When you have a hysterectomy, you may hardly notice the difference, or your life may change quite a bit. Depending on your age, the reason for your hysterectomy, and whether you’ve had a partial, total, or radical hysterectomy, those changes can be an adjustment as you discover your new normal.
Types of hysterectomies and procedures
There are three specific types of hysterectomies:
- Partial hysterectomy: just your uterus is removed, and the cervix is left intact
- Total hysterectomy: the cervix is removed, along with the uterus
- Radical hysterectomy, where your uterus, cervix, and other adjacent structures are removed, such as the fallopian tubes, ovaries, upper vagina, and lymph nodes
A radical hysterectomy is commonly only called for in treatment of gynecologic cancers.
In addition to the types of hysterectomies, there are different ways to perform the surgery, depending on the diagnosis, your medical history, and the type of hysterectomy you need. Your procedure may require the traditional open surgical approach, in which a larger incision is made in the pelvic region, or you may have a laparoscopic procedure involving several small incisions. If you have a vaginal hysterectomy, no incisions are required, as the doctor goes in through the vagina.
What to expect right after surgery
In addition to concerns about the surgery, many women are at a loss as far as what to expect afterward. Recovery, and being able to resume normal activities after hysterectomy surgery is something that many women wonder about.
Immediately after your hysterectomy you’ll have some pain, and how long it lasts depends on the type of procedure you have. It may last as long as three weeks for a vaginal or laparoscopic procedure, and perhaps five weeks for the full surgical procedure. Obviously, Dr. Patel will inform you of your risks and what to watch for in your recovery. If you have extreme pain, fever or any unusual symptoms, call the office right away.
Post-hysterectomy menopause isn’t a given
If you’re premenopausal and have a partial or total hysterectomy, you’ll still have your ovaries, so you won’t go into menopause as a result of the procedure.
If you have your ovaries removed in a radical hysterectomy, however, you can expect to experience abrupt menopause. You may develop night sweats, hot flashes, mood swings, and other menopausal symptoms. If it’s appropriate for your health, Dr. Patel may suggest hormone replacement therapy to help ease these symptoms. For women who are already postmenopausal before a radical hysterectomy, you should not expect much change.
You can still enjoy intimacy
Because of the condition that brought you to a hysterectomy, you may not have felt your best, and now that the condition has been resolved, you’ll feel better and better. This applies to your sex life as well. You may even find you’re more relaxed now that pregnancy is no longer an issue.
However, if you’ve had your cervix removed, you may find your testosterone production has dropped, and with it your sexual desire. Should that be your experience, let Dr. Patel know and he’ll discuss your options for restoring your sexual health.
You may feel blue
You may find you have the post-hysterectomy blues, which are very common. If you haven’t yet entered menopause, you may feel a sudden sense of loss. Your periods have ceased and so has your ability to carry a child.
If you find you’re feeling more and more depressed, experiencing insomnia, hopelessness, a loss of appetite, or sleeping a lot, please contact Dr. Patel right away. Post-hysterectomy depression frequently occurs after surgery and recovery, but it isn’t something you need to go through alone.
Your female reproductive health specialist
If you’re experiencing chronic pain, heavy menstrual bleeding, or abnormal signs and symptoms of your gynecological health, Dr. Patel can examine you and assess your health. Depending on your condition, there may be another solution that doesn’t involve surgery.
However, if you do need a hysterectomy, trust ObGyn Care of Oklahoma to take a compassionate and gentle approach. For a consultation about any of your women’s health concerns, contact our office in Oklahoma City.