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Total Abdominal Hysterectomy - Pelvic Congestion Syndrome

From the Abdominal Hysterectomy Stories Articles List

I wanted to post my story because prior to my surgery, I was unable to find much information about the condition which led me to my hysterectomy.

For several years, I experienced a little pain during sex, severe lower back pain after walking/standing for extended periods of time, and increased cramping with my menstrual cycles. I also noticed that I had extreme bloating the week before my period, which was very uncomfortable. The symptom that really concerned me was a strange awareness of my ovaries at all times... I could feel them - and thought about them constantly. Some other symptoms that took me to the doctor were constant chills, loss of hair and memory and fatigue.

After bloodwork, pap smear and 2 vaginal ultrasounds, my doctor discovered that in addition to having an overactive thyroid, I had several cysts on both ovaries, some unexplained fluid in my abdomin and what appeared to be varicose veins in my uterus. He suggested that I have a total hysterectomy, including the removal of my ovaries, as he thought that any other treatment would only give me partial or temporary relief from my symptoms. After some soul searching and long talks with my husband, I decided to follow his advice. One month later, I had my surgery.

During the surgery, my doctor removed my uterus, ovaries, tubes and cervix. He said that the veins around my ovaries and in my uterus were as big around as my thumb. He thinks that my constant awareness of my ovaries and pain was due to the amount of blood pumping through these veins. The unexplained fluid in my abdoment was a cup and a half of blood, which he thinks was a result of the veins continually rubbing and popping the cysts on my ovaries... he said this blood caused my abdomenal tissue and organs to become inflamed, explaining the periodic swelling of my abdomen. He also suspected that I might have endometriosis, as there was some "suspicious tissue" in my abdomen.

The pathology report showed no signs of cancer or endometriosis... so the "suspicious tissue" was likely a result of the inflamation caused by the blood in my abdomen.

I was in the hospital for three days... it was not a great visit in the "castle". I highly recommend that anyone choosing to have any type of surgery have someone there to care for you and play an advocate role incase the hospital staff falls short on their responsibilities.

On day two, my cathedar stopped working... the nurse didn't know what to do, so just kept coming in and wiggling it for 12 hours... meanwhile, my bladder just kept getting fuller and fuller. Ouch! Finally, they removed it and gave me six hours to go on my own, but it never happened. They had to put the cathedar back in. Another Ouch! I had an allergic reaction to the pain medication, and even though I kept asking the nurses to check me for hives because I itched all over, they didn't give me benedryl and change the medication until the second night. My third day in the hospital was the worst, only because the nurse was really NOT good at her job. She allowed my fluid IV to be empty for two hours... she finally changed it when I hobbled down the hall and reminded her. Of course, she did it while I was standing up in the hall in front of the nurses station and pushed a shot saline into the IV too quickly, causing me to scream in pain and fall to the floor. Double OUCH!! I didn't pass gas until the third day. They removed the cathedar again, and waited to see if I was able to go on my own, which I did, and then they gave me an estrogen shot that was supposed to last a month and much to my relief, released me to go home.

Things went much more smoothly at home. My husband was able to take the entire month off to help me (though I really only needed him full time the first two weeks). Every day I felt a little better than the last. I am five weeks post-op today, and started back to work part time (2-3 hours a day) this week - of course, I work from home on a computer - so no manual labor. I'm napping during the day, as I am still easily fatigued and having trouble sleeping at night. I do have hot flashes that wake me from sleep at night. Doctor says this is due to hormone adjustments and says it will get better as my body adjusts and we find the right dose of estrogen for my body.

I can honestly say that the feelings that took me to the doctor in the first place are much improved, if not GONE! The awareness of my ovaries, GONE! My belly is swollen, but because of the surgery, so something that will improve with time, but the tenderness and pain I had before surgery - GONE! Prior to surgery, I was really concerned about the reports I read of loss of labido, vaginal dryness and loss of orgasm. I am happy to report that everything still works as well - even better - than before.

So, in summary:
- I feel certain that the hysterectomy was the right decision for me.
- While I am experiencing symptoms of surgical menopause, I feel much better than before surgery.
- I am proof that a hysterectomy does not mean the end of your enjoyable sex life - and that it could be even better!
- I strongly encourage anyone having surgery of any kind to have someone with them in the hospital to act as back up care giver and advocate if needed.
- I also encourage anyone having this surgery to take as much time as possible to recover. You have only one chance to do it right... this is YOUR life. Don't let any outside force manipulate you into sacrificing your recovery.
- Every surgery is different and no two people recover exactly the same. You know your body better than anyone else. Listen to your body and take care of her and she will do the same for you.

The Hystersisters site has been a wonderful source of information and comfort to me, before, during and after my surgery. It is such a comfort to know that we are not alone. Here we can always find a source of encouragement, women willing to let us vent, and advice from others who have experienced the same feelings, emotions and physical symptoms that we are facing. I don't know what I would have done without this site and all of it's contributors over the past few months!! Thank you all!

01-10-2008 - 01:13 AM


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Hormone and Menopause
Intimacy after Hysterectomy
Pelvic Floor
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