What Happens To Your Body After A Hysterectomy
What Happens to Your Body After a Hysterectomy?
Hysterectomy is the second most common surgery among women in the United States, but it isnt routine, and its never approached lightly. If you need to have a hysterectomy, Dr. John Macey in Nashville, Tennessee, takes time to talk, explaining all your options, the surgical procedure, and the changes that may occur in your body following your hysterectomy.
First Let’s Talk About The Different Types Of Surgery That Are All Referred To As A Hysterectomy
A partial hysterectomy means the upper part of your uterus is removed and the lower part with the cervix is left intact
A complete hysterectomy means the entire uterus including the cervix is removed.
But what makes more of a difference for your hormones after surgery is whether or not your ovaries were removed. If your ovaries are removed it’s called a hysterectomy with an oophorectomy
Hysterectomy Myths And Facts Part : Changes To My Body
In Part 2 of Hysterectomy Myths and Facts, we take a look at misconceptions people may have about what having a hysterectomy can mean, especially as it relates to menopause and sex. When you have a hysterectomy, your uterus is removed, so you will no longer experience periods or be able to get pregnant. However, for most hysterectomy procedures, your ovaries will be left in place and continue to produce hormones, which means you wont necessarily go into menopause. Only particular, less common types of hysterectomy will induce menopause.
Much of what women imagine their life will be like after a hysterectomy is actually what women experience during menopause. However, this is not always the case. Understanding the difference can help women make informed choices for their health.
1. Myth: A Hysterectomy Will Immediately Trigger Menopause.
Fact: A hysterectomy removes only the uterus , or the uterus and cervix. Its important to understand the role of the ovaries in menopause.
A NOTE ON HORMONE THERAPY: Many organs within the body have receptors for the hormones estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone that are produced by the ovaries, including the breast, uterine lining, vagina, bone, and blood vessels. While the primary role of these hormones is to facilitate reproduction, they have an effect on many other functions of the body, such as maintenance of bone and cardiovascular health, and in regulation of body fluid.
2. Myth: My Sex Life Will Change After A Hysterectomy
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Common Reasons For Having A Hysterectomy
Most women have a hysterectomy for one of the following reasons:
- Uterine cancer: When the tumor cannot be cleanly removed from the uterus, a full hysterectomy may be required.
- Fibroids: Traditionally, fibroids required surgery to address the health complications they present. Newer treatment options may provide an alternative to hysterectomies for some cases of uterine fibroids.
- Uterine prolapse: If part of the uterus falls into the vagina, this prolapse may require a partial or complete hysterectomy. Prolapses are more common in women who have had multiple vaginal births.
- Endometriosis: When hormonal treatments are not sufficient to fix the growth of a uterine lining on the outside of the uterus, a hysterectomy may be required.
- Complications during delivery: In some cases, a ruptured uterus or other complications of childbirth may lead to an emergency hysterectomy.
Additional health concerns may also prompt a partial or full hysterectomy. Your gynecologist can help you understand the implications of this decision on your long-term health.
What Are The Different Types Of Hysterectomies
To fully envision how your body may change after a hysterectomy, you need to know the different types of surgery. Dr. Macey may recommend one of three types of hysterectomies:
- Partial or supracervical hysterectomy: Upper part of the uterus is removed, while the cervix is left in place
- Total hysterectomy: Entire uterus and cervix are removed
- Radical hysterectomy: Uterus, cervix, and upper part of your vagina are removed
Although a hysterectomy doesnt include your ovaries or fallopian tubes, they may also be removed depending on the reason for your surgery. When one or both ovaries are removed, the procedure is called an oophorectomy. Removal of your fallopian tubes is called a salpingectomy.
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Common Side Effects Of Hysterectomy
Hysterectomy may affect the physical and mental health of a woman, especially when it is performed in the menopausal or perimenopausal stage. The woman suddenly and directly enters the post menopause stage without passing through the phases of perimenopause and menopause. The body cannot accept this drastic change and therefore a woman usually faces a lot of problems.
Hormonal changes do have a major impact on the womans health. Levels of hormones after hysterectomy decrease considerably. This increases the risk of cardiovascular and skeletal diseases. A reduction in the testosterone level may cause height loss and osteoporosis . Side effects of partial hysterectomy and side effects of total or radical hysterectomy are almost the same. They may vary slightly, depending upon the reason for which the surgery is performed and the procedure followed. Surgical complications are not discussed in this article.
Common side effects of hysterectomy include
- Hot flashes
- Development of excess facial hair on the upper lip and chin region
- Vaginal dryness
- Weight gain
Now For The Second Part Of This Video Let’s Talk About Why You Need To Take Different Approaches To Caring For Your Hormones Depending On Which Surgery You’ve Had
If your ovaries were left intact you won’t need HRT or special remedies for your hormones, and you won’t go into menopause right away.
