What are the most common side effects of hysterectomy?

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Dr. Manu Lakshmi

31 May 2022

A hysterectomy is a surgery to remove the uterus, usually recommended if a woman has endometriosis, uterine fibroids, gynaecological cancer, genetic diseases, abnormal bleeding, pelvic organ prolapse, or chronic pain in the pelvis. Hysterectomy, like all surgical procedures, involves some side effects but best hysterectomy surgery hospital in Chennai takes extraordinary precautions to keep risks as low as possible.

A hysterectomy can be performed in several different ways where the organs may be removed through the abdomen or the vagina. A laparoscopic-assisted hysterectomy combining both approaches involve a part of the surgery performed through the abdomen, but the uterus may be removed through the vagina. The method used can play a role in the side effects that may be experienced after surgery.

Side effects of hysterectomy depend on surgical and health factors

The gynaecological surgeon determines the type of hysterectomy performed and the technique used to perform the procedure, usually depending on the size of the uterus and other health factors. Vaginal or laparoscopic hysterectomies typically have a lower risk of significant side effects. While comparing a vaginal or laparoscopic hysterectomy to an abdominal hysterectomy, there is an increased risk for complications like infection, bleeding, blood clots, nerve damage, and bowel obstruction. However, common side effects of an abdominal hysterectomy can also be potentially caused by other types of surgery. Based on which pelvic organs are being removed, there a several types of hysterectomy that include:

– partial hysterectomy that removes the uterus but leaves the cervix intact.

– standard hysterectomy where both the uterus and cervix are removed.

– total hysterectomy removes the uterus and cervix along with one or both ovaries and fallopian tubes.

If a person has undergone a total hysterectomy along with the removal of ovaries, it can cause another set of side effects. Without the ovaries that produce the hormone oestrogen, a woman who has not undergone menopause already will experience menopause symptoms. These side effects of hysterectomy with oophorectomy include hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, difficulty sleeping, mood swings and irritability, weight gain, hair loss, dry skin, bladder or bowel incontinence, and loss of bone density and rapid heartbeat.

Due to the sudden drop in oestrogen after oophorectomy, women may experience exaggerated symptoms that vary in duration and from person to person. However, many women who have the Best Uterus Removal Surgery in Chennai do not experience significant negative impacts. In some cases, relief from chronic pain and bleeding improves the quality of life.

The woman’s age and overall health also influence the recovery period. The medical history of the person undergoing surgery may become a reason to develop side effects. For instance, obese women are more prone to infection and blood clots than those with normal body weight.

Another risk factor for developing side effects is the reason behind the surgery. For example, people undergoing a hysterectomy for cancer are more likely to develop a fistula in comparison to people undergoing a hysterectomy for gynaecological reasons such as a pelvic organ prolapse.

The two most noticeable side effects of hysterectomy are because of the permanent removal of uterus 

  • Pregnancy is no longer possible – The uterus is the most crucial organ for pregnancy; removing it means that the woman won’t be able to get pregnant, which comes as a hard adjustment for some women.
  • The menstrual cycle will stop – Menstruating will stop after having a hysterectomy, and there will be no monthly periods.

Short-term side effects of hysterectomy – can be treated as they are usually mild, minimal, and occur in the first 30 days after surgery. Best Hysterectomy Surgery in Chennai involves vaginal or laparoscopic hysterectomy that takes about 3 to 4 weeks to recover, whereas it may require up to 4 months to recover from a standard abdominal hysterectomy. Other common side effects include:

  • Physical side effects – Women may experience common side effects immediately after the hysterectomy, including physical signs of pain, bleeding, vaginal discharge, and constipation. Some women may also experience difficulties with urination or nausea, or vomiting.

  • Emotional side effects – pregnancy and menstruation are crucial aspects of femininity. Accordingly, emotional side effects are common after a hysterectomy. Though most women are relieved from pelvic pain or vaginal bleeding symptoms, hysterectomy can cause grief and sadness, particularly in women who had hoped to have more children. Women in their childbearing years may feel anxious or depressed about losing fertility. In contrast, losing their periods can be a relief for some women who have been experiencing painful or complex health conditions. Women who do not want children may feel relieved that they cannot become pregnant, their symptoms are gone, and their quality of life improved.

  • Sexual side effects – Change in oestrogen levels can cause vaginal dryness, pain during sex, and decreased sex drive, but there are hormonal therapies to counteract these effects.

Long term side effects of hysterectomy – Problems with organ prolapse, which is stretching or dropping of pelvic organs into an abnormal position, can happen after a hysterectomy. Some patients with an organ prolapse where the vagina descends and bulges outside the body may require pelvic organ prolapse surgery.

Other organs such as the bowel or the bladder can prolapse down to where the uterus used to be and push on the vagina. If the bladder is involved, this can lead to urinary problems. Surgery can correct these issues. Though women may not experience prolapse after uterus removal as a common side effect, to prevent prolapse problems after the surgery, pelvic floor exercises to strengthen the muscles supporting the internal organs are advised. 

Hysterectomies are not reversible, so it is important for women to gather information and gain confidence in their decision. All types of risks accompany most surgeries, but that does not make hysterectomy unsafe. Laparoscopic hysterectomies done at Best Uterus Removal Surgery Clinic in Chennai typically have a lower risk for complications or long-term side effects. Specialists in hysterectomy go over these risks before the procedure and inform about necessary measures to minimize risks of more serious side effects.

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