4 Bladder problems after hysterectomy and what to do about it

bladder problems after hysterectomySome women suffer from unexpected bladder problems after hysterectomy, like a weak bladder or repeated infections.

We all know that having problems with our bladder is a part of getting old. But, if you have to face problems like incontinence in your early forties, that is hard to accept.

It is not uncommon that post hysterectomy women complain about lack of bladder control, bladder spasms, a burning feeling and frequent visits to the bathroom.

 

Though there is often no need for concern, as most of these problems will resolve themselves in time.

A hysterectomy is a major operation that will weaken the pelvic muscles. After the hysterectomy your bladder will miss the support it had from your uterus and its position in the pelvis will be different. During your hysterectomy recovery period the pelvis will heal and your feeling and control of the bladder will gradually return.

Sometimes these bladder problems insist. Bladder problems after hysterectomy that may need medical attention are bladder injury, overactive bladder, stress incontinence and bladder infections.

 

1.Bladder injury

With every operation there is a risk of complications. One of the risks of a hysterectomy is that the surgeon can accidentally injure the bladder with one of the instruments. Usually when this happens the surgeon will try to repair it. But if the injury goes unnoticed, one may suffer very uncomfortable complications.

For instance, when urine is leaking from the bladder in the abdomen, it may cause peritonitis, a life threatening condition.

When your bladder problems after hysterectomy begin with urine leaking from the vagina, it is likely that a hole (fistula) exists between the bladder and the vagina. Such a vesicovaginal fistula is often the result of untreated bladder injury, and rarely closes spontaneously. This means the woman will need a second surgery to close this abnormal passage.

They may say that bladder injuries are rare, as they happen in only 2% of all hysterectomy surgeries. In the US they do yearly 600.000 hysterectomies, this means that 12.000 woman will suffer bladder injury.

 

2.Overactive bladder problems after hysterectomy

Sometimes nerve damage or infections are the reason of an overactive bladder after surgery.

This crazy, unstoppable feeling that you have to go to the toilet, even if you have little or no urine in the bladder  is because of a malfunctioning of the bladder’s Detrusor muscle.

Overactive bladder problems after hysterectomy include frequent visits to the bathroom, even during the night (nocturia) and leaking urine.

What can you do about it?

  • Strengthen the pelvic muscles with Kegel exercises.
  • Avoid substances that will irritate the bladder like coffee, alcohol, carbonated drinks and spicy meals.
  • Get rid of the extra pounds, as your extra weight can have a notable impact on the pelvic floor muscles that support your bladder.
  • There are several medications (anticholinergics ) that can help to relax the Detrusor muscle. Common side effects of these medications are a dry mouth, constipation and sometimes confusion.

3.Weak bladder

The inability to hold urine when you cough or laugh one calls stress incontinence, or as many women call it, a weak bladder.

In fact, it is a weakness of the muscles and the tissues that support the uterus and bladder. These are better known as the pelvic floor muscles.

During a hysterectomy there is an increased risk of damage of these pelvic floor muscles. If during surgery they remove the ovaries , estrogen levels in the body will drop. Low estrogen levels cause weak and less flexible tissues in the pelvic area.

You can correct a lot with pelvic floor exercise but sometimes it is so severe that a dropped bladder occurs (prolapse) and a woman needs surgical treatment.

The Aquaflex Pelvic Floor Exercise System is something you may like to try. This product will help you get stronger pelvic muscles and deal with stress incontinence.

A Swedish study shows, that women that underwent a hysterectomy where 2.7 times more at risk of having urine incontinence surgery within the next 5 years.

 

4.Bladder infection

Infections are common bladder problems after hysterectomy surgery. Usually they insert a catheter before or during a hysterectomy operation. With catheterization comes an increased risk of bacteria entering the urinary tract. This may cause an infection of the urethra or bladder which can, if not taken care of, eventually spread to the kidneys.

Normally the catheter stays in for one or two days and they remove it before you go home. Though, women often develop a UTI after they have gone home. First signs that show you may have a urinary tract infection are:

  • a burning feeling or pain when urinating
  • a feeling you need to urinate but you can’t
  • urinating more than usual
  • that the urine smells bad and is dark or cloudy

Your doctor may want you to have a  urine test to confirm that you have a urinary tract infection. You will soon feel better when you start antibiotic treatment and pain relieving medication.

