Hysterectomy – The Basics

Here is a great summary of the general information that is helpful when considering a hysterectomy.  Over the next several weeks, I hope to break down this information in even more detail. For example, what are the reasons for a hysterectomy and what are the main risk factors.  Check in during this time to get more information on the topics mentioned here.Image

Hysterectomy

Description

During a hysterectomy, the surgeon may remove the entire uterus or just part of it. The fallopian tubes and ovaries may also be removed.

Types of hysterectomy:

  • Partial (supracervical) hysterectomy: The upper part of the uterus is removed. The cervix is left in place.
  • Total hysterectomy: The entire uterus and cervix are removed.
  • Radical hysterectomy: The uterus, cervix upper part of the vagina, and tissue on both sides of the cervix are removed. This is most often done if you have cancer.

Your doctor will help you decide which type of hysterectomy is best for you. The choice often depends on your medical history and reason for the surgery.

Why the Procedure is Performed

There are many reasons a woman may need a hysterectomy. The procedure may be recommended if you have:

Hysterectomy is a major surgery. It is possible that your condition may be treated without this major surgery. Talk with your doctor or nurse about all your treatment options. Less invasive procedures include:

Risks

Risks of any surgery are:

Risks of a hysterectomy are:

  • Injury to the bladder or ureters
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Early menopause if the ovaries are removed
  • Decreased interest in sex
  • Increased risk of heart disease if the ovaries are removed before menopause

Ask your doctor if taking estrogen can help lower the risk of heart disease and help menopause symptoms.

Before the Procedure

Before deciding to have a hysterectomy, ask your doctor or nurse what to expect after the procedure. Many women who have had a hysterectomy notice changes in their body and in how they feel about themselves. Talk with your doctor, nurse, family, and friends about these possible changes before you have surgery.

Tell your health care team about all the medicines you are taking. These include herbs, supplements, and other medicines you bought without a prescription.

During the days before the surgery:

  • You may be asked to stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), clopidogrel (Plavix), warfarin (Coumadin), and any other drugs like these.
  • Ask your doctor which drugs you should still take on the day of your surgery.
  • If you smoke, try to stop. Ask your doctor or nurse for help quitting.

On the day of your surgery:

  • You will usually be asked not to drink or eat anything for 8 hours before the surgery.
  • Take any medicines your doctor told you to take with a small sip of water.
  • Arrive at the hospital on time.

After the Procedure

After surgery, you will be given pain medicines to relieve any discomfort.

You may also have a tube, called a catheter, inserted into your bladder to pass urine. The catheter will likely be removed before you go home.

You will be asked to get up and move around as soon as possible after surgery. This helps prevent blood clots from forming in your legs and speeds recovery.

You will be asked to get up to use the bathroom as soon as you are able. You may return to a normal diet as soon as you can without causing nausea or vomiting.

How long you stay in the hospital depends on the type of hysterectomy.

  • You can likely go home the next day when surgery is done through the vagina using a laparoscope or after robotic surgery.
  • When a larger surgical cut (incision) in the abdomen is made, you may need to stay in the hospital 1 to 2 days. You may need to stay longer if the hysterectomy is done because of cancer.

Outlook (Prognosis)

How long it takes you to recover depends on the type of hysterectomy. Average recovery times are:

  • Abdominal hysterectomy: 4 to 6 weeks
  • Vaginal hysterectomy: 3 to 4 weeks
  • Robot-assisted or total laparoscopic hysterectomy: 2 to 4 weeks

A hysterectomy will cause menopause if you also have your ovaries removed. Removal of the ovaries can also lead to a decreased sex drive. Your doctor may recommend estrogen replacement therapy. Discuss with your doctor the risks and benefits of this therapy.

If the hysterectomy was done for cancer, you may need further treatment.

Retrieved from: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002915.htm

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The Beginning

Hmmm, this one sounds interesting…I’m curious how things turned out!

Thoughts and so much more

After watching a certain celebrity on TV discussing her hysterectomy on live TV  I thought to myself hmm………..  Yes she looked great in her tight leather look pants and  superhigh heels  but she  had probably  spent hours in make up and hair and had a wonderful stylist to make her ready for the waiting viewers.  That is not the true face of hysterectomy  I am!!!!!

Let me introduce myself.  I am Sally and I am a 40-year-old mother of two boys who has just endured what I can only describe as the worst few week of my life!! Yes my life!!  I had a Total laparoscopic Hysterectomy at the beginning of September this year.  The reason I went ahead with this “Ahem” routine surgery is because I had a fibroid the size of a grapefruit in my uterus.  This is my story from the creation of the Vault through my recovery and onwards.

My journey…

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Menorrhagia

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This is a word I was not even familiar with until about two years ago.  Menorrhagia is heavy bleeding during your period and as I found out over the last couple of years, it can be extremely bothersome!  As I have mentioned before though, I feel like women’s health issues are not discussed widely enough (for example, my spell checker doesn’t even recognize the word!) and therefore a lot of women are left wondering what exactly ‘heavy bleeding’ is.  This site from the NHS is quite helpful.  There is even a little self-assessment test that you can complete that may assist you in understanding what constitutes a ‘heavy period’.  It even creates a list of symptoms that you can take with you to your doctor!

Here’s a blurb copied from the site:  Heavy periods, also called menorrhagia, is when a woman loses an excessive amount of blood during consecutive periods.  Menorrhagia can occur by itself or in combination with other symptoms, such as menstrual pain (dysmenorrhoea).  Heavy bleeding does not necessarily mean there is anything seriously wrong, but it can affect a woman physically, emotionally and socially, and can cause disruption to everyday life.  See your GP if you are worried about heavy bleeding during or between your periods.

I recommend that you check out the site for even more great information!