IWK

1.902.470.8888

1.888.470.5888

Emergency: 911
Telecare: 811
Poison: 1-800-565-8161
5850/5980 University Ave., Halifax, NS B3K 6R8

Women's Health - Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get access to your services?
You need to be referred by your family physician/gynaecologist.

Why do I have to visit the clinic before my admission?
You are required to visit the Pre-Admission Clinic one to two weeks before surgery for a health assessment. Tests that your doctor may order will also be done at this time and you will receive information about your surgery. This is done to ensure that you are completely ready for your surgery. The Pre-Admission Clinic is located on the 6th floor of the Women's Building, please call 902.470.6942.

If I'm having surgery, what do I need to bring with me to the Health Centre?
You need to bring your health card, hospital card, personal toiletries, loose fitting nightwear/clothing, all current medications, denture cup, glasses case, slippers, extra ostomy supplies if you have an ostomy, a robe and any other toiletries to help make your stay more comfortable. Do not bring money, credit cards, valuable articles - for example jewelry.

When do I need to come to the Health Centre for surgery?
On the day of your surgery you need to arrive at the Health Centre at least two hours before your surgery time. Report to the Admitting area on the main floor of the Women's Building, 5980 University Avenue.

What should I wear to the Health Centre on the day of surgery?
Wear loose clothes and comfortable, flat shoes.

What happens after I arrive at the Health Centre?
You will be sent to "pre-op" where a nurse will help you get ready for surgery. You will be asked to put on a hospital gown and to take off your glasses or contacts, remove your dentures or partial plate. You will meet the anaesthetist (the doctor who puts you to sleep before surgery) who will ask you some questions. Then, a nurse will take you into the operating room and stay with you while you go to sleep.

What time of day will my surgery be done?
All surgery is performed Monday to Friday from 7:30 am until 4:00 pm. If an emergency arises, your surgery may need to be changed to another time and date.

Am I allowed to eat or drink the night before or the morning of surgery?
If you are having surgery the next day, you should not have any solid food after midnight. You may drink clear fluids, such as water, apple juice, clear tea or coffee (without milk or cream) up to three hours before surgery. You may brush your teeth and rinse your mouth but try not to swallow.


Questions After Surgery

Should I expect vaginal bleeding or discharge after the operation? 
Some patients do not have any bleeding/discharge after surgery but may experience some during their six week recovery period. Others have a white, yellow or reddish-brown vaginal discharge for several weeks after their operation. While you are in the Health Centre, your nurse will ask about your discharge and will inform you what you may expect when you go home.

Will I go through menopause (change of life) if my ovaries are removed?
If both of your ovaries were removed, you will go through early menopause. You should speak with your doctor about hormone replacement medication, or other methods of treating menopausal symptoms. If only one ovary was removed, the other ovary will still be able to produce hormones, and you will not go through menopause at this time. The Well Women's Clinic is an excellent resource for menopausal concerns, call 902.470.6755.

When may I shower/bath after the operation? 
Depending on how you feel, you may take a shower a day or two after surgery. However, it is important to be extra careful as you may be weaker than usual. Please wait five to seven days before you take a bath. 

How soon will I be back to normal after my operation?
Do not be surprised if you cannot do as much activity as before your operation. Remember that your body is directing its energy to healing and helping you get stronger.

When will I be able to return to work after my operation?
Most women can return to work about six weeks after their operation. However, because people recover at different paces, check with your doctor before making any definite plans.

Can I use tampons instead of pads?
No. It is recommended that you use sanitary napkins (unscented) for all vaginal bleeding/discharge during your six week recovery period.

How will I know if I should contact my doctor?
You should contact your doctor if you experience heavy bleeding (a pad per hour); foul smelling vaginal discharge; redness; and/or swelling/discharge at the incision site. Also, contact your doctor if you develop a fever and chills.

What should I eat when I go home? 
After surgery, it's important to eat a well balanced diet when you go home. Your diet should include fruits and vegetables, fibre and plenty of fluid. This helps to maintain regular bowel movements. 

When can I resume sexual activity? 
It is advisable to wait until you have been examined at your six week check up before having vaginal intercourse. 

How much activity can I do at home? 
For the first two weeks, you will tire easily. Do not try to do too much. You may do some light housework and cooking, but it is important not to get too tired. Don't forget you have to heal inside as well as outside. Vacuuming, heavy lifting (over 2.5 kilograms or five pounds), straining and activity such as sports or aerobics should be avoided. 

When can I drive a car?
Some people are ready to return to normal activity sooner than others. It may take a couple of weeks for you to be able to drive without any discomfort. 

What happens after the surgery?
You will wake up in the Recovery Room, nurses will check your blood pressure, temperature, heart rate and your breathing every 15 minutes until you leave this area.

If you have pain, let the nurse know and you will be given medication (through an IV) to help you feel more comfortable. 

You may feel a little throat soreness or feel something at the back of your throat. This soreness is from the tube that was used to keep you asleep during surgery. It is harmless and will go away in a couple of days. 

When can I have something to drink?
If you are in day surgery, you will be moved to the post recovery lounge where you are more awake. Here, you can have something to drink. At this time, the nurse will give you some information to take home. Your surgeon may come to speak with you before you leave this area. 

If you are having in-patient surgery, when you can have something to drink depends on the type of surgery you are having. Please ask your nurse or doctor for more information.

When can I go home? 
If you are having day surgery (going home on the same day on which you have your surgery), you should plan to be at the Health Centre for about five hours from the time you arrive, to the time you leave. 

After your surgery, you will not be able to drive a car or operate any machinery for 24 hours. You cannot be responsible for small children for 24 hours and you cannot drink any alcohol for 24 hours. You must arrange a drive home and have a responsible adult stay with you until the next day. You should not sign any legal documents within this 24 hour period. Remember to speak with your surgeon about time off work. Most day surgery patients take a day or two off following their surgery and some procedures require more time off work than others. Any follow up visits required should be arranged with your surgeon's office.