It is estimated that nearly one-third of women in America will have undergone a hysterectomy by the time they turn 60, based on a paper recently published in Aging Health, making it one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures for women. During a hysterectomy, a patient’s uterus and cervix are removed. The ovaries and fallopian tubes may also be removed during the procedure depending on the woman’s age or condition. Though hysterectomies are regularly used to treat serious health concerns like gynecological cancers and endometriosis, roughly 90% of hysterectomies performed annually are used to improve quality of life by treating less serious conditions like irregular bleeding and pelvic pain.
A hysterectomy can be performed in several different ways. The uterus and cervix may be removed through an abdominal or vaginal procedure. The abdominal approach is performed by using an open technique (bikini cut) or a laparoscopic technique using 3-4 small incisions and the aid of a camera. During your consultation at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett, we will discuss your options and determine which procedure is best for your needs.
A hysterectomy is a major surgical procedure that carries with it short and long-term effects. We have outlined some of the most common long and short-term effects associated with hysterectomies below in an effort to educate and illuminate potential patients on what their operation may entail:
Short-Term Effects of a Hysterectomy
After a hysterectomy, it is common for a woman to experience spotting, pain, or vaginal discharge. These symptoms are part of the normal healing process.
A hysterectomy can lead to temporary bladder problems. This may include a loss of sensation in the bladder or urinary incontinence, caused by temporary injury to the nerves that supply the bladder muscle. In rare cases, a hysterectomy procedure can lead to long-term bladder issues.
There are also lingering psychological effects associated with a hysterectomy. After organ removal, it’s normal for women to feel as if they are no longer whole. Feelings of uncertainty and depression may also arise due to hormonal changes. Please communicate any issues you’re having with us so that we may be able to provide relief through supplements or other hormonal replacements.
Long-Term Effects of a Hysterectomy
Loss of Ability to Conceive
After a hysterectomy, a woman no longer has the ability to become pregnant due to the removal of the uterus. The idea of no more periods or fear of unwanted pregnancy may bring relief to some women, but for others the sudden ending of their reproductive period can be upsetting.
Sexual Side Effects
Some women who experienced pre-hysterectomy pain during sex may experience an improved sex life after a hysterectomy. However, a hysterectomy can also cause sexual problems due to a lack of estrogen produced by the body, if the ovaries are also removed. This estrogen reduction can cause vaginal dryness and a thinning of the vaginal skin which can make sex painful for some women. The vaginal canal is shortened, leading to difficulty during sexual penetration for some women. Hormone replacement therapy can be used to treat sexual side effects linked to a hysterectomy.
A hysterectomy is a serious surgical procedure, so it’s wise to consult with an experienced board-certified gynecologist to weigh your options and see if a hysterectomy is right for you. Undergoing a well-woman exam at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett is a good way to gauge your overall reproductive health and see if you’re dealing with any conditions that could lead to a hysterectomy. For more information about hysterectomy procedures, please contact Dr. Kristine Gould at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today at (678) 380-1980. We take great pride in providing our patients the best in reproductive health care.