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I have to go for a hysterectomy this year. Am I going to start going through menopause right away after the surgery? What should I expect. I am only 25 years old going on 26 this summer and this was pretty unexpected news for me.

By June 10, 2011 - 3:30am
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I agree with much of your do's and don'ts after the surgery.
However, I do not agree with your statement "If you had a good sex life before hysterectomy, you'll maintain it afterward." Women who experienced uterine contractions with orgasm will not experience them without a uterus.

Also, when a hysterectomy is performed the vagina is shortened, made into a closed pocket, sutured shut at the top of the vagina. There is a loss of the normal elasticity of the vaginal tissue after hysterectomy.

June 12, 2011 - 8:43pm
(reply to norawcoffey)

Have you had a hysterectomy?

June 16, 2011 - 2:52am
(reply to Melissa G)

Hi Melissa, yes to both of your questions, my first reply was to Rosa, and yes I underwent a hysterectomy when I was 36 years old. At the time I was a research assistant at the U of Pennsylvania. I got five opinions that agreed on a diagnosis, which turned out to be wrong, and I asked good questions, but I had no way of knowing that the answers I received were wrong. If there is such a thing as a self-fulfilling prophecy, I would have been fine. I believed what doctors told me, and I expected to be not only the same, but to be better because I would be free of my debilitating extremely heavy bleeding and moderate pain. After the surgery when I experienced many unexpected physical changes, including the loss of physical sexual sensation and loss of uterine orgasm, I realized that could not be the only woman experiencing these dramatic changes. The mother of three young children, working full time and going to school full time in the evening, I realized that to do the research necessary to find out why i was experiencing many life altering changes, I needed to quit my job and school and devote my full time and attention to researching the medical literature. I spent every day for two years at the U of P medical library, and read every medical journal article and textbook about hysterectomy. I was astonished to find that what I was experiencing was common, and was well documented in medical literature as long as a century ago. Yet not one doctor acknowledged that what I was experiencing was common and expected. I could not undo my surgery, but I knew that what I had learned could help other women become fully informed if hysterectomy was recommended to them. I established the Hysterectomy Educational Resources and Services (HERS) Foundation, which has counseled over 900,000 women. Every woman has a right to know before she signs a form consenting to hysterectomy what the consequences of the surgery are. If you have not already done so, watch the short video "Female Anatomy: the Functions of the Female Organs" at hersfoundation.org/anatomy.

The heavy bleeding with blood clots are typical of submucosal fibroids. Has an ultrasound shown if you have fibroids?

June 16, 2011 - 9:46am
(reply to norawcoffey)

Hi norawcoffey, I have an ultra sound coming up, and I have had several in the past but not one doctor or anyone said anything about fibroids. I will look up submucosal fibroids. I really wanna thank you for this. Giving me some things to look into other than what I have and have asked the questions that i did and everything else. So far I have been through so many tests and been given tons of different pills to "help control and regulate" my periods, take away the pain and swelling, reduce blood clots. All of my 20's have been this way. The reason i am/was listening to my doctors is because it's been getting worse. There are days that I can not physically move around from the pain. And for me I can not have that. My children are 6 and a half and almost 5. I need to be mobile for them especially. But i want to be mobile and pain free, problem free and i dont want to miss work anymore because of my periods. I go through a min of 90 pads in a 7 day period having to change my pads almost every hour. That lasts from start until the last day where it slows down approx 8 hours before i am finished. I just wish i could be like most women 3-4 day period. moderate to mild cramps, little to no blood clots and not all the extra pain and swelling in between. Also it would be nice to be able to make love to my fiancee and not have to stop him all the time or say no completely. At this point the doctors have "tried everything else" that did not require surgery. So they say. They said that burning the lining would not help either.

June 16, 2011 - 11:51am
(reply to norawcoffey)

that was not my statement. I assume that this is directed at Rosa.

June 16, 2011 - 2:51am

Melissa, what is the reason that you are going to undergo a hysterectomy? What is your medical problem/diagnosis?