This is what all women focus on in all the years post menopause. And if it’s safe for you you can also use herbs that are rich in plant estrogens and other hormone building blocks to help your body build up your hormone levels – almost like a replacement for HRT. You can learn more about how your body can keep your hormone levels high enough without relying on your ovaries in this blog postIn this case you also want a hormone friendly diet and lifestyle, because they’ll help your body maximize every bit of hormones it’s able to make – or to better balance and manage side effects of any hormones you’re taking.
That’s the second part of this blog – the different focus you want to have in caring for your hormones with natural remedies depending on which type of surgery you’ve had.
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Will I Gain Weight After Robotic Hysterectomy
When women are experiencing a benign gynecologic condition, such as endometriosis, our team at Professionals for Womens Health may recommend a robotic hysterectomy. The da Vinci® procedure is the least invasive hysterectomy available in Columbus, Dublin, and Westerville, OH. The robotic-assisted hysterectomy procedure involves computer-controlled instruments to surgically remove the uterus. This allows us to navigate into small, hard-to-reach spaces for a more precise view.
Dont Let The Hysterectomy Get In The Way Of Your Sex Life
It is quite common for husbands to have a lot of mental reservations after their wife had hysterectomy. However, you should not let these concerns completely derail your sex life. For many women, sex after a hysterectomy can help them feel like things are finally getting back to normal. Therefore, there is no reason to stop enjoying a healthy sex life with your spouse.
If her hysterectomy is making you see your wife in a new light, it is important to take a step back and realize that her hysterectomy does not change who she is. Think of all the things that made you fall in love and feel attraction to your wife in the first place.
For many couples, sexual problems that developed long before the surgery have a way of coming to the forefront after the hysterectomy. It may be tempting to use concerns about hurting your partner as an excuse to avoid sex. However, this is ultimately unwise. Being able to confront your problems head-on and openly address your sexual needs is more effective in the long run.
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Can I Expect To Gain Weight After My Surgery
Premenopausal patients are more likely to experience weight gain than postmenopausal ones. Also, those who have a full hysterectomy, where their uterus, ovaries, and cervix were removed, are more likely to gain weight after surgery. However, in general, our patients dont always gain weight because the recovery time associated with a robotic hysterectomy is much shorter than that of a traditional hysterectomy. If youre concerned about weight gain, watch your diet during recovery when youre less likely to be active.
The Morcellation Technique Has Both Advantages And Risks
To be able to remove the uterus during a minimally invasive surgery, surgeons cut it into small sections and may use a process called morcellation. In the past, the practice was criticized because of evidence that it could potentially increase the risk of spreading cancerous cells.
In response to these concerns, researchers developed new approaches to the procedure including contained and in-bag morcellation methods.
Streicher believes that many women undergo unnecessary open procedures, when morcellation is a better option. Its a real disservice to women, she says.
Morcellation doesnt cause cancer, adds Streicher, but if the person had a specific kind of cancer, you could potentially spread the cancer by morcellation. This type of cancer is extremely rare, Streicher adds. Informed consent is a must before going ahead with this procedure, says Streicher.
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Possible Alternatives To Having A Hysterectomy
In some cases, innovative medical treatments and technologies may help patients avoid a hysterectomy through alternative procedures. When uterine fibroids force patients to consider a hysterectomy, they may consider a new treatment known as an Acessa procedure. This treatment can save patients from needing a hysterectomy by delivering treatment specifically to the fibroids in the uterus, without compromising the health of the uterus itself.
This concentrated treatment offers several benefits to patients eligible for the Acessa procedure, including the experience of a minimally invasive, minor procedure that allows the patient to return to regular life after just three to five days of recovery. The Acessa procedure is regarded as safer than a hysterectomy and preserves a womans ability to have children by saving the uterus from removal.
If youre interested in this treatment option and believe it may benefit your fibroid condition, seek out a specialist certified to perform the procedure. Dr. Raybon of Advanced Gynecology is one of the only doctors in Georgia with this certification.
If youre facing a possible hysterectomy, youre probably feeling unsettled and fearful of the process ahead. Take control by reaching out to trusted professionals and exploring all your options as you make tough choices affecting your current and future health.
Symptoms Of Hysterectomy And Menopause
Symptoms of the climax after removal of the uterus can be noticed already after three weeks from the day of surgery. These can be:
- increased night sweating
- brown discharge after menopause and hysterectomy
- depressive states.
When the uterus is removed, hormone replacement therapy is necessary, especially for women under 50 years of age. For this purpose, estrogens and gestagens are used. Hormone therapy is important to prescribe as soon as possible, no later than a couple of months after the procedure. It helps reduce the risk of heart disease and hysterectomy and weight gain menopause problems. But, it is important to remember that HRT may not always be prescribed. There are contraindications. Here, they are:
- surgery was related to uterine cancer
- mammary cancer
- diseases of the liver and kidneys
The duration of treatment is from two to five years. No need to wait for the complete disappearance of menopause after the therapy. Depending on the duration of hormone therapy, clinical manifestations are only reduced.
