You’ve probably heard myths about hysterectomy surgery. While it may sound scary, it actually is the second most common surgical procedure in the United States. An estimated one-third of all U.S. women will have a hysterectomy by age 60.
The gynecologic surgery specialists at Norton Women’s Care offer a full range of advanced surgical options, including all types of hysterectomy to treat:
- Large fibroids
- Severe endometriosis
- Uterine or vaginal prolapse
- Early stage gynecologic cancer
Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus. The cervix usually is removed as well. Sometimes the fallopian tubes and ovaries are removed, depending on the reason for surgery. After hysterectomy surgery, you no longer have menstrual periods and cannot become pregnant. Surgical options for a hysterectomy include:
- Laparotomy (abdominal)
Severe pain, bleeding or other serious conditions related to the uterus can be improved with a hysterectomy. For women who have cancer or conditions that can lead to cancer, a hysterectomy can be lifesaving. Women who have hysterectomy surgery cannot get uterine cancer.
Other reasons for hysterectomy include:
- Bleeding abnormalities
- Fibroid tumors (myomas)
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Severe pelvic organ prolapse
Risks and complications
Any major surgery carries risks. Slight fever or temporary difficulties emptying the bladder or moving the bowels may occur after hysterectomy surgery but usually go away on their own. Complications related to anesthesia may occur, such as blood clots, infection, postoperative hemorrhage, bowel obstruction, injury to the urinary tract or, rarely, death.
Physical and emotional effects
After a hysterectomy, you can no longer get pregnant and menstruation stops. If the ovaries remain, your body continues to produce hormones until it goes through menopause. If the ovaries are removed and you have not yet gone through menopause, hormone-related effects may be treated with hormone-replacement therapy.
Hysterectomy fact and fiction
Despite modern medical advances, myths still exist about hysterectomy, such as loss of sex drive, weight gain or more rapid aging.
The truth is most women don’t lose their sex drive. In fact, many enjoy sex more because they are free from pain, discomfort and the possibility of becoming pregnant. Open, honest communication with your doctor and your sexual partner can alleviate anxieties.
Temporary weight gain is possible during recovery because of a reduced activity level. However, once normal activities are resumed, proper diet and exercise should make any extra weight disappear.
While hormones will not be affected in the long run, it is common for you to feel somewhat depressed after hysterectomy surgery. This condition mostly is a reaction to loss of energy. When your strength returns, a brighter outlook on life usually returns as well.
When the ovaries are removed, loss of sex hormones can cause hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. These usually can be controlled with low doses of estrogen.
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