Hysterectomy Side Effects
Hysterectomy Side Effects: What to Know Before You Go
For hundreds of thousands of women, having a hysterectomy is often the only recourse in eliminating serious reproductive health conditions. Most frequently used for patients who suffer from uterine pain and bleeding due to cancer, endometriosis, uterine prolapsed or excessive bleeding, and a hysterectomy can offer full relief of symptoms and prevent further complications. This procedure is one typically used on patients with little other alternative as it does leave a woman unable to bear children and there are some hysterectomy side effects.
What is a Hysterectomy?
In simple terms, a hysterectomy is a procedure in which either all or parts of a woman’s reproductive organs are removed in order to prolong her life or improve her daily health. Most hysterectomies involve complete removal of the uterus, but can also be utilized to extract the ovaries, lymph nodes, oviducts, cervix, and lymph channels in necessary situations. There are several types of hysterectomies and each surgical procedure uses specific equipment and has varied recovery times. Most surgeries today are minimally invasive and are done under general anesthesia.
How is the procedure done?
Although there are still many documented cases of full open hysterectomy or surgery in which the lower abdomen is cut open to remove necessary organs, most procedures today are done to be as least invasive as possible. Now, instead of a 7 inch incision from the outside of the belly, doctors are able to use microscopic machinery entered either through the vagina or through the lower abdomen. These types of hysterectomies are called laparoscopic and robotic.
What are the side effects?
As with any procedure, hysterectomies come with side effects. While most surgeries go well and present patients with little problem afterwards, knowing what could happen is very important before agreeing to the procedure. Below is a list of common complications and hysterectomy side effects that may be experienced after surgery of this magnitude:
- Inability to bear children
- Periods will cease
- Vaginal dryness
- Mood swings
- Hot flashes
- Heavy to moderate pain
In few cases, hysterectomy side effects may be more substantial and merit some concern. It is not uncommon that infection or blood clots may become evident after a hysterectomy, and in some cases complications may be life threatening.
How long does it take to recover?
Recovery time after a hysterectomy can be as little as six weeks, but can also be dependent on a variety of factors. Age, general health, and how you behave post-surgery will all affect how quickly you can get back to normal. In most cases, your surgeon will give a detailed list of what should and should not be done during recovery, but the following is a basic run down:
- Avoid exertion: Be sure to get as much rest as possible, don’t lift objects over 2 pounds, and avoid being on your feet.
- Do not engage in sexual intercourse for at least 6 weeks or until your doctor says it’s okay to do so.
- If you are taking prescription pain medication, take only as directed and follow all instructions.
- Seek friends or family for support. In some cases, seeking the help of a trained therapist to aid you through the process of recovery may be needed.
- Pay careful attention to your body. Fever, pain, swelling, bleeding, and dizziness are all symptoms that something could be wrong.
Having a hysterectomy is a serious procedure that can affect both a woman’s physical and psychological well being. It is intended to promote good health, but can sometimes create adverse reactions. If you are considering this type of procedure, it is important to talk with your doctor about any and all questions you may have regarding the procedure, how it will affect you, and what other options you may have.