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What happens after histerectomy? What happens after histerectomy?

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Unread 09-05-2001, 07:54 PM
What happens after histerectomy?

My doctor prescribed a total histerectomy for my fibroids. My uterus is 16wk size with several 6.5 cm fibroids in its wall. When he told me, I was ready to have the surgery , but I'm having second thoughts after reading some materials on internet. It seems people are trying to avoid hysterectomies at all costs, and I don't think I am suffering enough to have one. I have heavy periods with large blood clots, feel pressure and occasional pain in the lower abdomen, and a protruded belly. I'm 46 years old, and premenopausal.

How does loosing our uterus affect us?
What should I expect after the surgery? Will my moods be affected?

Thank you in advance!
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Unread 09-06-2001, 08:55 AM
What happens after histerectomy?

Deciding whether or not a hysterectomy is right for you is a very personal decision, and one that only you and your doctor can make. This site is neither pro-hyst nor anti-hyst, we just try to help you gather information, so you know what questions to ask your doctor.

Most hysterectomies are done for quality of life reasons, rather than absolute necessity. I had an total abdominal hysterectomy (TAH) a year ago for a large fibroid. I was not really in any pain, and had no bleeding. I just didn't want to carry that thing around any more, and have never wanted children anyway, so I told my doctor to take it all out!

Because my ovaries were healthy, and I was 28 years old, I was able to keep my ovaries. They are still working beautifully, so I haven't noticed any changes in moods, sexual desire, etc.

This IS major surgery, and not one to be undertaken lightly. The "initial" recovery is usually 6-8 weeks. This means no working, no housework, lots of resting and doing NOTHING for 6-8 weeks. Total recovery usually takes 6 months to a year. This means you will be tired, achy, and tend to swell up if you do too much for up to a year!

In other words, please read as much as you can, and discuss all your options with your doctor. Together, you can make the best decision for YOU!

Good luck, and keep us posted!
Unread 09-07-2001, 01:09 PM
Total Hyst = TAH/BSO

Total hysterectomy usually means that your doctor wants to remove your uterus, tubes, AND ovaries. When your ovaries are removed, there are consequences. You will be in surgical menopause (and sometimes that's more difficult than natural menopause because your ovaries continue to secrete testosterone and other hormones well past menopause (natural)). You've come to the right place, do your research and then make the choice that's right for you.

Personal Experiences with hrt - www.hormonejungle.com <--read the pulldowns

Menopause guide (good resource on symptoms/risks):

Reasons not to have oophorectomy - see Karolyn's response:

Keep in mind that many women don't have the problems with hrt that some women have, and you're not likely to find many of them here. But when you ask for opinions/first person accounts - be sure to ask them the age that they were when they had the surgery, if they had their ovaries removed, what kind of hrt they're on, and how far out they are from surgery. It does take a good year to two years to fully recover from a full hysterectomy (and removal of ovaries).
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Unread 09-07-2001, 01:31 PM
What happens after histerectomy?

Hi Hisayo!

I can only speak for me when I talk about having a hysterectomy. First of all, do as much research as you can, and talk to a couple of doctors if you want.

As for me, I'm almost six weeks post after a total vaginal hysterectomy (except he left my ovaries). I, too, had an enlarged uterus and several fibroids.

I have experienced no difference in my moods, but then that's because my ovaries were left and were not affected by my tumors. Of course, I had mood swings before surgery, and I have them now--much to my husband's dismay!!! To this point, I have not experienced any negative affects from my hysterectomy, but I am very early in my recovery and don't know how it will affect me for the rest of my life.

I feel like a tremendous weight has been lifted from my middle. My belly no longer protrudes like a 15-week pregnancy. I no longer have to deal with heavy periods, clotting, flooding, and pelvic pain. The main reason I had my TVH was to hopefully fix my chronic anemia from the blood loss, and to eliminate constant pelvic pain from the fibroids.

Keep asking questions, keep researching, and then make the decision that is best for you!

Take care!
Unread 09-07-2001, 04:12 PM
What happens after histerectomy?


Like you, I am 46 and was diagnosed with fibroids, 14 week uterus, told I was a good candidate for a hyst. I was also offered other options: bc pills, progesterone, Lupron, myomectomy, UAE. I didn't think I was suffering enough for a hyst either ... had heavy periods and big clots, pressure, pelvic pain, etc. ... but not the excessive bleeding that some ladies describe. I chose to have a laparoscopic myomectomy. Had surgery on June 25th as outpatient, was back to work in a week. Surgery went great, they removed 2 fibroids, one the size of a golf ball and the other the size of my doc's fist (his description). I had one incision at navel, another small one near pubic bone. If you choose this option, you need a surgeon who is really skilled with lap myomectomy.

I would be doing great now except for the fact that my doc discovered stage 4 endo during my surgery. Turns out the endo was causing many of the symptoms I assumed were due to the fibroids. I'm probably an exception ... If your only problem is fibroids, a lap myomectomy might be a good choice for you. Statistics vary about regrowth of fibroids ... some ladies will caution you that their fibroids grew back after a myomectomy. But it's worth considering. A good website is www.thefibroidplace.com. The best book I read on this topic is "Fibroids: The Complete Guide to Taking Charge of Your Physical, Emotional and Sexual Well-Being" by Johanna Skilling.

