Hysterectomy is a fairly well known surgery. It is a surgery that deals with the removal of the uterus and with some cases the ovaries and Fallopian tubes are also removed. Hysterectomies are the second most performed surgeries on women after cesarean sections. Hysterectomies are commonly done on women between the age of 40 to 44, but can be done when you are younger – depending on the reason for the surgery.

What is the point of hysterectomies?

This surgery is necessarily done as an intervention for unmanageable infection, invasive cancers (Fallopian tubes, ovaries, vagina, cervix and/or uterus), uncontrollable bleeding and complication during child birth such as breach of the uterus. Other possible reasons for getting a hysterectomy is uterine prolapse, endometriosis and uterine leiomyoma, though it is not always necessary in these cases.

What are the risks?

There are very few cases of death caused by hysterectomy. Reported cases are less than one percent. There are also very little chances of getting complication during procedures. There are surgical complications that can cause hemorrhage during or after the surgery, infection and damage to the organs. Another risk that can occur is prolapse of the vagina. Removing the uterus in your early forties or even younger can increase your risk of heart attacks. Other known risk of this surgery is urinary problems and hormone deficiencies.

What happens during recovery?

If you get the surgery when you are not menopausal and your ovaries are not removed, your menstruation will end after surgery and will not be able to get pregnant. Hormonal functions will still be present. If the ovaries are removed during surgery. You will start to experience menopause after the surgery. After the first few weeks of surgery, you will experience some light bleeding and discharge. You are not allowed to have baths for 10 days after surgery to reduce infections and complications. Strenuous physical activities should be avoided for about four to 6 weeks, though light activities such as walking is encouraged. Penetrative intercourse should be avoided for six weeks after the procedure. It will take you about 5 to 6 weeks to fully recover and in some cases can lead up to 8 weeks.

Will it affect my sex life?

There is a common myth that after a hysterectomy a woman can no longer have sex or have an active sex life. It will take a few weeks for you to fully recover to be able to have penetrative sex. Some women do experience little to no sex drive after surgery. When this occurs, consult your doctor on the possible options you can take. Though, there are also cases where women do not experience any change in their sex drive after the procedure.

Can it cure endometriosis?

The simple answer is no. Hysterectomy is not a cure for endometriosis. Symptoms of endometriosis such as painful intercourse, chronic pain and severe menstrual cramps cannot be cured by removing the uterus. This operation is often advised if other noninvasive treatments don’t work and can often only lessen the symptoms. Before going under the knife ask your doctor for minimally invasive methods, medication or hormone therapies.

Will I need hormone therapy after surgery?

Hormone therapy can help with the physical changes after the procedure. Consult your doctor about the pros and cons of getting hormone therapy after surgery. Estrogen therapy can help relieve the symptoms of menopause. Oral hormone therapy can also relieve the symptoms, but it can make you more prone to blood clots, strop and heart disease. So, talk to your doctor about all of these factors and ask them for alternatives that you can use if you are not viable for hormone therapy.

You can weigh the pros and cons of this procedure, but there are often cases where hysterectomy is a medical necessity that can save your life. People that have invasive cancer on their reproductive organs – the uterus, Fallopian tubes, ovaries, vagina and cervix will require this surgery. Some women may experience extreme difficulty after the surgery due to the realization that they can no longer have children or menstruate. If you are struggling with this problem, there are different support groups or therapies that can help with this ordeal. Every woman deals with it differently, asking help can help make recovery a whole lot easier.

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