Most common bladder problems after hysterectomy are recurring urinary tract infections. The sudden drop of the hormone estrogen is responsible for weakening of the tissues of the urethra and vagina, making women more susceptible to UTIs. Low dose vaginal creams containing estrogen seem to be beneficial in recurring infections.

 

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Comments

  1. Donna says

    I had my hysterectomy on Dec 8 2014 I notice that what ever I drink I’m always going to the bathroom and if I don’t hurry up and go I’ll urinate on myself. What can I do?

  2. Caroline says

    Emily,
    I know exactly what you are going through. I am almost 5 weeks post-op from Vag Hysterectomy, leaving only one ovary. I have been in horrible pain for the last couple of mornings and urinating blood, even passing a few clots. I am desperate for answers.

    • says

      Caroline and Emily,
      A possible reason is that the catheter tip (if you had one) scratched the inner lining of the urethra which can cause some bleeding and pain when urinating. This will heal in time and I would not worry too much unless you see only blood and no urine.Then ofcourse you should call your doctor. Drinking plenty of water and peeing a lot will stop blood clot formation and make it less painful.

  3. emily youmans says

    I just have a total abdominal hysterectomy 9 days ago. On Saturday i told my husband something was wrong. The pain was so bad when i urinated that i yelled each time. We went to the dr Monday, a uti or bladder infection. He put me on antibiotics and yeast infection meds. Im 47, after the surgery i told my dr i didnt know if i needed hormone meds yet. So far the night sweats are the only new symptoms ,but im sure more are to come. Bless each one of us as we go through these changes.

  4. ADM5 says

    I am praying for you ladies! I have been up since 4 am with the sensation that I have to urinate, but can’t. I had my surgery almost 5 months ago (TAH at 32 y/o) and have had several bladder issues. The doctor said there is blood in the urine, but they aren’t true UTI’s. If I drink a ton of water the problems resolve on their own after a few days. If you are taking antibiotics make sure you take probiotics too or you risk a yeast infection on top of the other symptoms. It was very painful to urinate for weeks (about 10-12 weeks) after my surgery and that has greatly reduced. First thing in the morning there is some discomfort. I am meeting with my doctor in a week to discuss my hormone levels. I feel like you really have to advocate for your health and push for the best treatment! God bless!

  5. Anita says

    I am almost 8 weeks post TAH and I have constant lower abdominal pressure and frequent unration. (The reason for this surgery in the first place) I also have a strange sensation in the lower abdomen. If I had done my research I may not have done this surgery. I wish someone could tell me that this is normal and will go away soon. Did anyone wear a support band after surgery?
    I wish everyone a speedy recovery.

  6. says

    I am 7 weeks post op and my bladder is out of control. This didn’t start straight away. I had a TAH and ended up with an odema that burst near the scar. It has started to heal but it’s been a long hard struggle. Once the wound burst this was when the bladder went mad. I am 41 and feel like I am 71. I sit down and I am leaking, I stand up i leak and I walk and leak

  7. Kim says

    I am almost 6 weeks post hysterectomy. Since my surgery I have had 3 bladder infections. Extreme pressure at all times, foul smell to my urine, urinating blood, and just this morning when I got up I leaked urine all the way to bathroom to the point where I peed my pants completely. When i do make it to the bathroom and relieve myself the pain from the bladder pressure is very intense. While i am on antibiotics it feels better, but generally 3-4 days after they’re gone it starts all over again. Do any of you have any thoughts on what and why this is and if it will “go away”, or can I expect it to continue until I have to have yet another procedure. I am gong to the Dr today, but to hear from those of you who have been through it is so much more comforting. I am frustrated at the thought of restarting antibiotics every 2 weeks or so just to keep this under control. Please, any answers any of you may have would be appreciated; I want to get back to work and feel normal again, and at this rate half the time I don’t dare leave the house.

    • Caroline says

      Hi there Kim,
      I am having the same issues. Did you ever get any answers? I am desperate as I am urinating blood and there doesn’t seem to be a reason.

  8. natasha says

    When I had my last child they cut a hole in my bladder….I had to have a hysterectomy just so they could fix the hole.. Its gonna be two years and my bladder is still out of control… I’m 26yrs old n I feel old and embarrassed.

