Most women experience no complications during or following a hysterectomy. In fact, the relief of painful symptoms often results in a positive post-surgery experience. In some cases, the surgeon must change from a vaginal incision to an abdominal incision during surgery.

Risks associated with the procedure include the following:

  • Blood clots
  • Bowel or bladder injury
  • Heavy blood loss requiring transfusion
  • Infection
  • Problems with anesthesia
  • Wound pulling open after surgery

Following hysterectomy, long-term complications can include the following:

  • Decrease in sexual desire (if both ovaries have been removed)
  • Feelings of loss or diminished femininity
  • Increased risk for osteoporosis in women under age 45
  • Pain during sex (if vagina has been partially removed)
  • Pelvic weakness
  • Vaginal dryness (caused by low estrogen levels if ovaries are removed)

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 10 Jun 2001

Last Modified: 17 Sep 2015