Many procedures will require plenty of time for you to heal, and when it comes to a cervical cuff, this is no exception.
After you have a serious procedure like a hysterectomy, the recovery period can depend on a number of factors.
However, after undergoing a hysterectomy, you will undergo a cervical or vaginal cuff and typically the recovery time is about eight weeks, but as I said – there are differing factors for this.
As you can imagine, there’s a lot I need to unpack here, so I’ve written this handy guide that explains everything you need to know. So – if you still have a lot of questions, read below and have them all answered!
What Is A Cervical Cuff?
A cervical cuff, otherwise known as a vaginal cuff, is part of the repair and recovery of your body after you have undergone a radical hysterectomy.
This involves your uterus and your cervix being removed along with the upper part of the vagina and adjacent uterus tissue.
Where the removal takes place, a cervical cuff may be necessary which is pretty much a sewing or closure of the area.
This type of procedure is entirely common and normal, but of course many women will be concerned about the recovery time and what they should do.
What You Can Expect With Cervical Cuff Recovery
As I briefly mentioned earlier, the typical recovery time from a cervical cuff is about eight weeks, but many women will recover before this and many more will take longer to recover.
As recovery can be subjective, some women take months after this to recover.
During the recovery period, your GP will likely check in with you frequently so they can monitor your progress, and they might be able to provide you with some helpful tips or advice to speed up your recovery.
One possible solution they may provide is a vaginal oestrogen cream (if applicable for postmenopausal women) as this can help to quicken tissue recovery.
If there are any signs of oozing or other problems near the cuff site, your doctor might recommend silver nitrate.
This is normally administered as a cream, but it depends on the person and the situation. Other medical options may be required instead.
For the first two to three months after you have undergone surgery, you are advised to take things slow and easy, and avoid anything that could potentially put pressure onto your cervical cuff incision.
Recovery Dos And Don’ts
There are a number of things which your doctor will go through with you in terms of your recovery. However, there are a few basics to remember. Below you will find a list of dos and don’ts which you should adhere to.
- Get plenty of rest
- Stick with a healthy and balanced diet
- Stay hydrated
- Keep in touch with your doctor and others
- Take painkillers in a controlled way if needed
- Have sexual intercourse
- Force bowel movements
- Cough too hard (speak with a GP if this proves difficult)
- Lift heavy objects
- Perform any tasks that puts pressure on your lower abdomen
Possible Complications Of A Cervical Cuff
One of the possible complications of a cervical cuff is a tear. While this is a rare occurrence, it can happen and it’s when the incision used to make the cuff rips open causing the wound to separate.
This usually only occurs in one percent of women who have undergone a hysterectomy, but nonetheless, it’s important that you take your recovery very seriously and avoid things that could possibly lead to a tear.
If a tear occurs, other complications like bowel evisceration can happen. So, if you believe a tear has occurred, you must seek medical assistance immediately.
Identifying A Cervical Cuff Tear
As I said, a tear is extremely serious and would be classed as a medical emergency, so always call for help straight away if you suspect a tear. Any of the following symptoms could be a sign of a tear:
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
- Vaginal bleeding or vaginal discharge
- Unexplained fluid rushing from the vagina
- Extreme pressure in the lower pelvic area
- A large mass has appeared in the lower pelvic or vaginal area
At this point, it’s wise that I explain that a cervical cuff tear can actually occur years after your procedure, and not just in the following months after the surgery. However, these months are when it is much more likely.
If you are in the one percent of women and need to have a cervical cuff tear repaired, then you will go to the hospital for surgery.
Antibiotic therapy is normally administered after corrective surgery to avoid any potential infections.
Indeed, the risk of an abscess and other infections is high during this time, (see also: Can You Have A UTI And Yeast Infection At The Same Time?)so it’s critical to listen to medical advice following repair and keep up with any prescribed medication, such as antibiotics.
Normally, you will be asked to return to your GP on a regular basis after repair, or they may even visit you at your home to ensure your recovery is going well.
Handy Tips During Recovery
It can often be a case of “easier said than done” for a lot of these tips.
For some women, they feel they do not have the time to simply rest. However, it’s critical that you get adequate rest and do not do any unnecessary strenuous tasks.
I advise that you speak with someone who can assist you throughout your recovery, like a friend, family member or partner. The recovery period will be much better and you will recover much faster if you allow yourself the time to heal. Above all – remain positive!
The Bottom Line
Cervical cuffs heal usually in eight weeks, but this will depend on you and how well your recovery process is going. If you are ever worried, get medical assistance and advice straight away.