Hysterectomy & Alternatives

The Possible Side Effects of a Hysterectomy

April 2, 2018

If your physician has recommended a hysterectomy, you ought to consider the side effects that may occur after operation. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists notes you and your doctor should talk about your options and choices. Hysterectomy is major surgery and it must always be considered carefully, weighing the risks and benefits.

Potential side effects depend on a range of things, such as your age, pre-existing health conditions, whether you are still having periods, and the type of hysterectomy that is done. Here’s what you could encounter.

Effects of Anesthesia

You will receive anesthesia so that you won’t feel pain during the operation. You may feel moody, tired, or weak for a couple of days following operation. You might also feel a little sick to your stomach. Your physician may give you something to help settle your stomach.

Excessive Infection

There’s always a risk that you might bleed too much during an operation and need a transfusion. Consult your physician if you should donate some of your own blood before the surgery or if someone should give blood to you.

Recovery From Hysterectomy

After the operation, your physician will inform you how long you need to take off from work. The duration of time will be dependent on your health condition and which kind of hysterectomy you’d.

You will need assistance with routine activities such as child care, shopping, and housework. You won’t be able to drive when you are still on narcotic medications for pain, that are often given for two weeks following surgery.

You will improve your activity gradually daily and you may have the ability to resume your normal activities within four to six weeks.

The recovery time could be less if the surgery was completed vaginally or through the laparoscope.

Menstrual Changes

All sorts of hysterectomy remove the uterus. In case you were still having periods before operation, they will stop after the operation.

If the surgeon does not remove your ovaries, you may continue to have regular, monthly hormonal changes such as you did with your periods, however you won’t need a tampon or pad because you won’t have some menstrual flow. Though your ovaries remain undamaged, many women undergo menopause a few years sooner than they normally would have.

Symptoms of Surgical Menopause With Double Oophorectomy

Sometimes both ovaries are removed as well as the uterus in a process known as a hysterectomy with dual oophorectomy. After this operation, your body will go through the natural changes of menopause. This is called surgical menopause or induced menopause.

You’re likely to experience symptoms similar to regular menopause, which may include:

  • Hot flashes
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Night sweats
  • Mood swings

Sexual Issues

You shouldn’t have intercourse for six weeks after the operation. Sex might be different for you following hysterectomy. When many women find their sex life improves or remains the same after hysterectomy, some experience decreased desire, a drop in frequency and intensity of orgasms, and pain during intercourse.

The Boston University School of Medicine reports the the 1,200 women seen post-hysterectomy,”very few” patients reported sexual dysfunction, however emphasizes that this topic requires more research. Some data analysis reveals that girls who kept their cervix had no practical loss, but people who failed cervix removal reported sexual dysfunction. A review published in 2014 found that hysterectomy for benign disorder usually had beneficial effects on sexual function, but about 10 to 20 percent of women had deteriorated sexual function. Hysterectomy for a gynecologic malignancy was often associated with a worsening of sexual function.

Other Side Effects

Studies have shown that for a small number of women, hysterectomy may be followed by one or more of the following problems:

  • Negative weight gain
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained pelvic pain

A Word From Verywell

Women have a rising number of alternatives for the kind of hysterectomy surgery they can have and alternatives to surgery. Explore this together with your physician so that you know her recommendations for you and what you may expect after operation.