Post-op Care

  • RECOVERY TIME: Your recovery time is dependent on the type of surgery you will have.  You will be up and walking around the day after surgery, but you will be placed on lifting restrictions.  The range of these restrictions can be anywhere from 6 weeks for vaginal surgery to 12 weeks for laparoscopic surgery. This may change depending on the discretion of the surgeon.
  • ACTIVITY: Take it easy and rest. You may go to the bathroom, walk around the house, watch TV, etc. Even if you feel better, try to avoid anything that causes straining such as cleaning the house, rearranging your room, etc. This may increase bleeding and swelling to the operative area.
  • DIET: Postoperative nausea is not unusual. Try to increase your diet as you can tolerate it. Start off with liquids such a soup or broth and crackers, fruit juices, etc. If your nausea is severe and you did not get any nausea medication, call the office and we will call in a prescription for you.
  • SIGNS OF INFECTION: Fever of 101° F (oral temperature), greatly increased or excessive pain, redness or excessive swelling, foul odor or drainage. These signs and symptoms usually become apparent in 36-48 hours, but can happen at any time. Call the office if this occurs.
  • DRIVING: No driving for 1 week or as long as you are taking narcotics (i.e., pain medications). This may change based on the type of surgery you are having.  Be careful getting in and out of the car.
  • BOWEL MOVEMENTS: Due to the effects of anesthesia from surgery, it may awhile for your bowels to get back to normal. Once you increase your diet, your bowels should start to work along with passing gas. You need to start taking over-the-counter Colace (Docusate Sodium) when you get home from the hospital. This is a stool softener so you do not have to strain when having bowel movements. Follow the directions on the bottle. If you have not had a bowel movement for two days after discharge, take MILK OF MAGNESIA (1-2 tablespoons every 6-8 hours as needed) or a Dulcolax suppository. If you still have no bowel movement in two days after trying these remedies, please contact the office for further instructions.
  • SENSITIVITY OR ALLERGY TO DRESSINGS OR TAPE: Occasionally, allergic or sensitivity reactions may occur from soaps, ointments, tape or sutures used during or after surgery. Such problems are unusual and are usually mild and easily treated.


Vaginal and bladder surgeries used today are more advanced and less invasive for patients than even a few short years ago. However, with any type of bladder or vaginal reconstruction, there is a chance you may need a catheter to help empty your bladder after you go home. Approximately 80% of our patients are emptying their bladder well within 2-3 days; however, depending on how the body reacts to anesthesia and surgery, some patients may take a little longer.

When you awake from surgery, you will have a catheter emptying your bladder. For most patients, this will be taken out the following morning. The nurses will then let you try to empty your bladder twice as you feel the urge, measuring the amount each time. After the second urination, they will then use a device called a bladder scan to measure the amount of urine still left in your bladder (residual urine). They will then contact our office for further instructions.
If your doctor feels you need to go home with a catheter, you have two options:

  1. You can go home with an indwelling catheter (Foley cath) which is attached to a bag to collect urine and continuously empties your bladder. Our office will arrange for a nurse to visit you at your home approximately 2-3 days after surgery to test how well you are emptying. The home health agency must be arranged according to your address and your insurance. These agencies make their own schedules. They will contact you regarding what time they visit your home.
  2. The second option is to go home doing Intermittent Self-Catheterization (ISC). With ISC, you use a small, “in and out” catheter to intermittently empty the bladder yourself. The nurse at the hospital will teach you ISC if you choose this option and will give you all the supplies you will need. Most patients can accomplish this easily with practice. This method allows emptying your bladder to act “normal”, giving you the usual sensation of filling and emptying, thus exercising the bladder muscle. We ask that you keep a voiding diary and call us in two to three days with your progress. We will then decide if you need to continue with ISC.
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