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Vaginal hysterectomy (womb removal surgery)

A vaginal hysterectomy can be used treat a range of gynaecological conditions, including endometriosis and uterine fibroids

Doctor speaking to patient ahead of planned vaginal hysterectomy (womb removal surgery)
Hysterectomy describes the surgical removal of your womb (also known as your uterus). This is most commonly performed to treat problems that affect the female reproductive system.

There are three main types of hysterectomy operation:

The type you have will depend on various factors, from your age and weight, to the reasons you are having the operation (the condition you live with). A hysterectomy will typically be performed by a consultant gynaecologist, who might also be referred to as a gynaecological surgeon.

At Circle Health Group, we understand that the reason for undergoing a hysterectomy often causes immense emotional challenges as well as physical, and that the prospect of having a hysterectomy can be unnerving.

Our network of consultant gynaecologists is here to support you emotionally and physically throughout your journey to better health, ensuring you experience outstanding care before, during and after surgery. You will be treated by a consultant-led, multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals who are all committed to delivering excellent, tailored-to-you care that puts your needs first.

A vaginal hysterectomy starts from £8,985*.

Our price package includes the cost of your surgery and all appropriate aftercare appointments. However, any pre-surgery diagnostic tests and your consultant's outpatient appointment consultation fee are charged separately.

We offer flexible payment options to help you spread the cost of your payment across a time period that suits you. Our fixed-term pay-monthly plans are available in terms of one to five years, with no deposit required. If you decide to pay over 10 months, you will pay interest-free. If you are paying for a longer period, you will pay 14.9% APR.

If you have private health insurance, a vaginal hysterectomy will usually be covered by your policy. Speak directly to your insurance provider to find out.

*This is a guide price for patients who are paying for their own treatment. The actual cost of your treatment will be confirmed in writing at the time of booking.

Symptoms that can indicate the need for a vaginal hysterectomy include:

  • Heavy periods (where other treatment options have not helped)
  • Painful periods
  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • Pain during sex
  • Abnormal bleeding

If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, and they're significantly impacting your quality of life, it could be that a hysterectomy could help you. A hysterectomy is a major procedure, and for most conditions it won't be recommended unless other, more conservative treatments have been tried and have not been able to sufficiently improve your symptoms.

The symptoms above can be caused by various gynaecological conditions, including:

Uterine fibroids

Most women will develop one or more uterine fibroids during their reproductive lifespan. Uterine fibroids can lead to heaviness and pressure across your pelvic area. If left untreated, uterine fibroids will continue to grow, causing increased pelvic pain. A vaginal hysterectomy is sometimes used to treat severe fibroids.

Cancer of your uterus, cervix, or ovaries

Many women with cancer of the womb are treated with a total hysterectomy to remove the organs affected and therefore the cancer. Depending on where your cancer has spread, your consultant surgeon might also remove your fallopian tubes.


Endometriosis is a condition where cells from the uterine lining (the endometrium) are found outside your womb. It can cause a variety of distressing symptoms, including chronic pain, fatigue, and infertility. A total hysterectomy is sometimes used to treat severe endometriosis.

Prolapse of your uterus

This occurs when your uterus slips down from its normal position and bulges into your vagina. It can cause significant pain and discomfort and result in urinary incontinence (leaking urine when you cough, sneeze or exercise). It can also cause discomfort and numbness during sex. A prolapse of the uterus can often occur after you give birth.

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

This is a bacterial infection of the female reproductive system. If detected early, it can be effectively treated with antibiotics. If not, it can spread, causing damage to your womb and fallopian tubes, resulting in long-term pain. A hysterectomy to remove your womb and fallopian tubes might be recommended if you experience extreme pain from PID that has not been alleviated through other treatment options.

Why might you have a vaginal hysterectomy over other types of hysterectomy?

As mentioned above, the type of hysterectomyyou have depends on a variety of factors often related to your personal circumstances. These include the condition you live with, your age, and your general health and fitness levels.

It also depends on how much of your womb and reproductive system can be safely left in place. For example, a total hysterectomy involves the removal of both your uterus and cervix, whereas a subtotal hysterectomy removes only your uterus. Naturally, these different types of surgeries require different techniques. A vaginal hysterectomy is less invasive than an abdominal hysterectomy and has a faster recovery time, but may not be appropriate for everyone.

Your consultant will ensure you understand which type of hysterectomy you need and how they will perform it.

You can usually see a consultant gynaecologist for your initial consultation within 48 hours of booking your appointment with us.

At this first appointment, your consultant will ask about your general health and examine your medical history. They will want to know about existing medical conditions you suffer from, as well as the current symptoms you are experiencing. They will also want to know how these symptoms impact your everyday life, how often they occur, and whether you have tried treatment options for them already.

