The Real Long-Term Effects of Having a Hysterectomy
Long-term effects of organ removal (in this case a woman's reproductive organs) isn't talked about enough, which is why I'm writing this article. And these effects can all manifest physically, mentally and emotionally in women.
And, being that hysterectomies are easily one of the top performed surgeries for women in the U.S these conversations should be had between doctors and their patients. Especially if women are to make more informed (and aligned) decisions about our bodies.
In fact, a hysterectomy is the SECOND most common surgery for women in the United States (after cesarean section), with approximately 500,000 hysterectomies performed yearly.
I believe ALL our organs are needed for our body to function optimally and that we should fight to keep them in-tact and in place.
What is a hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy is a common surgical procedure performed to treat different reproductive health conditions in western or allopathic medicine, and it involves the surgical removal of a woman's uterus (womb) and cervix. Depending on the reason for the surgery being performed, the fallopian tubes and ovaries may also be removed.
Why is a hysterectomy performed?
The main objective for a hysterectomy is to provide women relief from their unbearable symptoms of the condition which necessitated the surgery.
A hysterectomy is performed to treat conditions such as:
- Uterine fibroids
- Abnormal uterine bleeding
- Prolapsed uterus
- Uterine cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Endometrial cancer
- Some cases of cervical cancer
- Other conditions that can cause disabling levels of pain in the womb & emotional stress
What are the different types of hysterectomy?
There are different types of hysterectomies, depending on what other structures are removed along with the uterus.
Completete or Total Hysterectomy
- The most common type of hysterectomy performed on women
- This procedure includes the removal of the uterus as wells as the cervix
- Ovaries and fallopian tubes may or may not be removed
- It can be performed abdominally or vaginally
- If ovaries are removed, it is typically followed up with a hormone replacement protocol plan as the ovaries regulate hormones in a woman's body
- Removal of only the upper part of the uterus, leaving the cervix in place
- Ovaries may or may not be removed
- Removal of all of the uterus, cervix, the tissue on both sides of the cervix, and the upper part of the vagina
- Used to treat certain types of cancer, such as cervical cancer
- Fallopian tubes and ovaries may or may not be removed
The decision to remove the ovaries usually depends on the reason for the hysterectomy. Ovaries may be removed in some women to lower the risk for ovarian cancer. Ovaries are often left intact in women who are not at risk for ovarian cancer because they produce estrogen, which helps protect against conditions such as heart disease and osteoporosis.
What are the possible side-effects of having a hysterectomy?
The most noticable side effects of having your uterus removed that isn't talked about enough are:
- Pregnancy is no longer possible
- Interruption of natural menstual cycle
- Grief over loss of uterus/womb
- Menstrual period will stop
- Feelings of inadequacy
- Detachment from womanhood or femininity
- Low estrogen levels
- Menopausal symptoms (hot flashes, night sweats, sleep issues)
- Vaginal dryness
- Mood swings, anxiety or depression
- Urinary incontinence
- Reduced interest in sex (especially when ovaries are removed)
- Increased risk of other health issues (bone loss, osteoporosis, heart disease)
What I want you to consider...
Understand, that while hysterectomies may relieve you of your chronic pain, heavy menstrual bleeding, painful periods, endometriosis or fibroids symptoms, this surgical procedure does not address or solve the underlying issues that led to imbalance in the body to begin with.
And, surgery certainly doesn't guarantee that endometrios lesions and fibroid growth won't reappear or grow back. Which means that your reproductive healing journey should NOT start or stop at a hysterectomy.
Sadly, in worst case scenarios, hysterectomies are actually neccesary for some women. That's because things have gone on for far too long without being treated, or without efforts to make some real changes.
Lifestyle adjustments, nutrition, herbs, clearing your body's detox pathways and body work medicine is great pre and post care! And these areas should be your priority when deciding to truly heal. We must put in the work and relearn better ways to care for ourselves and our body.
Love and Health,