In order to understand the pros and cons of hysterectomy we need to first understand why it is performed and where it is performed. Hysterectomy is basically the removal of uterus and/ or other reproductive organs of the female reproductive system. It can either be the entire reproductive system including uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries etc. or simply one of the organs depending on the need. The surgery where only ovaries are removed is called oophorectomy. Now hysterectomy is done for various reasons, some of which are uterine cancer, fibroids, abnormal incidences of vaginal bleeding, abnormal thickening of uterine wall etc.
The different types of hysterectomy surgery performed are supracervical hysterectomy where only the upper portion of uterus is removed keeping the lower cervix region as it is; next is total hysterectomy which as the name suggests is complete removal of uterus along with cervix and Radical hysterectomy which is mostly done in case of cancer where the entire uterus its neighbouring tissues cervix and vagina, everything is removed. These kinds of surgeries are either open surgeries where 6-7 inch incision is made and uterus is removed. Alternatively other variations in hysterectomy are laparoscopic surgery or robot assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy etc. which involve minimal incisions.
Now that we have a fair idea about what hysterectomy is all about, let us have a look at the side effects of hysterectomy. The side effects for different organ specific surgeries are different.
We Will Be Discussing The General Side Effects In This Article:
The incisions and surgery procedure result in pain; however this goes off in couple of weeks. The intensity of pain depends on type and area of surgery. Your doctor will ideally prescribe a course of painkillers to manage any pain after hysterectomy.
The body is under stress of surgery and trauma, and that is why patients experience incidences of fever. This can happen till 3-4 weeks after surgery and usually gets resolved on its own.
Chances Of Injury To Neighbouring Organs
This usually doesn’t happen and the chance of injuring other organs is low. But there are cases reported in history of other organs getting affected usually in a open abdomen surgery.
The incisions and stitches usually tend to heal gradually without any trouble, but in some patients the unhealed or improperly healed incisions lead to bacteria build up causing infections and pus formation. This infection also spreads to other areas if not detected timely and cause serious side effects.
Moderate To Heavy Bleeding
Post surgery many patients experience vaginal bleeding. The intensity of bleeding varies from being moderate to very heavy. This usually lessens in few weeks, but if that doesn’t happen please consult your doctor.
Discomfort And Pain During Sexual Intercourse
Till the time the incisions and stitches are completely healed which takes about 6-7 weeks indulging in sexual intercourse must be avoided. Even after 6 weeks patients experience pain and discomfort in the private parts while having sex.
Possibility Of Reaching Menopause Early
When the ovaries are involved there is lot of hormonal imbalance and the patient attains menopause early. Even when ovaries are not involved in hysterectomy it is seen that patients attain menopause early as compared to other females.
Cessation Of Menstruation
The uterus is removed in most cases and this is the main reason of menstruation getting affected. This further leads to hormonal imbalance and other sexual issues in some cases.
In patients where cervix and vagina are operated, the feeling of sexual pleasure is reduced and they experience a loss in libido. Also the pain, vaginal discharge and discomfort associated with the surgery contribute to decrease in sexual desire thus affecting sex life.
Changes In Bladder And Bowel Behaviour
Many patients experience changes in bladder and bowel behaviour after hysterectomy. Symptoms like constipation, urinary tract infection, frequent urination etc. are commonly seen.
Chances Of Developing Ovarian Cancer
In cases of hysterectomy where the ovaries are not removed there are 8-10% chances of developing ovarian cancer. However the incidences of ovarian cancer seen are very low.
Due to a number of factors like decreased sexual desire, vaginal bleeding, discomfort, pain, stay in the hospital, loss of menstruation, hormonal imbalance etc. the patient undergoes a number of psychological changes. These changes are depression, anxiety, state of apathy etc. In such cases it is advised that the partner should support the patient. Also consulting a psychiatrist is equally important.
Although hysterectomy is beneficial in large number of cases, it has its side effects also. There are alternative therapies which are condition specific. If you do not desire to undergo a hysterectomy, consult a surgeon or an expert for other options.