Second only to cesarean delivery, hysterectomy is the second most common major surgery performed on women of childbearing age by a Houston OBGYN.
This surgical procedure may be done to treat the following uterus-related conditions: endometriosis, uterine fibroids, abnormal vaginal bleeding, pelvic support problems (i.e. uterine prolapse), chronic pelvic pain and cancer.
Types of Hysterectomy
There are various types of hysterectomy:
Total hysterectomy: In this major surgical procedure, the entire uterus is removed. In addition to the extraction of the whole uterus, the supporting structures around the uterus and the cervix are removed in a total radical hysterectomy. This procedure is often conducted to treat particular types of cancer.
Supracervical: Also known as partial or subtotal hysterectomy, in this procedure, only the upper part of the uterus is removed. The cervix, meanwhile, is left in place.
Hysterectomy with removal of the fallopian tubes and ovaries: A standard hysterectomy does not include the extraction of the fallopian tubes and ovaries. Specifically, the surgical procedure that extracts the ovary is called an oophorectomy; the surgical procedure that removes fallopian tubes is called a salpingectomy. One or two of these surgical procedures can be performed together with hysterectomy. In some cases, only one tube or ovary is extracted.
A hysterectomy is generally considered a safe procedure. But like any other surgical procedures, the following problems can occur with hysterectomy:
- Injury to the urinary tract or nearby organs
- Bleeding during or after surgery
- Problems related to anesthesia
- Blood clots in the veins or lungs
Other problems associated with the procedure may not appear until after few days, weeks or even years. Problems that may appear later may include bowel blockage as a result of scarring of the intestines or blood clot formation in the wound. The effects of hysterectomy differ from person to person. For instance, women who have underlying medical conditions, may be at greater risk than other people when it comes to body reaction in relation to the administration of anesthesia. Your Houston Gynecologist is the ideal person to assess your risks to complications and better undertake precautionary measures. Before undergoing hysterectomy, you should be able to understand specific risks and discuss specific concerns with your doctor.
Effects of Hysterectomy
As this procedure is a major surgery, you are required to stay in the hospital few days after the procedure. As to the number of days that you will stay in the hospital, this depends on the kind and manner of hysterectomy performed on you.
The effects of this major surgery can come in physical or emotional form. Some effects last for short period; others last for long period. Before undergoing the procedure, you should be made aware of these effects.
Right after this procedure, your menstrual period will stop. As a result of the absence of menstrual period and the absence of the uterus, the woman who has undergone this procedure cannot anymore have children.
If you have not gone through menopause and if your ovaries are left in place, estrogen will still be produced until such time that they will stop functioning in a natural manner.
It is not unusual for those who have undergone hysterectomy to have emotional reaction. This emotional reaction differs from person to person due to a number of factors. For instance, some women became depressed after a depth realization that they cannot anymore have children. Make sure that you consult with your doctor in case the depression lasts longer than few weeks. While others become depressed, some are elated for the reason that the symptoms that they suffered before have stopped.
Sexual effects after hysterectomy also differ from person to person. Some women observe a change in their sexual experience after this procedure. Due to the fact that the uterus is removed, uterine contractions during orgasm will not anymore happen. Some women though experience the opposite after hysterectomy; that is, they experience more sexual pleasure. One reason for this improved sexual pleasure is that the woman is no longer worrying about becoming pregnant. The improved sexual pleasure may also be due to the discomforts brought about by the symptoms that lead to hysterectomy are no longer present.
Some women choose to have only a supracervical hysterectomy because they believe that their sexual reaction will not be negatively affected compared to total hysterectomy. Research, however, settled that there is no difference of sexual response with women who have undergone supracervical hysterectomy and those who have undergone total hysterectomy.