The Potential Side-Effects of a Hysterectomy

Hysterectomy Side Effects Can Resemble Menopause

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The side effects you experience after having a hysterectomy depends on a number of things, including:

If you were still having periods before surgery, they will stop after the operation because the surgeon will remove your uterus no matter which type of hysterectomy you have.

If the surgeon doesn't remove your ovaries, you will continue to have normal, monthly hormonal changes like you did with your periods, but you won't need a tampon or pad because you won't have any menstrual flow.

Even though your ovaries remain intact, many women go through menopause a few years earlier than they normally would have.

If the surgeon removes your ovaries, you're having a procedure called a hysterectomy with double oophorectomy. After the operation, your body will go through the natural changes of menopause. This is called surgical menopause or induced menopause.

Symptoms of surgical menopause are similar to regular menopause and may include:

After the surgery, your physician will tell you how long you should take off from work. The length of time will depend on your health condition and what type of hysterectomy you had. You will need help with routine activities such as child care, shopping, and housework.

Side Effects of Hysterectomy

Hysterectomy is one of the most common surgeries for women and is frequently an elective procedure. The American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology (AAOC) considers this procedure a treatment of last resort and strongly recommends getting a second opinion before making your final decision.

The ACOC urges women to consider all of the potential side effects, some of which we list here:

Sexual Issues

Sex might be different for you after hysterectomy. While many women find their sex life improves or stays the same after hysterectomy, some experience decreased desire, a decrease in frequency and intensity of orgasms, and pain during intercourse.

The Boston University School of Medicine reports that of the 1,200 women seen post-hysterectomy, "very few" patients reported sexual dysfunction, but emphasizes this topic requires more research. Some data analysis reveals that women who kept their cervix had no functional loss, but those who underwent cervix removal reported sexual dysfunction.

Effects of Anesthesia

The doctor will give you anesthesia so you will not feel pain during the operation. You may feel moody, tired, or weak for a few days after anesthesia. You also may feel a little sick to your stomach (nausea) after anesthesia. The doctor can give you something to help settle your stomach.

Excessive Bleeding

There is always a risk that you might bleed too much during an operation and need a transfusion. Ask your doctor if you should donate some of your own blood before the operation or if someone should give blood for you.

Other Side-Effects

​Studies have shown that for a small number of women, hysterectomy may be followed by one of more of the following problems:

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Sources:

Agency for Health Care Policy and Research: Health Services Research on Hysterectomy and Alternatives

Boston University School of Medicine: Sexual Dysfunction After Hysterectomy

Mayo Clinic: Menstrual Cramps (2014)

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