Next, your consultant will gently carry out a physical examination of your pelvis to check for any points of tenderness or visible problems, such as lesions or cysts. If a problem is found, your consultant will organise further testing.

This might include an ultrasound scan, which offers your consultant the best digital view of your reproductive organs. Or you may need to have a laparoscopy, which allows your consultant to look inside your stomach, using a very small camera. The latter procedure is necessary to conclusively diagnose conditions including endometriosis and ovarian cysts. It's a surgical procedure that our gynaecologists perform very regularly at Circle Health Group.

It is important to remember that your initial consultation is a positive step in your journey toward better health. Your consultant is there to answer any questions you might have about your condition(s) and ease any concerns you might experience about undergoing hysterectomy surgery. We understand that making the decision to have a hysterectomy is a major one, and we welcome any questions you might have about the procedure, however trivial they might seem.

The wait between your initial consultation and undergoing treatment depends on your individual circumstances and whether you have been diagnosed with a gynaecological condition. When you go private with Circle health Group, our team will book you in for surgery as soon as is necessary, and we don't cancel or rearrange operations except in extreme circumstances.

After your initial consultation, our multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals will ensure you understand the next steps in your journey and how to prepare for your operation, should you need one.

There is not a lot you can do to physically prepare for a hysterectomy. Still, remaining generally healthy and fit in the runup to surgery helps reduce your risk of developing complications from the procedure and can even speed up your recovery. In preparation for the procedure, we recommend that you:

  • Stop smoking
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Lose weight (if you are overweight)

You will have blood tests and a general health check with your consultant before surgery to ensure you are healthy enough for the procedure. You will be able to ask your consultant as many questions as you would like about the procedure and how to prepare for it. They will offer tailored advice based on your circumstances.

Preparing emotionally for a hysterectomy

A hysterectomy can be an emotional experience. The sudden change to your hormones caused by the removal of one or more parts of your reproductive system can cause mood swings and feelings of depression. The loss of fertility can also take an emotional toll on some women. But there are ways you can prepare emotionally for the surgery to protect your mental wellbeing afterwards.

Ensure you have a strong support system around you who will be there to support you physically and emotionally after surgery.

Consider trying talking therapy, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), before and after surgery to help you manage your emotions by changing the way you think and behave. Your therapist can work with you to develop coping mechanisms to manage how you feel after having a hysterectomy.

You can discuss techniques for coping emotionally with a hysterectomy with your consultant, who is there to answer any questions about it you might have.

A vaginal hysterectomy can be performed using any of the following:

During the operation, your consultant will remove your womb and cervix through an incision made at the top of your vagina. Specialist instruments will then be inserted into your vagina to detach the womb from the ligaments that hold it there. After your consultant has removed your womb and cervix, they will close the incision at the top of your vagina with stitches.

The procedure usually takes around one to two hours to perform.

Will I have my ovaries removed?

A total hysterectomy does not necessarily include the removal of the ovaries. In some instances your consultant will judge that it's better to keep your ovaries. In other cases, and in particular if you are at high risk of certain cancers, your ovaries will be removed during your hysterectomy operation.

The surgical removal of the ovaries is called an oophorectomy.

Recovering in hospital

When you wake up following surgery, you will experience some pain and discomfort across your tummy and pelvic area. This is normal and you will be offered painkillers to reduce the pain.

When you wake up, you will have:

  • A gauze pack inserted in your vagina to minimise the risk of bleeding
  • Dressings placed over your wounds to protect them
  • A catheter, which is a small tube that drains urine from your bladder into a plastic collection bag

The day after your surgery, your physiotherapist will encourage you to get out of bed and walk to help your blood flow. They will also show you a series of pelvic floor exercises that you can perform at home to reduce your pain and improve your mobility as you recover.

Six to eight weeks after surgery

You will be able to return home between one and four days after your operation.

It usually takes between six and eight weeks to fully recover after having a vaginal hysterectomy. During this time, you should continue to perform the exercises your physiotherapist has taught you in hospital. Rest as much as possible and avoid heavy lifting and high-impact sport. Try brisk walks and gentle swimming for exercise but be gentle with yourself as you recover.

Drink plenty of fluids and increase your fibre intake to help with bowel and bladder movements (some people experience constipation after surgery).

Returning to work

If your job does not involve manual work or heavy lifting, it may be possible to return to work between four and eight weeks after your hysterectomy. Your consultant will be able to offer tailored advice on how quickly you will be able to return to work, based on their knowledge of your personal circumstances.

Driving after surgery

Do not drive until you can comfortably wear a seatbelt and safely perform an emergency stop. This can be anything from three to eight weeks after surgery, and you should speak with your insurance company to see when they consider you to be safe to drive again.

Expect vaginal discharge.

