Dilation and Curettage: What to Expect at Home

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Your Recovery

Dilation and curettage (D&C) is a procedure to remove tissue from the inside of the uterus. The doctor used a curved tool, called a curette, to gently scrape tissue from your uterus.

You are likely to have a backache, or cramps similar to menstrual cramps, and pass small clots of blood from your vagina for the first few days. You may continue to have light vaginal bleeding for several weeks after the procedure.

You will probably be able to go back to most of your normal activities in 1 or 2 days.

This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.

How can you care for yourself at home?

Activity

  • Rest when you feel tired. Getting enough sleep will help you recover.
  • Avoid strenuous activities, such as bicycle riding, jogging, weight lifting, or aerobic exercise, until your doctor says it is okay.
  • Most women are able to return to work the day after the procedure.
  • You may have some light vaginal bleeding. Wear sanitary pads if needed. Do not douche or use tampons for 2 weeks or until your doctor says it is okay.
  • Ask your doctor when it is okay for you to have sex.
  • If you could become pregnant, talk about birth control with your doctor. Do not try to become pregnant until your doctor says it is okay.

Diet

  • You can eat your normal diet. If your stomach is upset, try bland, low-fat foods like plain rice, broiled chicken, toast, and yogurt.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (unless your doctor tells you not to).

Medicines

  • Your doctor will tell you if and when you can restart your medicines. He or she will also give you instructions about taking any new medicines.
  • If you take blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin, be sure to talk to your doctor. He or she will tell you if and when to start taking those medicines again. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Take pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • If you think your pain medicine is making you sick to your stomach:
    • Take your medicine after meals (unless your doctor has told you not to).
    • Ask your doctor for a different pain medicine.
  • If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).
  • You have severe trouble breathing.
  • You have chest pain and shortness of breath, or you cough up blood.
  • You have severe pain in your belly.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have bright red vaginal bleeding that soaks one or more pads each hour for 2 or more hours.
  • You pass blood clots that are larger than a golf ball.
  • You have vaginal discharge that smells bad.
  • You are sick to your stomach or cannot keep fluids down.
  • You have pain that does not get better after you take pain medicine.
  • You have pain that is getting worse 2 days after the procedure.
  • You have a fever over 38°C.
  • Your belly feels tender, or full and hard.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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Current as of: May 30, 2016