When making major medical decisions, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Hysterectomy is a big decision and one that needs a lot of understanding and thought. That’s why we’ve created a gynaecologist’s guide to understanding the procedure.
This helpful guide provides women with insight into what a hysterectomy entails and how best to prepare for the operation after discussing it with their doctor. Our goal is to make sure all women feel comfortable, knowledgeable, and in control when making this often-challenging decision about their health care.
Read on for more information about what you need to know about the process of considering, preparing for, and undergoing a hysterectomy.
What is a Hysterectomy
A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that removes the uterus and cervix, the organ that holds and nourishes a developing foetus during pregnancy.
Depending on your condition and the reason for the procedure your doctor may perform a total hysterectomy and remove the ovaries and fallopian tubes also. Removing the fallopian tubes as part of a hysterectomy can also help reduce the risk of developing ovarian cancer.
There are different types of hysterectomies. Depending on your condition and the reason for the procedure your doctor may perform a total hysterectomy and remove the ovaries and fallopian tubes also.
However if just the ovaries are removed the surgery is known as an oophorectomy. If you have not yet become Menopausal, removing both ovaries would cause menopause, so your gynaecologist will usually try to avoid this if possible.
There are many reasons why someone may need a hysterectomy, including uterine fibroids, endometriosis, uterine prolapse, or cancer. While the procedure may sound intimidating, knowing what to expect can help put your mind at ease.
Typically, the surgery is performed under general anaesthesia, and will be one of three types based on the reason for the surgery and your general health. The three types include:
- Vaginal hysterectomy – where the uterus is removed through the vagina;
- Abdominal hysterectomy – where it is removed via a small incision in the abdomen;
- Laparoscopic hysterectomy – also known as keyhole surgery.
While recovery time varies from person to person, the vast majority of people are back to their daily activities within six weeks. If you think you may need a hysterectomy or have more questions about the procedure, it is always best to consult with your obstetrician/gynaecologist to discuss your options.
Remember that you are not alone, and there are many resources available to help you through this process.
Benefits & Risks
Hysterectomy surgery, like any major medical procedure, comes with both benefits and risks. For some women, this surgery may be necessary to treat conditions connected to their reproductive health, like endometriosis, fibroids, abnormal menopausal symptoms, pain or heavy uterine bleeding.
The benefits of a hysterectomy include reduced risk of developing certain types of cancer and relief from chronic pain or discomfort. However, like any surgery there are also potential risks such as infection and blood clots.
It’s important to remember that your gynaecologist will help you weigh the pros and cons of hysterectomy surgery carefully and to have a thorough discussion before making a decision. They will also be there to help manage any risks that may arise to ensure your surgery is as safe and pain-free as possible.
Preparing for Surgery
Going in for surgery can be daunting, but with the right preparation, you’ll feel more at ease. If you’re preparing for a hysterectomy surgery, there are a few steps you should take to ensure you’re ready.
First and foremost, schedule appointments with your doctor to discuss any concerns and questions you may have. They’ll also give you an overview of what to expect during and after the surgery.
Additionally, you’ll need to get pelvic exams and tests done to make sure you’re healthy enough for the procedure. Don’t worry, your doctor will guide you through this process too.
By outlining the steps needed to prepare for your hysterectomy, you can go into the procedure with confidence, knowing that you’ve taken all the necessary precautions.
What Happens After Your Surgery?
After your surgery, it’s natural to feel a little anxious about what comes next. But rest assured, with a little knowledge and preparation, you’ll be well on your way to a smooth and speedy recovery.
Recovery time varies from person to person, depending on the type of surgery and individual factors such as age and overall health. It’s important to give yourself plenty of time to rest and follow your doctor’s instructions carefully.
You may experience some potential side effects, such as pain, swelling, or fatigue, but these are typically temporary and can be managed with medication or other treatments.
Remember, your body has just gone through a major event, so be patient with yourself and trust that you’ll emerge stronger and healthier on the other side.
Resources & Support
Going through a hysterectomy can be a difficult experience for any woman. However, it doesn’t have to be faced alone.
There are many resources available that can provide women with the emotional support and additional information they need to navigate their journey. These include firstly your doctor, psychologists, Jean Hailes, Health Direct, and many more.
These resources can help women with everything from managing physical and emotional side effects to understanding the impact their decision may have on their relationships and sexuality.
By providing access to these resources, women can feel empowered and supported throughout their journey after having a hysterectomy.
Tips for Coping After Surgery
Going through hysterectomy surgery is no easy feat. It can bring about significant physical, emotional, and mental changes that can be overwhelming to cope with. However, it’s crucial to remember that you’re not alone in this journey.
There are ways to help make the process more manageable and less intimidating. One of the most important tips for coping with life after a hysterectomy is to prioritise rest and allow yourself time to recover fully.
Don’t hesitate to ask for help with household chores like lifting heavy objects, or other tasks that may be too challenging for you at first. It’s also essential to prioritise your mental and emotional health, whether it’s through talking to a therapist or getting support from your loved ones.
Remember to be kind to yourself during this time and give yourself grace as you navigate these changes.
A hysterectomy surgery is a very big decision, and there are dozens of questions that come with it.
By understanding the procedure, the benefits and risks associated with it, preparing for the surgery, and learning about recovery and side effects, any woman considering this procedure can have a better understanding of what to expect.
With reliable resources and helpful tips offered in this article, we hope to have provided you all the information you need related to hysterectomy.
It’s important to use these resources as well as seek information from other sources like doctors or obstetricians/gynaecologists when making this decision. We understand it’s an overwhelming situation but with the right info and support system, the path ahead can be made easier.
If you are looking for a trusted obstetrician/gynaecologist on the Sunshine Coast to consult with or complete your surgery, Dr Kelvin Larwood offers gynaecological consults and completes laparoscopic hysterectomies at Buderim Private Hospital.