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Hysterectomy Side Effects: What Doctors Never Told You

By Caire Guest Writer Karen Lombardo

What is a hysterectomy?

In its simplest terms, a hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus. The surgery can be performed abdominally, vaginally, laparoscopically, or usingLaparoscopic Assisted Vaginal Hysterectomy. This method combines intra-abdominal surgery, completed with the laparoscope, and a vaginal excision of cervical tissues that are completed transvaginal. 

total hysterectomy removes the entire uterus, including the cervix. A radical hysterectomy removes all of the uterus, cervix, the tissue on both sides of the cervix, and the upper part of the vagina. A radical hysterectomy is most often used to treat certain types of cancer, such as cervical cancer. In addition, the fallopian tubes and the ovaries may or may not be removed.

The hysterectomy procedure that includes removing one or both ovaries is called an oophorectomy. When oophorectomy involves removing both ovaries, it’s called bilateral oophorectomy. When the surgery involves removing only one ovary, it’s a unilateral oophorectomy.

What happens to your body after a hysterectomy?

Many of the physical and emotional changes women experience occur when a total hysterectomy andbilateral oophorectomy are performed. In addition, the sudden absence of estrogen and progesterone when the ovaries are removed is responsible for age-related health issues.

Once the joy of never having another period wears off, the reality and the full force of the hysterectomy side effects take hold. The abrupt loss of hormones can profoundly affect a woman’s physical and emotional well-being. Common side effects after a hysterectomy include:

    • Bloating and period cramps after a hysterectomy depend on the method used by the surgeon. Your abdomen took quite a once-over from the surgery and is now coupled with the after-effects. 
    • Bowel problems following a hysterectomy include constipation, diarrhea, and loose bowels exacerbated by a weak pelvic floor and abdominal vacancy where the reproductive organs once resided.
    • Hot flashes are the most widely reported side effect. Hot flashes come at inappropriate times, such as during a business meeting or social event.
    • Night sweats after a hysterectomy once again top the list of really annoying side effects. There are rumored cures ranging from natural vitamins to specialty PJs and blankets. But, bottom line, there is no magic cure, and this too will pass. 
    • Mood changes include depression and anxiety. Well, given what we have spoken of so far, I think we can all understand the moodiness, angst, and anxiety living in a post-hysterectomy world. 
    • Insomnia is attributed to body discomfort, night sweats, and anxiety. In addition, a woman experiences substantial physical change after a hysterectomy andoophorectomy, making sleeping exceedingly difficult.
    • Memory loss is not commonly noted but can occur. It is also reported after childbirth and is often called “placenta brain,” referring to the hormonal shifts during and after maternity and birth. 
    • Difficulty urinating  rears its ugly head as the pelvic floor is weakened by the absence of the uterus that it once rested upon. The pelvic floor needs to be strong and can build strength through Kegels and vaginal physical therapy. (yes, there is such a thing, and it is a God-send.)

Two additional side effects that require long term monitoring are: 

  • Loss of bone density and increased risk for osteoporosis
  • Changes in blood vessels that increase the risk for cardiovascular disease

Your gynecologist should refer you to the appropriate medical resources to review and monitor these two critical risks for long-term health.

Post-hysterectomy and sex- What doctors rarely talk about.

Couples feet sticking out from under covers

Sex after a hysterectomy or during menopause requires patience and the right partner. Sex as you knew it may or may not exist and needs a little help. The most common complaints are:

Vaginal dryness
  • Painful intercourse
  • Loss of desire and libido
  • Inability to reach orgasm

    In hysterectomies and menopause, lower estrogen levels can cause a drop in blood supply to the vagina, which can affect lubrication. Without it, sex can be painful and dry. Vaginal atrophy occurs when estrogen levels fall, and the vaginal lining thins. As a result, the vaginal walls become less elastic, and lubrication diminishes. 

    There are products available to help with vaginal dryness and discomfort. We offer Kindra’s The Daily Vaginal Lotion as a simple and easy solution. 

    So, these are uncomfortable words and thoughts and now enter the ‘right’ caring and fun partner. Sex can be enjoyable after a hysterectomy. So, let yourself have fun and don’t take it too seriously. Who knows, it could spark a new level of enjoyment for you and your partner! 

    Accelerated skin aging due to dehydration and loss of collagen

    These two factors are responsible for many of the symptoms menopausal and post-hysterectomy women experience. Dry skin and decreasing collagen can create wrinkles, liver spots, and the absence can generate a breakdown in your skin’s structure. Hysterectomy complications can include damage to your skin’s structure and strength. 

    Hysterectomy Side Effects: What Doctors Never Told You

    A healthy lifestyle and body awareness create a difference in the aging process. Using skin care products that are safe and effective is instrumental in your physical and emotional well-being. For example, Caire’s Defiance Science Duo uses a Hyaluronic acid complex, that also includes the tiniest molecules available in the world, to help restore the moisture that higher amounts of estrogen would have generated.  Contact us to learn more about loving your menopausal life and body. It’s the only body you have- be kind to it.

    1 Response

    Ruth Dennis
    Ruth Dennis

    June 13, 2023

    Due to have a historectomy on the 8th of September very scared of this. I know it is for the best.
    I’m afraid that I will get over weight
    Not looking forward to that at all

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