One of the common side effects of a surgical removal of female sexual organs is hysterectomy weight gain. This occurs mainly due to the fall in levels of estrogen in the system; however there are several other reasons for this as well.
1. Hysterectomy weight gain is more likely to happen if a woman’s ovaries are removed along with her uterus, in what is termed as a radical hysterectomy. This sort of procedure is also known as surgical menopause and can bring about dramatic and sudden symptoms of menopause including weight gain.
Since estrogen production in the body plummets dramatically with the removal of the ovaries, the proportion of fat and muscle in the body undergoes changes, and a woman’s metabolism also undergoes significant changes.
Other symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mood swings, fatigue, and skin and hair changes are also typically noted as a result of the removal of the ovaries.
2. Even if the ovaries are left in place and just the uterus is removed, weight gain may still occur. There is one view that the ovaries go into ‘shock’ in a sense and stop procuring the hormones that they are supposed to, causing estrogen levels to drop and body fat proportion to rise.
3. Another reason why hysterectomy weight gain occurs is the fact that after surgery, recovery may take time and women are usually advised to abstain from strenuous activity. The resultant sedentary lifestyle may itself cause weight gain.
4. Yet another reason for the weight gain could be the physical out-pouching of the abdomen where the incision scar is located. Though the swelling will go down after a while, the area may never revert to its earlier flat state, so the slightly bigger belly may give the illusion of hysterectomy weight gain.
5. The emotional aspects of the surgery may mean that a woman can feel sad and anxious about the loss of her reproductive organs and may turn to comfort eating, which further exacerbates the weight gain after a hysterectomy.
What to do about hysterectomy weight gain.
Straight after the surgery, when a woman is advised rest and is asked to refrain from certain activities, she should proportionately cut down on the amount of calories she is consuming. This is particularly important if she was previously an active person who took regular exercise, because otherwise this sedentary period will likely pile on the pounds and in the 8 weeks that some recoveries may take, significant weight can be gained.
As soon as advisable, start to get active and exercise once again, and continue to eat healthy.
Engage in interesting activities and keep your mind busy so that the emotional melancholia that is associated with the loss of the reproductive organs doesn’t cause havoc. Emotional eating has a lot to do with the weight gain and a woman should watch out for it.
If however the hysterectomy weight gain is excessive and seems to be difficult to control, hormone therapy may be considered to keep it in check.