Each year in the United States, more than 250,000 women have in-patient hysterectomies to remove their uterus. In fact, according to the National Women’s Health Network, hysterectomy is the second most common surgical procedure among American women of reproductive age, surpassed only by Cesarean section. But just because hysterectomy is a relatively common surgery, it’s still a major procedure, and many women aren’t sure how that surgery will wind up affecting their lives.
As a board-certified gynecologist in Newburgh, Indiana, Paul W. Morrison, M.D., is skilled in the most advanced hysterectomy techniques, helping women get the care they need and the peace of mind they deserve. If you’re wondering how a hysterectomy might affect your life, here’s what you should know.
What to expect after your hysterectomy
Most women know that after a hysterectomy they won’t have periods and won’t be able to get pregnant. But a hysterectomy can bring about other changes, too. Being prepared and knowing what to expect can pave the way to a smoother recovery.
You may feel greater comfort and peace of mind
A hysterectomy is typically only performed for specific health reasons. After a hysterectomy, many women feel relieved and more relaxed knowing that the health problem has been treated appropriately. If a hysterectomy is performed because of excessive pelvic pain or very heavy bleeding, you can expect relief from those symptoms as soon as your recovery is complete.
You might enter menopause
Contrary to popular belief, having a hysterectomy doesn’t always mean you’ll enter menopause right away. Most women only enter menopause after a hysterectomy if they’ve also had their ovaries removed. In that case, you can expect to experience the symptoms you’d go through if you entered menopause later, such as night sweats, hot flashes, and mood swings.
If your symptoms are severe, Dr. Morrison may recommend hormone replacement therapy to provide relief. Of course, if you're post-menopausal, you won’t need to worry about going through menopause again.
Your sex life might change
Once your uterus is removed, you won’t need to worry about unexpected pregnancies, and that alone can increase sexual enjoyment for women and their partners. Depending on the extent of your hysterectomy — specifically, if your ovaries have been removed — you might notice a decline in sexual interest or a decrease in natural lubrication, which could make intercourse less pleasurable. In either of these cases, Dr. Morrison can suggest treatments to help restore your sexual health.
You might feel emotional
A hysterectomy removes your uterus — and other structures if needed — and it’s not uncommon to experience a sense of loss or sadness afterward. While some women are happy to not have to be concerned about becoming pregnant, other women can feel ambivalent or even unhappy about a permanent change in their fertility.
Even though you’ll probably find yourself adjusting fairly quickly, if you feel blue after your surgery, it’s important to call our office right away, so Dr. Morrison can address those feelings and help you get the care you need to feel better.
Find the support you need
Hysterectomies provide important — even essential — health benefits for the women who need them. Knowing what to expect afterward can help you get the follow-up care you need, so you can enjoy those benefits while minimizing any potential concerns.
If you’d like to learn more about hysterectomy procedures and how Dr. Morrison can help your recovery process go as smoothly as possible, book an appointment online or over the phone with the practice of Paul W. Morrison, M.D. today.