After a hysterectomy, you will experience some vaginal bleeding and discharge that can last up to six weeks. This is normal. Your consultant will explain this to you before surgery so that it isn't a cause for concern during your recovery period.

Expect symptoms associated with the menopause

If your ovaries are removed, you will usually experience menopausal symptoms after your operation. These can include: 

  • Sweating
  • Difficult sleeping
  • Hot flushes
  • Low mood and anxiety
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Reduced sex drive

You may be recommended hormone replacement therapy (HRT) after your operation to combat these symptoms. This can be given in the form of an implant, injections, or tablets, and your consultant will talk you through your options.

At Circle Health Group, we offer anterior and posterior repair surgery with hysterectomy, as well as primary repair of enterocele with cystoscopy. This surgery is performed to treat pelvic organ prolapse.

Pelvic organ prolapse is a very common condition, particularly among older women. It happens when one or more organs from your pelvis slip down and bulge out of your vagina. One of the most common kinds of pelvic organ prolapse is called a cystocele.

Anterior repair surgery

A cystocele can be treated with a procedure called anterior repair surgery (colporrhaphy). The operation is performed through your vagina. It involves making an incision in the front of your vagina so that your bladder and/or urethra can be pushed back into place.

Posterior repair surgery

Another common form of prolapse is called a rectocele. This happens when the supportive wall of tissue between your rectum and vaginal wall weakens. Without the support of these pelvic floor muscles and ligaments, the front wall of your rectum sags and bulges into your vagina, and can bulge from your vaginal opening.

Surgical repair of a rectocele is called a posterior repair. The procedure is similar to an anterior repair. During it, your consultant will make an incision on the back wall of your vagina and push your rectum back into place.

Primary repair of enterocele with cystoscopy

Enterocele happens when your small intestine descends into the lower pelvic cavity and pushes at the top part of the vagina, creating a bulge. It can be treated with primary repair surgery, during which your consultant moves your prolapsed small bowel back into place and tightens the connective tissue of your pelvic floor. The surgery can be performed with a cystoscopy to look inside your bladder to assess damage to your other organs.

In some cases, your consultant will perform a vaginal hysterectomy (the removal of your prolapsed uterus) during each of the repair surgeries mentioned above to treat the prolapse.

It is important to remember that complications can occur during any surgery, not just a total hysterectomy.

Potential complication during a surgical procedure include:

  • Scarring
  • Blood clots
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Chest infection
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke

Specific complications that can occur during a total hysterectomy include:

  • Difficulty passing urine
  • Infection
  • Scarring
  • Bladder damage
  • Bowel damage
  • Ureter damage
  • Early menopause

If you have any concerns about these, speak with your consultant. They will be able to discuss their likelihood with you in more detail and put your worries at ease.

How soon can I walk after a hysterectomy?

You can start walking around 24 hours after surgery. Your physiotherapist will help you get out of bed and walk as carefully as possible. 

How long does a vaginal hysterectomy take?

The surgery takes around one to two hours to perform.

Does a vaginal hysterectomy remove your cervix?

Yes, during a vaginal hysterectomy, your womb and cervix are removed through an incision made in the top of your vagina.

Does a hysterectomy stop discharge?

No, a vaginal hysterectomy does not stop discharge. After a hysterectomy, you will experience some vaginal bleeding and discharge. This will be less discharge than during a period, but it can last up to six weeks.

Is a vaginal hysterectomy painful?

You will not feel pain during a vaginal hysterectomy, but you will probably experience some pain and discomfort for the first few weeks after surgery. You can manage this through a combination of pain medication, physiotherapy, and rest. You should follow the recovery programme your consultant has set for you and be gentle with yourself in the first six weeks after surgery.

When you choose to go private with Circle Health Group, you can expect:

  • Flexible appointment times and locations to fit your routine
  • The freedom to choose which hospital and Consultant suit your needs
  • Personalised, Consultant-led treatment plans tailored to your individual needs
  • Comfortable and safe private facilities maintained by expert multidisciplinary teams
  • Support by the same compassionate clinical team from beginning to end
  • Affordable, fixed-price packages with aftercare included
  • Flexible payment options to spread the cost of your care

If you would like to learn more about having a hysterectomy or any other gynaecological treatment with Circle Health Group, book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly on 0141 300 5009.

Content reviewed by Circle in-house team in August 2022. Next review due August 2025.

  1. Vaginal hysterectomy, Mayo Clinic
  2. How it's performed - Hysterectomy, NHS
  3. Vaginal hysterectomy – recovering well patient information leaflet, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
  4. Patient education: Vaginal hysterectomy (Beyond the Basics), UpToDate
  5. Vaginal Hysterectomy: Recovery, Procedure, and More, Healthline

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