June 12, 2011 - 8:39pm
(reply to norawcoffey)

hello norawcoffey, I never healed right after the birth of my son. I was not able to push out the after birth with either of my children. For the past 5 years I have been in constant pain. Sex hurts most of the time, My pain spikes at least 2 times a month causing me to swell up to the point where i look pregnant again. my periods are never less then 5 days long and i have not had a period in 5 years that have not had blood clots. most of them are quite large. They are large enough that they even tested me for cervical cancer which thankfully tested negative. To be honest when my pain spikes it's much like being in full blown labor. Which i know how that feels as I did not have any pain medication with my labors.

June 16, 2011 - 2:48am

Hi Melissa,
Considering your past surgical experience and having to undergo a hysterectomy as such a young age, it is very understandable that you are anxious. To best answer your question-- experiencing menopause immediately following surgery depends on what is actually removed.
If only the uterus is removed, no-- you will not go through the final change.
If your ovaries are removed, yes, you will experience the changes associated with menopause. The ovaries release the hormones, estrogen and progesterone. The symptoms of menopause are caused by the fluctuation in these hormone levels. Following the surgical removal of the ovaries, estrogen levels may drop suddenly.
I don't want to overwhelm you with too much information. But if you would like to know what the symptoms of menopause are, please contact us.

June 10, 2011 - 4:58pm
(reply to Maryann Gromisch RN)

Hi Maryann, ty that does help lots. My doctor said that he will only be removing my uterus.

June 16, 2011 - 2:31am

Hi Melissa,

I am sorry to hear that you'll be going through a hysterectomy at such a young age-- we, here at EmpowHer, will keep you in our thoughts.

After the hysterectomy
After surgery, you'll remain in the recovery room for a few hours. You'll be monitored for signs of pain. You'll be given medicine for pain and to prevent infection. You'll probably be up and walking around by the following day. Abdominal hysterectomy usually requires a hospital stay of one to two days, but it could be up to four days.

You'll need to use sanitary pads for vaginal bleeding and discharge. It's normal to have bloody vaginal drainage for several days after a hysterectomy. However, let your surgeon know if you experience heavy vaginal bleeding — such bleeding that's as heavy as a menstrual period.

The abdominal incision will gradually heal, but a visible scar on your abdomen will remain.

Recovering from a hysterectomy
It takes time to get back to your usual self after an abdominal hysterectomy — about six to eight weeks for most women.

During that time:
Get plenty of rest.
Don't lift anything heavy for a full six weeks after the operation.
Wait about six weeks to resume sexual activity.
Follow your doctor's recommendations about returning to your other normal activities.
Life after a hysterectomy
A hysterectomy permanently changes some aspects of your life.

For instance:
You'll no longer have menstrual periods.
Most of the time, you'll get relief from the symptoms that made your surgery necessary.
You won't be able to become pregnant.
If you're premenopausal, having your ovaries removed along with hysterectomy initiates menopause.
If you have a hysterectomy before menopause and you keep your ovaries, you may experience menopause at a younger than average age.

If you have a partial hysterectomy, your cervix remains in place so you're still at risk of cervical cancer. You need regular Pap tests to screen for cervical cancer.
Other parts of your life will return to normal or perhaps improve once you've recovered from your hysterectomy. For example:

If you had a good sex life before hysterectomy, you'll maintain it afterward. Some women even experience an increase in sexual pleasure. This may be due to relief from the chronic pain or heavy bleeding that was caused by a uterine problem.
The relief of symptoms may greatly enhance your quality of life. You may have an improved sense of well-being and a chance to get on with your life.

On the other hand, because the uterus is strongly associated with femininity, you may feel a sense of loss after hysterectomy. Premenopausal women who must undergo hysterectomy to treat gynecological cancer may experience grief and possibly depression over the loss of fertility.


All the best,


June 10, 2011 - 7:28am
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