Surgical removal of the uterus and sometimes the cervix and supporting tissues is medically termed as hysterectomy. In the United States, hysterectomy is one of the most common non-pregnancy related surgeries that is performed on women. Life after hysterectomy brings about certain mental and physical changes which need to be dealt with utmost care.
Hysterectomy healing differs from patient to patient with the primary reason being the different approaches that are used for surgery and the reasons for it. For example, a person who has her uterus removed using laparoscopy will recover much faster compared to a person who has undergone an open hysterectomy in order to treat cancer of the uterus and ovaries.
After a hysterectomy most patients are discharged within 48 hours of surgery with a prescribed pain reliever. For normal cases recovery from hysterectomy is within 2 weeks of the surgery of course those who have had an open hysterectomy will require about 6 to 8 weeks to recover completely though even after that there may be some hysterectomy pain. Patients who have had an open hysterectomy are advised not to lift anything more than 10 pounds at least 6 weeks after the surgery.
Another important part of the hysterectomy aftercare includes the fact that patients should refrain from swimming and soaking in tub baths for at least 6 weeks after the surgery. Some discharge from the incision may be expected but in case of pus and heavy bleeding after hysterectomy it is advisable to consult the doctor.
Hysterectomy does provide relief from bleeding, abdominal bloating and pelvic pain but, there are some challenges also associated with it especially if the ovaries are removed. Menopause after hysterectomy results in hot flashes and mood swings. This is because your body is now trying to adjust to the changes wrought by the hormone levels. Vaginal dryness and changes in sexual desire may also become visible.
Some patients who have undergone a hysterectomy may also feel a sense of loss. This loss results from the fact that the uterus is gone and that they cannot have children. Cases of hysterectomy resulting from an illness and cancer can also leave the person depressed. These feelings are normal and can be dealt with by talking to a mental health therapist or a doctor. Of course some women are also happy after this procedure! Hysterectomy weight gain is also a common phenomenon as the person who has undergone the therapy is not involved in any physical activity during the healing period. This is not a cause for concern.
Some of the symptoms of hysterectomy can be eased with the help of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). While deciding on HRT some of the factors that need to be considered are - your age, medical history and the fact that whether the ovaries have been removed. It is important to consult a medical practitioner before you make the decision. Non-hormonal treatments are also available to treat blood pressure, pain, seizures and hot flashes.
Lubricants and moisturizers can be used to treat pain associated with intercourse after hysterectomy. To strengthen pelvic muscles in order to help control urinary incontinence problems one can do Kegel exercises.