Best of luck with this difficult decision!

Unread 09-08-2001, 03:08 PM
How about removing/keeping cervix

Thank you all for your input. Things are getting clearer to me. I ordered Johanna Skilling's book, and read Karolyn's response.
I'm going make an appointment to see my doctor, and insist on keeping my overies. I will also ask him about lap myomectomy or other less invasive methods.

Now, I'm wondering whether to keep my cervix or not. Is it as big a deal as removing the overies?

Unread 09-09-2001, 12:17 PM
What happens after histerectomy?

I had a TAH - Total Abdominal Hysterectomy - for fibroids. Unless there is something wrong with your ovaries, you should be able to keep them, and they should go right on working normally.

I didn't see any reason to avoid a hyst in my case. I did not want kids. I was not eager to "buy more time" or do anything else that would prolong my problem - I wanted it dealt with right now. I've had very good results, and no regrets. I know everyone has their own reasons, but I personally didn't see any point in probably going through more surgeries later, just for the privilege of suffering longer.

Please look into myomectomies carefully. If you are still hoping to have children, that might be a good thing to try, but I *think* (not sure...) that myomectomies are not all that much less trouble than hysts, and have a higher rate of complications. One site with lots of fibroid info, including info on alternatives to hysterectomies, is: http://www.thefibroidplace.com

By the way, a "Total" hysterectomy only specifies that the uterus, including the cervix (which is part of the uterus) is removed. The other kind of hysterectomy is a "Supracervical" or "above the cervix" kind, meaning they leave the cervix.

Hysterectomies can be done through an open abdominal incision ("Abdominal"), through the vaginal ("Vaginal"), through the vagina, also using laparoscope to see better ("Laparoscopically Assisted Vaginal"), or totally laparoscopically ("Laparoscopic").

A "Bilateral Salpingo-Ooferectomy" (BSO) means the removal of both ovaries and falopian tubes.

In any case, be absolutely clear with your doctor, in plain language you both understand, which kind you are talking about, so you don't have any surprises.

By the way, I had my cervix out ("Total", remember) - no regrets there either. There are of course different opinions on that. Since I never had kids I had good pelvic floor support (not stretched out), so the possible extra support from the ligaments that attach to the cervix wasn't a big consideration. I also found the darned thing just plain painful and annoying - so I'm glad to have it gone.

Be sure to write down all your questions for your doctor, and get answers you are comfortable with and understand. By the way, unless your fibroids are causing you problems (pressing on other organs or nerves, hemmorhaging, etc.) you don't *have to* do anything at all. Lots of women live with fibroids just fine. If the heavy bleeding, clotting, and bloating is getting to you, fine, but if it isn't, you could just leave things be.

Something to consider, if this applies to you - during the 3+ years I was bleeding heavily, cramping, clotting, etc., etc., I would get sick at the drop of a hat. Anything that came along, I'd catch it. I'm sure the problems from the fibroids were running my system down. Since my surgery I haven't been sick once. So your fibroids may be affecting you in ways you hadn't thought of, too.

Good luck making your decision, and don't let anyone rush or pressure you.
Unread 09-09-2001, 01:17 PM
What happens after histerectomy?

I was 49 at the time of my TAH/BSO. I sufferered from anemia due to the heavy bleeding. I also had lots of pressure (almost all of the time), and bad cramps with my periods. I had a fibroid tumor, endometriosis, endenomyosis, and endocervicitis. I chose to have my ovaries removed (toughest choice for me, the hyst was easy because of the long term problems). I also wanted my cervix removed because of many abnormal pap smears the last 4-5 years before surgery.

I have been on Premarin .625 since 2 days post op, and feel just great on it. I feel that my moods are much more even than before they surgery when I often had PMS with terrible headaches. I feel absolutely great - better than I have felt in 10 years!!

My advice would be for you to get all the information you can so you are able to make the best decision for you.

My best wishes,

Unread 09-10-2001, 08:53 AM
What happens after histerectomy?

Hi again!

Whether or not to keep your cervix is a difficult question to answer, each of us has to make a decision that's best for ourselves, but I can give you some things to think about. Discuss these things with your doctor, and between the two of you, you can make the best decision for YOU.

1. Cancer. Is there any history of cancer in your family? Removing the cervix drastically lowers your chances of cervical cancer (still a remote possibility due to the chance of some cells being left behind)

2. Bleeding. Some women who keep their cervix end up having "mini-periods" monthly (only if they also have at least one ovary). These seem to be rare, and are very light, but are a possibility.

3. Sex. There are many conflicting opinions on whether the cervix contributes to sexual pleasure. Ask 10 people, you'll get 10 different answers. I can say in MY case, at least, sex is wonderful after the surgery (I had my cervix removed). My doctor told me it wouldn't make a difference, and she was right - neither myself nor my husband can tell any difference.

Keep reading, talk to your doctor, and good luck with your decision!
Unread 09-10-2001, 09:26 AM
All good advice...

All of the above statements are good advice -- the best being talk to your doc about what "total hysterectomy" means to him/her. I've found this varies from doctor to doctor. BSO doesn't usually mean much to patients, so often they just say "Total hysterectomy, everything out". Be careful...a few have gotten big surprises after the operation.

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