdominal massage with essential oil can dislodge adhesions. Massage promotes free-flowing of blood and lymph fluid in the area. Certain therapies like acupressure and acupuncture help to lower the pain. You cannot avoid adhesions but can at least prevent the worsening of the situation. Similarly, by maintaining proper hygiene and by following the instructions given by the doctor, you can prevent wound infections.
A laparoscopic surgery is recommended over the traditional one, as it minimizes the chances of infection and the development of scar tissues or adhesions. In case of severe symptoms, a surgery is required to remove adhesions. If the symptoms of bowel infection after hysterectomy are mild, then they can be managed with prompt medication and a proper diet. If you are planning to undergo hysterectomy, you should discuss with your doctor about the procedure with minimum side effects, in advance.