  9. Madeline says

    I am 2 years off a hysterectomy, and having bladder problems, too. It was lower abdominal discomfort that took me to my GYN in the first place and she said I needed a complete hysterectomy because of the risk of cancer. Now, here I am a week from my 2nd anniversary, and I have the same lower abdominal discomfort plus more….. I don’t have UTI’s, but I have urinary incontence I never had before. No pain on urination but a full bladder is misery so I have been limiting my hydration, which also isn’t good. Arrgh!

  10. PHIRE BLU says

    I had a robot assist radical hysterectomy in sept 2011. Followed with chemo and radiation. And I have had a distended abdomen since. Ive gained weight all over when I was 117-120 pounds. I am now 145. And the most anoying feeling is the pain I get if the bladder is full. It hurts until 1/2 way emptied. Then it never feels like I released it all. Yet I wouldnt know if ai had another infection. See the feel of a uti in the past when the bladder felt like it was throbbing… is gone. I feel nothing unless pressure is applied over bladder. Or it is full. And I do have an “asprin like” smell to the urine. I know antibiotics will kill off all good benificial flora in the intestines. I had an infection when the cathedar was in after the surgery. But I tested clear with the urologist after that was out. They had me cath myself to retrain my bladder to release all urine. Yet it never worked for me. I would go until I couldnt and cath myself and release the rest. But who wants to do that every time? And risk uti if you run out of supplies or dont clean the ones you are forced to reuse again? There has to be a permenent fix!

  11. debbie says

    i had a hsysterectom on wednesday the 1st of october and now when i need to empty my bladder the muscals on my right side hurt is that normal

  12. karen says

    i am 9 weeks post op for TAH. 2 days after op i jad severe back pain and still to this day need crutches and morphine to help with walking and pain. i have also suffered incredible abdominal pain. mx first reaction was trauma of hysterectomy but pain is still continuing. i have had constant water infections but even in between infections i still have pain. it starts in pubic area after i urinated which is then followed by severe abnominal pain for a couple of hours. the only thing that slightly alleviates pain is lying down cos i have a dragging pain whilst standing or sitting.

  13. Kelly says

    I had a hysterectomy 9 weeks ago and am to still having bladder spasms and overactive bladder. Feeling desperate.

    • Erica says

      Hi Kelly
      I to had a hysterectomy with anterior/posterior repair. I had bladder an rectum spasms that now have greatly improved. I had not had an issue with stress incontinence till yesterday an yesterday was 6weeks since my surgery now I’m dribbling urine :/ I’m going to call an talk to my doctor Monday. I feel ya wish I had a answer for you but at this point looks like we may be in the same boat

  14. says

    I had a hysterectomy almost 8 weeks ago. I am having bladder spasms and symptoms of overactive bladder. You say it takes time for the bladder and everything to heal, but how long is long enough….any ideas or anyone else have this sensation after hysterectomy and how long did it last?

  15. teresa lucas says

    I had a hysterectomy , since I had the hysterectomy it is very diffulcult to move my bowels. I move my bowel like once a week.

    • Asman Marit says

      Hi Teresa, when did you have the hysterectomy? Many women have bowel problems after a hysterectomy. I had lots of problems passing my stools in the first months post op. I was so afraid that straining to pass my stools would cause my wound to open again. My doctor advised me to drink lots of fluids and to add plenty of fiber to my meals. Walking also helps to get your bowels going.

    • linda Kilpatrick says

      Any woman who has had a hysterectomy will have a mesh sling to hold up her bladder. Once that is done you will have terrible problems and bladder spasms. The only problem is getting it out will take you through a maze of hell. I know because I have been through it all. Type in Mesh Angel Network.

      • Tammy says

        I had a hystorectomy and didn’t have the mesh put in. The mesh is done if you consent for bladder repair only.

        • KT says

          I just had a TLH (total laparoscopic hysterectomy) and I did not have a bladder repair or a bladder sling put in place. I have encountered several bladder infections after my hysterectomy, but I have never suffered from any kind of incontinence. Since my hysterectomy I have suffered from several bladder infections and some urine leakage. It is not stress incontinence or prolasped bladder. My GYN is concerned that my urinary tract may have been damaged during my hysterectomy. Still undergoing tests to determine what is going on. I feel certain that having a bladder sling is not common during routine hysterectomy.

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