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Depression after Hysterectomy

From the Hysterectomy Recovery Articles List

SHARING IS CARING


Depression after hysterectomyIt's been six weeks since my hysterectomy, and I'm feeling good physically and have returned to work and resumed my normal daily routine. But, I feel so sad. What's wrong with me?


Many women experience a change in their emotions after their hysterectomy. Studies have shown that most women enjoy a better mood, quality of life, and sexual, psychological, and social functioning following their hysterectomy. A high percentage of women who have problems with anxiety or depression before their hysterectomy find that, with their improved physical health after the surgery, their previous depressed feelings go away.

However, some women, including those with no past history of depression or anxiety, feel sad after their hysterectomy. A woman's emotions are often based on her beliefs about the importance of her uterus, her fears about her health or personal relationships after a hysterectomy, and concerns about her enjoyment of sexual activities after surgery. Grieving the loss of childbearing ability is very common after a hysterectomy, even for those who never wanted to give birth, or who had previously felt their family was complete. In most cases, as a post-op hysterectomy patient’s physical healing progresses, and her life gradually gets back to normal, her feelings of sadness fade away. As time passes, she starts to feel “like her former self” again, and her emotional health returns to normal. However, those who experience a long-lasting, persistent low mood, should see their physician for a depression evaluation.

The disease of depression is much more than just a temporary grieving or a bout with the blues. Depression is a medical disorder with a biological and chemical basis. Depression affects a person’s thoughts, moods, feelings, behavior and even physical health. People used to think it was "all in your head" and that if you really tried, you could "snap out of it" or just "get over it." But doctors now know that depression is not a weakness, and it's not something you can treat on your own.

Doctors don’t know for certain what causes depression, and doubt that there is single cause that applies to all patients. It is an illness that often runs in families. People of all ages and races suffer from depression. Depression may commence spontaneously with no identifiable specific cause. It may happen only once in a person's lifetime, or it may occur as repeated episodes, with depression-free periods in between.. It also may be a chronic condition, requiring ongoing treatment over a lifetime.

Experts believe a genetic vulnerability combined with environmental factors, such as stress or physical illness, may trigger an imbalance in brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, resulting in depression. Imbalances in three neurotransmitters — serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine — seem to be linked to depression.

Hormonal changes may be a contributing factor to developing this imbalance, and a period of hormonal disruption usually occurs even for hysterectomy patients who kept their ovaries. Those patients may find that their low mood lifts after their ovaries return to normal functioning. For women who had their ovaries removed, improvement in mood may occur after HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) begins.

Medications are available that are safe and effective, even for the most severe cases. With proper treatment, most people with depression improve, often within weeks, and can return to normal daily activities.

As part of the post-surgery follow-up care they provide, at your post-op medical appointments, your physician should inquire about your mood and sense of well-being, and evaluate and treat any condition of this nature appropriately. If your doctor does not bring up this topic, then you need to do so. Help is available, so there is no reason to continue to suffer.


This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

08-21-2007 - 01:59 PM


SHARING IS CARING


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HysterSisters Articles

Diagnosis
Options to Hysterectomy
Treatment Alternatives
Pre-Op Hysterectomy
Post-Op Hysterectomy
Separate Surgeries
Hormone and Menopause
Intimacy after Hysterectomy
Pelvic Floor
Separate Surgeries
Fitness after Hysterectomy
GYN Cancer
Breast Health
Grief and Loss
Endometriosis
Uterine Fibroids
GYN Genetics
Hysterectomy Stories
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HysterSisters Doctor Directory
Sean Kossari, M.D.
14901 Rinaldi Street
Suite 320
Mission Hills CA 91345
818-365-1616
Caren C Reaves, M.D.
Caring for Women
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Denton TX 76208
940-591-6700
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7255 Old Oak Blvd
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Middleburg Hts OH 44149
440-816-5390
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5525 Etiwanda Avenue
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Tarzana (Los Angeles) CA 91356
818-343-1717
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4414 Lake Boone Trail
Suite 300
Raleigh NC 27612
919-781-5510
Quanita Crable, M.D.
8160 Walnut Hill Lane
Ste. LL-001
Dallas TX 75231
(469)364-3764
Christopher G. Olson, M.D.
1220 Hobson Rd #116
Naperville NJ 60540
630-416-3300
Geoffrey Cly, M.D.
Suite 101, 11123 Parkview Plaza Drive
Fort Wayne IN 46845
260-969-5530
heath miller, M.D.
1101 madison street
suite 1150
seattle WA 98104
206-386-3400

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