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Discharge Instructions for Incontinence Surgery

Your recovery at home will take some time. You will likely need 6 to 8 weeks to recover fully. The guidelines below will help you heal. Be sure to follow any other instructions that your healthcare provider gives you.

Don't lift or strain

Lifting or straining can damage your healing pelvic floor muscles.

  • For the first 6 weeks after surgery, don't lift anything that weighs more than 5 pounds. This includes children, grocery bags, and briefcases. Also don't push or pull heavy items, such as a vacuum cleaner.

  • After the first 6 weeks, you can start to lift heavier things. But don’t lift anything that weighs more than 10 to 15 pounds until your healthcare provider says it’s OK.

  • While you heal, drink at least 8 glasses of fluids each day. Eat foods high in fiber. This helps prevent constipation, which may lead to straining. Ask your healthcare provider whether you should take laxatives.

Care for your incisions

Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions to care for your incisions. Here are some guidelines:

  • Put nothing into your vagina for the first 6 to 8 weeks. This includes tampons and douches.

  • You may have light vaginal bleeding or discharge for about a week. Use sanitary pads. Don't use tampons.

  • Take showers instead of baths. Getting into and out of the tub can strain an incision.

  • If adhesive strips were used to close an incision, leave them in place for 1 week. After that, you may wet and remove them.

  • Don't have sex for 6 to 8 weeks.

Be active

Follow any advice your healthcare provider gives you to help you be active. This may include the following:

  • Take walks often to help your body heal and regain strength after surgery. Ask your provider how often you should walk and for how long.

  • Don't lift weights, jog, or run until your healthcare provider says that you can.

  • Ask your healthcare provider whether you should avoid climbing stairs and, if so, for how long.

  • Don’t drive until your provider says it’s OK and you are no longer taking prescription pain medicine (about 6 weeks).

Your return to work

You can return to work 3 to 6 weeks after surgery. When you do start working again, don't lift or strain.

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider if you have any of the following:

  • Pain that is severe or seems to be getting worse

  • Fever of 100.4° F, ( 38.0°C ) or higher, or as directed by your provider

  • Chills

  • Heavy vaginal bleeding

  • Lots of blood in your urine

  • Trouble peeing

  • Swollen, very red, or tender incision

  • Vomiting that won’t stop

  • Chest pain

  • Shortness of breath

  • Symptoms of a bladder infection. This may include fever, pain or burning feeling when peeing, and needing to pee but not being able to.

Online Medical Reviewer: Marc Greenstein MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Kent Turley BSN MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Tennille Dozier RN BSN RDMS
Date Last Reviewed: 5/1/2022
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