Many women put off having a hysterectomy not just because they dread the operation but because they dread what they fear will happen after the hysterectomy. Obviously, after a hysterectomy a woman will no longer menstruate nor will she be able to carry a child. If a woman has a hysterectomy in which her ovaries were removed she will experience surgically induced menopause. These events are traumatic, particularly if the surgery was necessitated by a malignancy. However, having a hysterectomy does not mean that the feminine side of a woman’s life has ended; it only means that there are some things she may have to do differently.
The recovery time required after a hysterectomy will vary according to the type of hysterectomy that was performed, the condition for which the hysterectomy was prescribed and, of course, the woman herself. Vaginal hysterectomy usually takes the least amount of time in the operating room and generally has the shortest recovery time. Laparoscopic procedures take a little longer to perform. Because the laparoscope and other surgical instruments are inserted through abdominal incisions the recovery time for this method of hysterectomy is also slightly longer. Abdominal hysterectomies are the most physically invasive, especially so if a woman’s ovaries are also removed. They require the longest time in surgery and the longest rehabilitation period. Recovery in which there are no complications may take as long as two months.
Assuming there are no complications, what can a woman expect after her body has healed from having a hysterectomy? Again, the answers vary widely depending upon the type of operation and the malady that caused it. If a woman had a hysterectomy to get rid of small/medium fibroids, to eliminate chronic endometriosis or to stop heavy bleeding then she probably underwent a less radical procedure than is recommended for other problems. The doctor may have recommended a total hysterectomy in which the uterus and cervix are removed. In recent years laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomies have become more widely used. In this hysterectomy the cervix is not excised. Because both of these methods of surgery leave the ovaries intact menopause will not automatically ensue; although diminished blood flow may cause some menopausal symptoms. If the cervix is not taken out, there is also less risk of vaginal dryness and lost sexual sensation.
Large fibroids in the uterus or ovaries, adhesions to other organs, severe endometriosis or malignancy may call for more extensive surgery. In these cases a bilateral salpingo oophorectomy may be done along with the hysterectomy; this long medical simply refers to removing both of the fallopian tube and both of the ovaries. When this is done menopause will immediately take place. Doctors often try to leave at least one ovary. With even one ovary a woman may not experience menopause symptoms for several years. However, in cases of rampant disease this choice is not always an option.
All of these words sound pretty bleak: Vaginal dryness, lost sexual sensation, surgically induced menopause. It would be unfeeling to treat cavalierly any of the things that may happen to a woman after hysterectomy. This is true even without addressing the fact that hysterectomy renders a woman unable to bear a child; that extremely personal result is best handled by the woman, her medical team and whatever counseling they feel may be required. The other problems which may come along after a hysterectomy are more easily discussed and even alleviated.
The keys to thriving after hysterectomy are knowledge and treatment. Some women may choose hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to ease the signs which may appear after the uterus is removed. Others may treat the symptoms with vitamins, herbs and creams. Whatever course of treatment a woman chooses she will benefit from exercise and proper diet. Meditation, visualization and other forms of mental exercises may also prove effective; as may attending a support group.
When a woman experiences hysterectomy she must not buy into the old wives’ tales. These myths would have her believe that her life – particularly her sex life – has been forever changed for the worse; this is not true. Today there are myriad therapies which will help a woman to live a complete and fulfilling life after hysterectomy.
No Orgams After Hysterectomy
I had a total abdominal hysterectomy (kept both ovaries) for multiple uterine fibroids and enlarged uterus. I never had any problems until a few months before the surgery, when I developed pain in the lower right abdomen/ovary, ...
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