How Long Does It Take for Your Cervix To Heal After a D&C?

Medically Reviewed on 2/8/2023
Generally, it may take 2-3 days for complete recovery.
Generally, it may take 2-3 days for complete recovery.

The recovery from dilation and curettage (D&C) depends on the type of procedure and anesthesia administered. After the surgery, you will be made to rest for about 2-5 hours before going home.

Generally, it may take 2-3 days for complete recovery. You can resume your daily routine within 1-2 days after the procedure. Although you may be instructed not to douche, use tampons, or engage in sexual activities for 2-3 days or a period recommended by the physician after the D&C.

You may observe spotting or vaginal bleeding for a few days, so using a sanitary napkin is preferable. Avoid using tampons because it may increase the chances of infections. You may experience cramping for the first few days.

As the D&C involves the removal of the uterus lining, the menstrual cycle may delay or occur early, depending on how fast the line builds up.

What is a D&C procedure?

D&C or dilation and curettage is a surgical procedure that involves the expansion of the cervical opening to remove the uterine lining (endometrium) with a spoon-shaped instrument known as a curette. D&C is mainly done to identify the cause of abnormal uterine bleeding.

Other related procedures used for diagnosing and treating endometrial issues include:

Why is D&C performed?

D&C may be indicated:

  • To identify the causes of abnormal uterine bleeding
  • To end an unwanted pregnancy
  • To determine the intensity of the endometrial cancer
  • To identify polyps or tissue overgrowth
  • To identify scar tissue
  • To remove abnormal tissue

Who should not have a D&C procedure?

Some of the reasons to avoid D&C include:

  • Women unfit for surgery
  • Arthritis (in this condition, the woman cannot move their legs apart)
  • Pregnancy unless it is an unwanted one

How to prepare for a D&C procedure?

For a D&C procedure, you must follow these instructions:

  • The physician might obtain your consent before the procedure
  • Inform the physician about your current medications
  • Eat light meals the evening before the surgery
  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight before the procedure day
  • You might be given an enema on the previous night
  • Stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), clopidogrel (Plavix), and other blood thinners or any other herbal supplement
  • Ask the doctor about the drugs that you can continue till the day of surgery
  • Inform about any bleeding disorders or other medical conditions
  • Avoid smoking to help you recover quickly


What is pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)? See Answer

How is a D&C procedure performed?

D&C mostly follows this process:

  • You will be positioned on an operating table.
  • A urinary catheter may be placed before entering the operating room.
  • An IV catheter will be started in the arm or hand.
  • The hair around the surgical site may be shaved. The cervix will be cleaned with an antiseptic solution.
  • You may get regional anesthesia, either an epidural or spinal block to numb you from the waist down.
  • The doctor uses a type of forceps, called a tenaculum, to hold the cervix throughout the procedure.
  • For dilation or opening of the cervix, the doctor may either insert slender rods (laminaria) into the cervix or use medication beforehand to soften and widen the cervix.
  • Each rod will be wider than the previous one. This helps to gradually open the cervix or mouth of the uterus.
  • Once the cervix is opened to a suitable size, the doctor inserts a curette to reach the uterus.
  • Next, the doctor scrapes the endometrium or the uterine lining, which will be removed by suction.
  • A hysteroscopy may help the physician to view the uterus as the procedure progresses.
  • The collected samples are sent for further investigation.

What are signs of infection after D&C?

Although a D&C is generally considered a safe procedure, there is always a risk of infection. Some signs of infection after a D&C include:

  • Heavy or prolonged bleeding: If you are experiencing heavy bleeding after a D&C, it could be a sign of an infection or a complication from the procedure
  • Blood clots
  • Fever: A fever is one of the most common signs of an infection and indicates that the body is fighting off an infection.
  • Pain: If you experience pain in your lower abdomen, pelvic area, or during intercourse, it could be a sign of an infection.
  • Abdominal tenderness or discharge: 
  • Foul-smelling discharge from the vagina
  • Asherman syndrome (formation of scar tissue in the uterus)
  • Infertility
  • Changes in menstrual flow

It is important to follow your doctor's post-operative instructions and to report any concerns or complications to your doctor as soon as possible. If you have any questions or concerns about your recovery after a D&C, it is best to consult with your healthcare provider.

Medically Reviewed on 2/8/2023