Hysterectomy Surgery, Procedure, Side Effects, Recovery Time

Hysterectomy complications are one of the apprehensions in a woman when she  goes for this procedure. Let us  find out important information on hysterectomy surgery and types.

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Women may be advised to go for hysterectomy for many reasons.  Some of the common reasons for hysterectomy in women are:

  1. Endometriosis:   There are clusters of endometrial cells that grow at the outside of the uterus and stick to other organs in the pelvic cavity. The cells then begin to add up and bleed along with the ovarian cycle. This leads to prolonged or heavy bleeding, chronic pelvic pain and pain during sex.
  2. Fibroids: These are non-malignant tumors that grow big and bear down on other other organs leading to pelvic pain and heavy bleeding.
  3. Endometrial Hyperplasia: This is a reason for abnormal bleeding,  a case of the uterline lining becoming thicker than necessary due to high levels of estrogen.
  4. Cancer:  One  in hundred cases of hysterectomies are done to treat cancer which can be cervical, endometrial or ovarian.
  5. Blockage of the uterus by the intestine or blockage of the bladder.

Hysterectomy can be delayed or prevented by doing regular pap tests or laparoscopy.  It is not needed to do hysterectomy under the following conditions:

1.       Fibroids that are small and not really causing much of a problem

2.      Abortion in the first or second trimester

3.      Slight dysfunctional bleeding of the uterus.

4.      Menstrual irregularity or back pain

5.      Cervicitis.

Hysterectomy Types

Total Hysterectomy

In this the entire uterus is removed,  including the fundus and the cervix. It is the most general type of hysterectomy that is done. Although the ovaries are not removed in this surgery, many women still go through some menopausal symptoms in the next day after surgery. The possibility of entering menopause in this kind of hysterectomy should be discussed with your doctor.

Hysterectomy with bilateral oophorectomy

In this type of hysterectomy, the doctor removes one or both ovaries,  sometimes the fallopian tubes along with the uterus. Reasons for ‘Hysterectomy with bilateral oophorectomy’ are  endometriosis, ectopic pregnancy, benign or malignant tumors, ovarian cysts and pelvic inflammatory disease. If only one ovary is removed, the woman is usually fertile, but if both ovaries are removed, she may experience sudden menopause, early osteoporosis or circulatory disease.

Radical Hysterectomy

In this type of hysterectomy, the uterus, the cervix, the top part of the vagina and some part of tissue that encompasses the cervix in the pelvic area is removed along with the pelvic lymph nodes. Though this type of procedure is not done so extensively, it is done in case of women with cervical cancer or endometrial cancer that has spread to the cervix.

Supracervical hysterectomy

Also known as  subtotal hysterectomy, this procedure removes uterus body while leaving the cervix as it is. This is usually used done for women with low risk of cervical cancer.

Hysterectomy Procedure

Hysterectomy method to be used depends on the age, the number of children and your physical health as well as the discretion of the physician.

Abdominal Hysterectomy

A surgical incision about 6 to 8 inches long is pushed in to remove the uterus in abdominal hysterectomy.  This is commonly applies when the ovaries and fallopian tubes are to be removed,  when the uterus becomes abnormally large or when there is endometriosis or cancer, with the disease spreading to the pelvic cavity.  The incision can be done horizontally or vertically.  The recovery times is long for this type of hysterectomy since the incision is done through the abdomen.

Vaginal Hysterectomy

This method is used where the uterus has to be removed through the vaginal opening, done in conditions of most uterine prolapse or when vaginal repairs are essential for associated conditions. The vaginal is extended and kept open by special instruments and no incision is done. Unlike abdominal incision, vaginal hysterectomy has no visible scarring and has quicker recovery time and a short stay at the hospital.  This method may affect sexual performance because the vagina becomes short and tight leading to pain while having intercourse

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Laparoscopic Hysterectomy

This procedure is done with a laparoscope. Thin tubes are inserted through minute incisions in the abdomen near the navel. The uterus is then surgically cut and taken out in sections through the vagina or through the scoping tube . Although this method can take longer to perform, the recovery period for this hysterectomy is very short.

Hysterectomy Pictures

Check out hysterectomy pictures to see how the procedure is done

Hysterectomy complications or side effects post surgery

There can be complications post hysterectomy .  You can avoid them by taking precautions. Some of the complications are:

1.      Urinay Tract Issues:  52 percent of women who have hysterectomies done have had bladder infection or kidney infection after the surgery.  The problem however, is not so serious.  In radical hysterectomy, sensory nerves may be cut (thought not usually) and a woman can lose the sensation of urinating or control over bladder release.

2.      Infections: Post hysterectomy, there can be infections which can be treated successfully through antibiotics. Doctors do administer antibiotics before surgery Also avoid having sex, putting things in the vagina, douching, tampons, even bathing or swimming for four weeks after the surgery.

3.       Low libido: Sex life can be affected physically and emotionally after hysterectomy. More often than not, the emotional reason plays a part, the dominant one being fear of feeling pain down there. But once the doctor tells you that there is no problem, you can go ahead without any apprehension.  You should ideally wait for at least 4 to 6 weeks before sexual intercourse.  Loss of libido is also common but that does not mean you will lose it forever; though there could be a decline.  You may also experience vaginal dryness that may make sex painful due to deficiency of estrogen in cases when ovaries are removed.  But you can bring back the zing, interest and sustain the libido by reading erotic material, watching movies or indulge in any activity or thought that can arouse you and make you wet down there.

4.      Depression:  It is common for women to feel depressed after hysterectomy. But this  also has to do with other contributive factors in your life, your health, diet and age.  Check with your doctor if the depression continues for more than  4 to 6 weeks.

Estrogen replacement therapy after hysterectomy can be given to supply estrogen to offset the side  effects and early menopause.

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