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Your Body After Hysterectomy

Hysterectomy Recovery and Surgical Menopause

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Updated June 04, 2014

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What happens to my body hysterectomy?

While each woman who has a hysterectomy may have a unique reaction, there are many changes in the body that are typical among most women. If your ovaries are removed along with your uterus, you may experience hot flashes or other menopause symptoms, as if you were going through "the change." Your doctor may recommend estrogen replacement therapy or another type of medication to relieve your symptoms. If you find that the commonly prescribed synthetic hormones cause too many side effects, you may want to ask your health care provider about bio-identical or natural hormone replacement.

If you're worried that your sex drive might be less than it was before your hysterectomy or that your partner might not find you as appealing. Talk with other women who have had a hysterectomy. You may be surprised to learn that they still enjoy an active and satisfying sex life after hysterectomy. If you do experience a loss of sexual desire or low libido post-hysterectomy ask your doctor about testosterone replacement therapy.
See: Does Testosterone Improve Sex Drive? on our Voices of Hysterectomy Forum

Another important factor to consider is your age. Your potential emotional reaction to hysterectomy is often age-related. Generally, the older you are when you have a hysterectomy, the less emotional reactions you may have in front of you. This is especially true for younger women who have not started or completed their families. Sometimes doctors can find ways to help you manage your condition if you want to become pregnant before the surgery. However, if you need a hysterectomy due to cancer of your reproductive organs, it may not be possible to delay your surgery.

If you still want to have children and you're facing a hysterectomy that cannot be delayed ask your doctor about other alternative parenting options such as surrogacy, adoption, or foster parenting. It also is often helpful for women in this situation to talk with a therapist such as a social worker who can help you to cope, emotionally, with your need for hysterectomy.

As a treatment for noncancerous uterine conditions, hysterectomy is often improves the quality of life for most women. This is often due to the fact that pain or painful symptoms, as well as menstrual issues such as extreme menstrual problems are eliminated by hysterectomy. However, though uncommonly, some women feel worse following surgery and regret the decision to have an elective hysterectomy. Please note that hsterectomy performed for a reason other than cancer or severe bleeding that cannot be stopped by any other method are the only reasons for hysterectomy that are not considered elective surgery by insurance companies in the US.

Ask your doctor to help you sort out your options and weigh the pros and cons of hysterectomy as they relate to your situation. You also may want to talk this over carefully with your family or others who are close to you before making a decision.

You might want to ask your doctor or nurse about joining a support group before or after your surgery or recovery. Talking over your concerns with other women who have had this surgery is often helpful.

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Adapted from the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR)

More About Hysterectomy and Alternatives Updated 11/21/05

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