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What You Need To Know About Surgical Menopause
This is part of an ongoing series featuring interviews with physicians on topics related to hereditary cancer. This is a summary of a discussion with Ann L. Steiner, MD, anobstetrician-gynecologist and clinical professor at Penn Medicine. The Symptoms of Surgical MenopauseMenopause is the absence of estrogen. When women stop making estrogen, this can result in several key symptoms. On average, natural menopause occurs around 51 years of age, when periods cease. Menopausal symptoms may begin before the final menstrual period when the loss of estrogen begins gradually. But if a 35 year old woman with regular, monthly periods has her ovaries removed, she is likely to be much more symptomatic then if she had gradually gone into menopause.
Surgical menopause can affect hot flashes and mood, and can increase the rate at which a woman loses bone and may develop osteoporosis. Theres a concern that younger women who go into menopause might be at an increased risk of heart disease later in life. It could also affect cognitive function. If women dont have a history of a cancer that would contraindicate the use of estrogen, such as breast cancer, we discuss giving estrogen, both for symptoms and for potential prevention of these problems.
Hysterectomy May Prevent Certain Types Of Cancer
For women who have BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene defects, the risk of developing ovarian cancer are much higher, according to the National Cancer Institute. Only about 1 percent of women in the general population will develop ovarian cancer over their lifetime compared with about 44 percent of women who have inherited the BRCA1 mutation and about 17 percent of women who have inherited the BRCA2 mutation. In some cases, after genetic testing, women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 choose to have a preventive surgery. This removes both ovaries, called prophylactic oophorectomy, and can be done either alone or at the time of hysterectomy. Studies show having the surgery lowers risk of dying from ovarian cancer by 80 percent.
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Side Effects Of Surgery
Any hysterectomy causes infertility .
For women who were premenopausal before surgery, removing the ovaries will cause menopause right away. This can lead to symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness. Long-term, it can lead to osteoporosis and increased risk for heart disease, which impact all post-menopausal women.
Removing lymph nodes in the pelvis can lead to a build-up of fluid in the legs and genitals. This can become a life-long problem called lymphedema. It’s more likely if radiation is given after surgery.
Surgery and menopausal symptoms can also affect your sex life. For more, see Sex and the Woman With Cancer.
Talk with your treatment team about side effects you might have right after surgery and later on. There might be things you can do to help prevent side effects. Know what to expect so you can get help right away.
Reasons For Having A Hysterectomy
There are many different reasons why hysterectomy may be necessary. These include:
- Painful, heavy or frequent periods which are not improved with medical treatments
- Fibroids Swellings of abnormal muscle that grow in the uterus, which can cause painful, heavy periods or pressure on other pelvic organs
- A prolapsed womb, which is caused by the dropping of the uterus.
- Endometriosis, a condition where tissue segments from the womb attach and grow in the wrong place, causing pain
- Adenomyosis the same problem as endometriosis, but affecting the muscle of the womb
- Severe, recurrent or untreatable pelvic infection
- Cancer or precancerous changes in the vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes or ovaries
Very rarely, hysterectomy is performed as an emergency procedure, such as if bleeding becomes uncontrollable during childbirth. Usually though, the operation is planned.
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How Long Does It Take To Recover From A Hysterectomy
The length of your hospital stay and recovery will depend on the type of hysterectomy you had abdominal, vaginal or laparoscopic. Most women stay in the hospital for one to two days, though some may stay up to four days. It takes longer to recover from an abdominal hysterectomy, with complete recovery usually taking four to eight weeks. Most women can return to normal activity in one to two weeks following a vaginal or laparoscopic hysterectomy.
What Should I Ask A Doctor Before Having A Hysterectomy
A hysterectomy can be a life-changing procedure with major benefits and some potential risks. Thats why its so important to find a doctor that you trust and feel comfortable talking to before having the procedure.
A good doctor will set aside time to listen to your questions and concerns before surgery. While you should bring up any questions on your mind, here are some specific questions to consider asking:
- Are there any nonsurgical treatments that may improve my symptoms?
- Which type of hysterectomy do you recommend and why?
- What are the risks of leaving my ovaries, fallopian tubes, or cervix in place?
- Which approach to surgery will you take and why?
- Am I a good candidate for vaginal hysterectomy, laparoscopic surgery, or robotic surgery?
- Do you use the latest surgical techniques?
- Is there any new research related to my condition?
- Will I continue to need Pap smears after my hysterectomy?
- If you remove my ovaries, would you recommend hormone replacement therapy?
- Is general anesthesia always necessary?
- How long will I need to be hospitalized after my surgery?
- What is the standard at-home recovery time?
- Will I have scars, and where?
What You Can Expect Emotionally
Whatever feelings or emotions arise during this time, honor them and share them with someone you trust.
If you were looking forward to the relief that a hysterectomy was going to bring to you, you might be surprised by feelings of grief. Its not uncommon to feel a sense of loss. If you feel grief over the loss of your uterus and your ability to have children, thats normal.
If your surgery was motivated by illness or cancer, you might feel depressed. This is normal too. Enlisting the support of your doctor or a mental health therapist will help you make your way through them and back to the lighter side.
Many women feel happy after their hysterectomy. Thats normal too!