Total Hysterectomy Procedure: Side-effects & Recovery Time


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What is total hysterectomy?

Total hysterectomy is the most common type of hysterectomy that is performed and involves the removal of the entire uterus, including the cervix (the neck of the womb). 

Different surgical techniques or methods can be used to perform a total hysterectomy, such as:

Depending on the patient’s condition, the particular city in India in which the surgery is being performed, the facilities available in the hospital, and the method of hysterectomy, the cost of total hysterectomy can range between Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 2,30,000.

Laparoscopic hysterectomies are significantly more costly than abdominal hysterectomy

How is total hysterectomy performed?

The following steps are involved in the total hysterectomy procedure:

  1. At the outset, general anesthesia is administered by an anesthetist to keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. It is administered through an IV inserted into your vein. Either a mask is strapped to your nose and mouth or a tube is inserted into your throat to enable you to breathe easily. The tube may cause you to have a sore throat when you wake up.
  2. The next step involves the surgeon making an incision. The location and type of incision depend on the method or type of hysterectomy being performed i.e.:

    Abdominal Hysterectomy
    Vaginal Hysterectomy
    Laparoscope-Assisted Vaginal Hysterectomy
  3. Using thin instruments, the surgeon then separates the uterus and the cervix from the supporting ligaments and removes them through the incision.
  4. Once the uterus and the cervix are removed, the surgeon sutures the incision and covers it with a bandage. Bandages soaked with medicines may also be placed on your vaginal area.



Am I eligible for a total hysterectomy?

You are eligible for a total hysterectomy if you suffer from:

  • Cancer of the ovaries and uterus
  • Endometriosis
  • Large uterine fibroids
  • Chronic uterine infection
  • Severe pain associated with menopause
  • Intestinal or bladder blockage
  • Chronic pelvic pain

Please Note: Eligibility criteria for various medical procedures differs from patient to patient and depends on their general health, medical history, and medical conditions. Please consult a doctor to know more about your eligibility or ineligibility for any medical procedure. 

What risks will I face while undergoing the total hysterectomy procedure?

The risks of undergoing total hysterectomy include:

  • Pain
  • Infections occur in 10% of the patients
  • Anesthesia-related problems such as rapid breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Hair loss
  • Palpitations
  • Injury to genitourinary and gastrointestinal tract
  • Risks are higher in women who are obese or who have diabetes or high blood pressure.
  • Nerve injury

What are the disadvantages of total hysterectomy? 

The disadvantages of total hysterectomy are:

  • This procedure consumes more time.
  • If the doctor performing the surgery is not well experienced there is a higher risk of injury such as intestinal injury, urinary tract injury, ureteral injury etc.

What are the complications of total hysterectomy? 

The complications of total hysterectomy include:

  • Injury to nearby organs.
  • Blood clots in the legs or lungs.
  • Heavy bleeding may occur in some patients
  • Pain during sexual intercourse.
  • Loss of sexual desire (conversely some women experience a drastic improvement in their sex life)
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Weight gain
  • Inadvertently created fistula during surgery, which can cause urinary incontinence or urinary leakage
  • Stress urinary incontinence

What are the side effects of undergoing a radical hysterectomy?

A few side effects of total hysterectomy are:

  • Occasional spotting or pink discharge for up to about 6 weeks.
  • Hot flashes
  • Insomnia
  • Joint pain
  • Early menopause, if the ovaries are removed.
  • Weakness of the pelvic muscles and ligaments that support the vagina, bladder, and rectum.
  • Headache
  • Hair loss

How will I benefit after undergoing a total hysterectomy procedure?

The benefits of total hysterectomy are many. It: 

  • Eases abnormal bleeding
  • Treats urinary prolapse
  • Prevents the possibility of uterine cancer
  • Provides relief from endometriosis and all the related symptoms
  • Provides relief from uterine fibroids and all the related symptoms

What are the pre-procedure guidelines I should follow for a total hysterectomy? 

Preparation for a total hysterectomy typically involves several steps:

  • Physical examination to determine overall health
  • Pelvic exam
  • Blood and urine tests
  • Complete medical history discussion with your surgeon
  • You will be advised to stop smoking, if you smoke, for at least 6 weeks prior to the surgery since smoking can cause problems during the operation and can also delay the healing process
  • You will be advised to not drink and eat anything at least 12 hours prior to the procedure.
  • Your doctor may prescribe an enema or a laxative to empty your bowels thoroughly before the surgery
  • The doctor may prescribe some medicines prior to the surgery, which can reduce the risk of heavy bleeding during the surgery

  • A discussion with your anesthetist regarding the anesthesia to be administered to you and the effects.

