Demystifying Hysterectomy Part III: Risks and Benefits

May 17, 2010 at 6:32 pm 3 comments

Having a hysterectomy means that you will no longer have the ability to bear children.  It also means you should no longer experience menstrual bleeding (although you may experience other cyclic changes depending upon whether you still have ovaries).  Hysterectomy alone (ie without removal of or damage to the ovaries) does not result in menopause.  However, hormonal changes after hysterectomy are possible. 

Many women are concerned that removal of the uterus will adversely affect their sexual functioning and satisfaction.  There are no studies demonstrating that hysterectomy (with or without removal of the cervix) has a negative effect on patients’ sex lives.  Neither the uterus nor cervix itself contributes to vaginal lubrication or orgasmic response. Most patients’ male partners can not detect the presence or absence of a uterus or cervix and among those who can, few feel that it impacts their experience during intercourse.  Therefore, the best predictor of sexual satisfaction and functioning after hysterectomy is your sexual satisfaction and functioning prior to surgery.

You should discuss these concerns with your gynecologist before considering any kind of surgery to remove all or part of your uterus.

Complications from hysterectomy are uncommon but can be serious.  Although it is impossible to predict or list every possible problem, these infrequent complications may include infection, bleeding, thromboembolic events (blood clots), injury to adjacent organs, bladder or bowel dysfunction, nerve injury, postoperative pain, and anesthesia complications.  You should talk to your doctor about the possible complications of any treatment you consider undergoing.

Hysterectomy is permanent.  Even when performed via minimally invasive techniques, it is still a major surgery. 

Other options for managing certain gynecologic conditions may be appropriate.  These options may include expectant management (watchful waiting), therapy with hormonal or other types of medication, the use of interventional radiology (uterine artery embolization), targeted ultrasound ablation, or other fertility-sparing surgical procedures (myomectomy, ablation of endometrium or endometriosis).

The choice of whether hysterectomy is the right option for you depends on a number of factors.  Talk to your doctor about your condition and all of your options when considering hysterectomy as part of a treatment plan.

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Entry filed under: Gynecology, Minimally Invasive Surgery. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Demystifying Hysterectomy Part II: “How and why is hysterectomy performed?” Abstinence: The world’s oldest form of contraception

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. rocketninja.com  |  July 3, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    Just want to say your article is as astonishing. The clearness in your post is simply excellent and i
    could assume you are an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission allow me to grab your RSS
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  • 2. Anonymous  |  October 17, 2016 at 1:01 am

    Your articles are informative and hilarious!

    Doc, have you disappeared?

    I have crazy periods due to being perimenopausal and on a ton of meds for MS (don’t worry, educated enough to know that asking for medical advice on the internet in a public forum is insanely stupid).

    I mention this because my gynaecologist has mentioned ablation as a possible solution.

    I see in this particular article you mention some alternatives to hysterectomy (hysteria…they really should come up with another name for it…jeez…SCIENCE) but I haven’t seen any articles on these alternatives.

    I’d really like to read what you have to say on these issues.

    And, if you throw some Ryan Gosling Tiramisu jokes in there, I won’t say no.

    Best,

    Another blood tsunami sufferer

    Reply
    • 3. drnicoll  |  October 25, 2016 at 2:53 pm

      Hi there! You know what? You’re right. Thanks for inspiring the next article! I’ll get to work on a piece about alternatives to hysterectomy.
      -Dr N

      Reply

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Linda M. Nicoll, MD

Welcome to my blog! Here you will find information about minimally invasive gynecologic surgery as well as some more general information about common gynecologic disorders such as endometriosis, ovarian cysts, fibroids, infertility, and pelvic pain.

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