A hysterectomy is a gynecologic surgery where your uterus, and potentially other parts of your reproductive system, is removed. If you have not responded to more conservative treatment options for painful conditions like fibroids and endometriosis, your gynecologist may recommend hysterectomy as an option. But what happens after hysterectomy?
Types of Hysterectomy
The after-effects of hysterectomy depend on how much of your reproductive system your gynecologic surgeon had to remove. For women who only have their uterus removed, you will no longer experience menstruation. Also, you are no longer able to become pregnant following hysterectomy.
In some cases, your gynecologic surgeon will remove the ovaries with the uterus, called a hysterectomy with bilateral oophorectomy. With the removal of the ovaries, your body will experience surgical menopause, also referred to as sudden menopause. During sudden menopause, you may experience hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause.
Managing Sudden Menopause
Your gynecologist can start you on hormone replacement therapy to manage the symptoms of sudden menopause. Typically, hormone replacement therapy will begin before you leave the hospital after your hysterectomy. If you experience side effects with synthetic hormones, your gynecologist can talk to you about the benefits of bio-identical or natural hormone replacement.
It’s natural to wonder how hysterectomy may affect other aspects of your life. Many women experience an improvement in their sex life, as hysterectomy relieves pain and pressure that previously caused discomfort during intercourse. Vaginal dryness and loss of libido may occur due to hormonal changes. If you experience any challenges in your sex life following hysterectomy, speak with your gynecologist about possible solutions.
Whether or not you still wanted children, you may feel a sense of loss following hysterectomy. Emotional and hormonal changes are all normal. Be open with your gynecologist about any of these feelings. Many women find support groups helpful when coping with these significant changes to their bodies.
Talk to Dr. Nathan T. Thomas about the possible side effects after a hysterectomy or if you are experiencing symptoms following a hysterectomy.