Hysterectomy

There are 2 types…

Partial Hysterectomy

The removal of your uterus (womb) but not your ovaries.

It won’t cause you to go into immediate menopause, you’ll no longer have any periods and can’t become pregnant.

Even if you’ve one ovary, this will still be releasing eggs and producing hormones (oestrogen and progesterone) and why you don’t normally suffer from symptoms. But there’s a chance that you’ll experience the menopause within 5 years of the operation.

Hormone levels decrease after the menopause, but your ovaries will continue to produce testosterone for up to 20 years. This can diminish and researchers are finding links that this affects women’s loss of libido.

Doctors might recommend removing your ovaries during a hysterectomy as this lowers the risk of ovarian cancer and also removes the need for a woman to possibly have another operation to remove her ovaries at a later date. But removing the ovaries may increase the risk of osteoporosis or heart disease.

Why a Partial Hysterectomy?

  • Usually due to a benign problem such as uterine fibroids, so only the uterus (womb) is removed because the ovaries will still be healthy. 

Total Hysterectomy

Removes both your uterus (womb) and your ovaries – your periods will stop immediately and the production of oestrogen and progesterone. That’s why you’ll go into immediate menopause and a lot of your symptoms can come all at once. 

The more you’re prepared for this, the better, so you’ll know how to cope and your options with dealing with symptoms, either naturally or with Hormone Replacement Therapy – see section on HRT.

Why a Total Hysterectomy?

  • You’re having very heavy periods that can be as a result of having fibroids.
  • Your uterus has prolapsed (slipped into your birth canal).
  • Pelvic Pain, maybe due to fibroids, adenomyosis, endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) where treatment wasn’t successful.
  • Cancer of your ovaries, womb or cervix.

How Long is Recovery?

  • 2-3 days in hospital
  • Pain from the operation and internal healing, about 3-5 weeks
  • Complete recovery 6-8 weeks
  • Lots of rest, no heavy lifting, standing on your feet too long, or housework (yay)
  • Same for a partial hysterectomy but the pain time is 2-3 weeks
  • Recovery time will be shorter
  • No sex until your scars have healed or vaginal discharge stopped (4-6 weeks)
  • Not recommended to drive for around 6 weeks (if you can’t do an emergency stop, you will be uninsured to drive!).