What are post-operative guidelines I need to follow after undergoing a total hysterectomy procedure?

Some of the post-operative guidelines following a total hysterectomy are:

  • Overnight stay in the hospital for 1 to 2 days. You will be monitored for discomfort and given medications to prevent pain and infection.
  • Post the surgery, you should avoid lifting heavy weights or any form of strenuous physical activity for at least up to 6 weeks.
  • You need to avoid tub baths for at least 6 weeks after the surgery.
  • You may have to take a liquid diet temporarily.
  • A catheter will be inserted to allow the urine to drain. It will be removed the day after surgery.
  • Your incision will be covered with either surgical dressing or glue.
  • You may need to use sanitary napkins if vaginal bleeding occurs after a hysterectomy procedure and last for a few weeks.
  • After any surgery, constipation is a common problem due to the number of medicines and inactivity. Eating fruits and vegetables and drinking extra fluids may help you avoid constipation. And if that is not enough the doctor may prescribe a stool softener or a laxative.

What is the recovery period after undergoing a total hysterectomy procedure? 

The recovery period after a total hysterectomy is usually between six to eight weeks. 

Are the results of total hysterectomy permanent? 

There is no definite answer to this question, as the results of the surgery can vary from person to person. Some people may experience complete relief from their symptoms, while others may suffer from side effects. It will be wise to discuss your complete medical history with the doctor, and also get to know the risks involved for you personally, before taking a decision to undergo the procedure. 

How do I know if the total hysterectomy procedure I underwent is a success? 

Here again, the results vary from person to person. Ideally, if you are free from the earlier painful and discomforting symptoms, then quite obviously, the procedure has been a success for you. If you experience side effects after the procedure for prolonged periods, then you may need to consult with your doctor once again to understand the situation and opt for further treatments.

What are the alternatives to total hysterectomy? 

The alternatives to total hysterectomy include:

More Hysterectomy Related Topics 

People interested in this topic also read: 

Hysterectomy Procedures: Types, Costs, & Risks


Types of Hysterectomy


Methods/Techniques of Hysterectomy 

Related Topic

Endometriosis: Symptoms, and Treatment


In the Spotlight

 Here are some of the latest news on hysterectomy from India and around the world:

References

1. Silasi D. Robotic-Assisted Total Hysterectomy: Hysterectomy Techniques for the Large Uterus. 2018. Available at: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-22497-8_65. Accessed February 27, 2018.

2. Larsen M, Mikkelsen E, Jeppesen U, Svanholm H, Andersen B. The influence of total hysterectomy in a cervical cancer screening population: a register-based cross-sectional study. 2018. Available at: https://bmchealthservres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12913-017-2371-4. Accessed February 27, 2018.

3. Baltacı Göktas S, Gün I, Yıldız T, Sakar M, Caglayan S. The effect of total hysterectomy on sexual function and depression. 2018. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4485298/. Accessed February 27, 2018.

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Questions answered by trusted doctors

Verified User
Its been 20 days of total hysterectomy,but there is a vaginal bleeding even after taking tranexa,is it normal? all the reports are normal, the external as well the internal sutures are fine..what is the reason behind bleeding?
Dr. Neha Goyal
Reproductive Endocrinologist (Infertilty), Ahmedabad
Its mostly infection
Ask your doctor to take swab for culture
Mild bleeding is common due to suture dissolving
Verified User
I'm 20 years old , and I'm fed up of my menses.they are painful . i wanna do hysterectomy operation .But don't want to tell my parents about this.They won't allow me but the problem I'm suffering they cannot understand .
Dr. Astha Agarwal
Gynecologist, Ghaziabad
If u r hvng painful menstruation it could be due to endometriosis.
U need to do an ultrasound pelvis first to find the cause.
Also its not certain that hysterectomy will cure your pain.
There are lots of other medication n method that cn b used for pain reduction
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Did you know?

India's rate of hysterectomy is much lower than western countries

More than 22,000 Indian women aged between 15 and 49 out of 700,000 surveyed had undergone a hysterectomy, government data shows.

Reports of unnecessary hysterectomies in India are troubling

Women especially of poor and illiterate backgrounds are conned into surgeries mostly by quacks masquerading as doctors. Women who were seeking treatment for minor ailments were suggested hysterectomies and were also told their uterus is of use once they have babies, which is outrageously wrong and even harmful information.

Hysterectomies are mainly performed in the private sector

Two-thirds of the hysterectomies performed in India were done in the private sector and half of the women who underwent the procedure never went to school.

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