Most of us know that a hysterectomy is considered a serious operation not only because the surgery itself but also because of the side effects that it could have.
The side effects of hysterectomy can be very serious in themselves so it is advisable to weigh these against the benefits that a woman hopes to derive from having her uterus and in cases other reproductive organs as well removed.
The surgical side effects of hysterectomy
Firstly since this is major abdominal surgery, consider the fact that general anesthesia is administered which can be uncomfortable, and carries a certain amount of risk. There is also the possibility of an infection occurring due to surgery or the possibility of hemorrhage to consider.
In some cases, there could also be damage to nearby organs. Statistically, women who have undergone hysterectomy are likely to undergo another related surgery within two years.
Hospital stay may vary between 1 and 6 days depending upon the type of procedure that a woman undergoes; but “full recovery” may take as long as 6 to 12 months. Women may find that there are a number of activities that they may not be able to do for several months after surgery.
Hormonal side effects of hysterectomy
The sort of hysterectomy that removes the ovaries along with other reproductive organs is also known as surgical menopause, because this swiftly and suddenly brings about menopause for a woman.
Estrogen levels fall sharply due to this and women commonly experience hot flashes, vaginal dryness, tiredness and other menopause symptoms much more severely than they would have if they had reached menopause naturally.
Possible side effects of hysterectomy also include bone loss (osteoporosis) and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Increased incidence of bone fractures have been seen in women who have undergone the operation.
The hormonal disturbance caused by a hysterectomy could mean increased incidence of neurologic and mental disorders as well. Women find that their memory may not be what it used to be, they may find mood swings, and hysterical behavior whereas they are otherwise calm and collected persons.
Social and interpersonal impacts of a hysterectomy
These side effects of hysterectomy include physical changes as well as change in a woman’s feelings towards herself. The removal of the uterus marks the end of a woman’s reproductive life, and this can be difficult for many women to come to terms with.
Women may find that there is reduced interest in sex and reduced arousal and an inability to reach orgasm. The procedure also causes shortening of the vagina and vaginal dryness; intercourse could become painful which may impact intimate relationships of a woman.
Side effects of hysterectomy to the internal organs
Some side effects occur a long time after the procedure; perhaps 10 or 20 years after. There is known to be increased risk of urinary incontinence, and vaginal prolapse after removal of the uterus. There is a loss of support for the bladder as well as the bowel so women could experience digestive disturbances.