Writer with Lesa Thayer, a married 45-year-old mother of three children, ages 22, 24, 26 in Fruita, Colorado. Formerly a director of services for people with disabilities, Lesa is currently on medical leave and is currently exploring new career options.
How old were you in the time of surgery?
Why was operation advocated for you?
Lesa: Lower abdominal pain, particularly with periods and sexual activity.
What kind of symptoms are you currently experiencing?
Lesa: Cramping, pain, heavy periods.
Were any alternatives to a hysterectomy offered?
Did you feel as if you’re being”pushed” toward a hysterectomy?
Lesa: Not really. I was glad to have an option to lessen the pain.
Did your physician discuss the choice to retain your ovaries, so that melancholy would happen naturally, rather than immediately after operation?
Lesa: He said he’d look at the ovaries. I wanted them too. I awakened to find they left one. I was not satisfied. At age 42, I had the final residual ovary out because of cysts and pain. It was not functioning all that well, and I needed to be on HRT since age 29 anyway.
If your ovaries were removed, were you consulted with your doctor for menopause to begin during your recovery?
Lesa: No. I had been told that they left the ovary to eliminate the need for HRT. However, I started having hot flashes and decided to go on HRT within a few weeks.
Were any therapies, such as hormone replacement therapy, offered to help minimize the effects of menopause?
Lesa: Yes, once I started having hot flashes. At age 45 I have really ill and ended up in the hospital and began having 10 to 20 hot flashes every day. I finally got improved enough to go to my regular physician, and he increased and doubled my HRT dose, which solved the hot flashes.
How did you deal with menopause so abruptly?
Lesa: I had the hot flashes, dryness, and lack of sexual interest beginning in the summer of 2008. It had been awful. I asked to have my own dose raised.
Can you inform us about your recovery from surgery?
Lesa: As soon as I began the doubled dose in Jan 2009, it made better in a few days. I recovered fast from the hysterectomy; they gave me a pain block and I went home in a couple days. Then I had the ovary out and could not get good pain control. That has been miserable.
I discovered I could not take the opiates, and no additional pain choices were given. My (female) doctor’s advice was to take ibuprofen and deal with it the best I could.
Did you worry that you would feel less womanly or alluring due to the operation?
Lesa yes. Additionally, I felt as though I could no more have infants, if I decide to afterwards, but I coped with that. I do have dreams of being pregnant or nursing a kid still at age 45.
Did you worry that using a hysterectomy would change your sex life?
Lesa: A little. However, I knew I could no more have sex how I had been feeling and in pain. I was surprised that my libido went and sex was great after the surgery.
Did the hysterectomy enhance your symptoms?
Lesa: Yes, for several years until I had the uterus.
What’s life after hysterectomy?
Lesa: Great. I could have sex and not have to think about periods or pain or birth control. I am able to come and go and be active without pain or worrying about starting my period. Before, I went and [my period] began. What a lousy day to be stuck onto the river without a tampons. I got in the water a lot.
If you were able to decide again, what, if anything, would you do differently?
Lesa: I wish they would have taken the last ovary so that I wouldn’t have had to have another surgery to get it out.
If a good friend was considering a hysterectomy, what advice would you provide?
Lesa: Go for it. [It was the] best thing that ever happened to me. No sense being miserable. I adored the pain cube I was given.
What do you wish you’d known before operation that at this point you understand?
Lesa: Better pain management on second operation. I now can take Tramadol for pain, and it will help versus opiates.
A Word From Verywell
The decision to have a hysterectomy is an intensely private one, and should not be taken lightly. Though the hysterectomy procedure is among the most Frequent surgeries done today, it is still a serious process with lifelong consequences such as the Possible need for hormone therapy and the inability to become pregnant. Those issues, as well as the risks related to anesthesia and the surgical process, are important and should be a part of your discussion with your surgeon.
Editor’s Note: This is a personal account of this individual’s experience. Your experience with hysterectomy may differ, and the decision to opt for surgery is something which should be based on your particular circumstance and physician’s advice.