ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Hysterectomy, a procedure to remove the uterus, is the second most common surgery among women in the US after cesarean delivery, and thanks to advances in technology, having a hysterectomy has become less invasive than it used to be. Recovery time has improved, but the procedure can still take a toll on your body. Ivanhoe has tips for a faster recovery.
Whether you’re having a vaginal or abdominal hysterectomy there’s one thing you’ll want to ask your doctor before surgery.
Dwight Im, MD, a gynecologic oncologist at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, said “You want to ask your doctor, are you going to cut me open or, if possible, can you just have a few small holes because it will make a huge difference in terms of my recovering.”
It usually takes three to six weeks to fully recover, but you’ll want to get up and walk around as soon as you can to prevent dangerous blood clots.
Because you’re also at an increased risk for hernia you should not lift anything heavier than 20 pounds and avoid abdominal exercises for at least a month.
If you haven’t gone through menopause you will probably begin having symptoms like hot flashes and mood swings. One study found eating foods that contain phyto-estrogens, like edamame, tofu and whole grains, may help prevent conditions related to loss of estrogen.
Perhaps one of the worst parts about the procedure is the constipation. Doctors say to stay well-hydrated and use a stool softener.
After a hysterectomy, you may feel happier and relieved to no longer be feeling any pain, but some women also experience depression related to the loss of fertility.
Contributors to this news report include: Jessica Sanchez, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.
RECOVERING FROM A HYSTERECTOMY
BACKGROUND: A hysterectomy is an operation to remove a woman’s uterus, for a variety of reasons. Uterine fibroids (benign lumps that grow on the uterus and cause heavy periods, cramping, painful sex, and an urge to urinate), uterine prolapse (a sliding of the uterus from its normal position into the vaginal canal), vaginal bleeding, Endometriosis, adenomyosis, chronic pelvic pain, or cancer in the ovaries, uterus, or cervix, are all ailments that can be solved by getting a hysterectomy. Depending on the reason for the hysterectomy, a surgeon may choose to remove all or only part of the uterus. In a supracervial or subtotal hysterectomy, a surgeon removes only the upper part of the uterus, keeping the cervix in place. A total hysterectomy removes the whole uterus and cervix. In a radical hysterectomy, a surgeon removes the whole uterus, tissue on the sides of the uterus, the cervix, and the top part of the vagina. Radical hysterectomy is generally only done when cancer is present. There are two approaches for hysterectomies depending on the reason for the surgery and the surgeon’s experience. There is a traditional or open surgery and surgery using a minimally invasive procedure or MIP.
RECOVERY: Recovery from a hysterectomy depends on the type of surgery that you have. After an abdominal hysterectomy most women go home within 2-3 days, but a complete recovery takes from six to eight weeks while resting at home. Walking is encouraged, but there should be no heavy lifting or abdominal exercises. A vaginal or laparoscopic assisted vaginal hysterectomy (LAVH) is less surgically invasive than an abdominal procedure, and recovery can be as short as two weeks. It is important to abstain from sex for at least six weeks. Laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy (LSH) is the least invasive and can have a recovery period as short as six days to two weeks. Walking is encouraged, but not heavy lifting. After a hysterectomy, most women feel better because of the relief from their painful symptoms, and may have greater libido.
EMOTIONAL SIDE EFFECTS: While some women feel happier after their hysterectomy, some develop depression. It is normal to be sad after a surgery but once you start recovering and returning to your normal activities, the negative feelings should dissipate. For some women it becomes more deep-seated as they mourn the loss of their fertility. Fatigue is a common aftereffect of a hysterectomy but should pass in a few weeks. If symptoms such as anxiety, loss of self-esteem, isolating oneself, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, self-harm, or thoughts of suicide occur, then you should talk to your doctor to find a recovery plan that works for you.
* For More Information, Contact:
Free weekly e-mail on Medical Breakthroughs from Ivanhoe. To sign up: http://www.ivanhoe.com/ftk