Caring for yourself at home after your Vulvectomy
You must follow strict discharge
instructions after your vulvectomy. Taking
care of your surgical site and watching for
problems are a vital part in healing well.
Care of your surgical site
Each time you urinate or have a bowel
movement, you must rinse this area very
well with warm water.
ξ Use the squirt bottle you were given.
You need to gently pat dry with a
soft towel to prevent any skin
ξ Then, dry this area very well using a
blow dryer. We suggest using a hair
dryer for at least 5-10 minutes on the
cool setting. This is simpler to do if
you are lying down in bed.
What to Expect after Surgery
ξ You may feel pain or soreness at
the surgical site.
ξ You may have a moderate
amount of blood-tinged drainage
for 1-2 weeks.
ξ If you have staples in your groin,
these will be removed in 12-14
days at your return clinic visit.
ξ If you had drains placed you may
clean the drain sites with mild
soap and water daily to prevent
any infection. Most drains will
not be taken out before you go
home. If you go home with
drains, your nurse will teach you
how to care for the drains and
how to measure the drainage
ξ You may have moderate
swelling, drainage and/or
bruising at the surgical site.
ξ You will go home with stitches
in. They will dissolve slowly
ξ You may have a change in the
direction of your urine stream or
it may spray in a way it didn't
before. Most often, it will help if
you sit further back on the toilet.
ξ It is not uncommon to have
sitting restrictions after this
surgery. Please discuss the
details of these restrictions with
your care team before discharge.
How to Prevent and Treat Constipation
If you are constipated and you are having
nausea and vomiting, call the Gyn/Onc RN
triage line/After Hours line at
To Prevent Constipation
You may have trouble with bowel
movements after you go home.
ξ Drink plenty of liquids.
ξ Avoid caffeine drinks as they may
ξ Being up and about is helpful as
ξ Narcotic pain pills will cause
constipation. Take a stool softener
(Docusate Sodium/Colace ) 100 mg
twice daily and Miralax 17 gm once
daily while on narcotics. You can
buy this without a prescription at the
If you have no bowel movement within 48
hours after leaving the hospital follow these
Have you had surgery on your bowels in
the last month?
ξ I don’t know - Please contact the
Gyn/Onc RN triage line/After
Hours line at 608-263-1548 to
review your records
ξ Yes - Increase Miralax to twice
daily dosing or take milk of
magnesia 2-4 tablespoonsful
ξ No – Take a rectal suppository,
like Dulcolax . You should have
a bowel movement within 4-6
When to call your Gyn/Onc Care Team
ξ If you have pain or soreness
that is not relieved by pain
ξ If you have swelling in your
ξ If your incision pulls apart or
ξ Redness or increasing
tenderness around any of the
ξ Pus-like (yellow, green or
thick) or foul smelling
drainage from the incisions
ξ Inability to tolerate food or
liquid by mouth
ξ Pain or burning with
ξ Fever (by mouth) greater than
ξ Constipation—no bowel
movement for greater than or
equal to 3 days
ξ Increased shortness of breath
Call 911 for emergencies
If you have any questions or problems when
you are home, please call:
After hours and weekends, the clinic number
will connect you with the paging operator.
Ask for the gynecology resident on call.
Give the operator your name and phone
number with the area code. The doctor will
call you back.
For clinic appointments call (608) 265-1700
Toll free phone number is 800-323-8942
Clinic fax number is (608) 263-2201
The Spanish version of this Health Facts for
You is #7094.
Your health care team may have given you this
information as part of your care. If so, please use it
and call if you have any questions. If this information
was not given to you as part of your care, please
check with your doctor. This is not medical advice.
This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of
any medical condition. Because each person’s health
needs are different, you should talk with your doctor
or others on your health care team when using this
information. If you have an emergency, please call
911. Copyright © 9/2017. University of Wisconsin
Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved.
Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#5638