Any Advice from Women who've had a Hysterectomy

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  1. KCC Big Country profile image84
    KCC Big Countryposted 14 years ago

    I'm having a full hysterectomy on Monday and wondered what advice others have regarding recovery, hormonal issues, etc.

    It's not something I'm nervous about at all.  In fact, I'm very much looking forward to it.  I have yet to meet someone who advices against it.  Everyone I've talked to that has had it done swears it's the best thing that ever happened to them.

    I had been having lower left back pain for awhile and heavier than normal menstrual periods.  I went to my regular doctor who decided to run a round of bloodwork, an ultrasound and a CT-scan.  All confirmed an ovarian cyst.  I was referred to my OB/GYN who recommended the hysterectomy since I'm so near menopausal age and it eliminates future problems with the ovaries and uterus and cervix.  An additional bloodtest (CA-125) has put me in the "virtually impossible" category for the cyst to be cancerous. 

    I've had two C-sections and a full-incision gall bladder surgery before, so I understand the incision pain.  I guess my biggest uncertainty is the hormonal part.

    The doctor says I will wake up in recovery with a hormone patch.  He says it's important to start hormonal replacement within 4 hours of removing the ovaries.  He said I may be on the replacement therapy for as long as 5 years.

    1. ndahse profile image60
      ndahseposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      A hysterectomy used to be considered as life altering as death. However, some people have grown up and it is now a medical procedure like some others, ie having your tubes tied or a male getting a vasectomy ... its a way to solve a medical problem and 'put a damper' on reproduction.

      Women are not suddenly rendered more masculine or undesireable ... they just no longer have a uterus. 

      HRT is a good idea and adding soy to the diet (if you are not allergic) helps a lot. Plant estrogens are in the soy products, supplements, soy milk, soy powder, ground beef with soy, etc and they actually taste pretty good. 

      The best part is the feeling of freedom that not having to look at that 'purple box' again and/or never having to feel another tampon brings after a while. 

      You will still be a whole person, never let anyone tell you anything different and if they don't know ... don't tell them.  It saves having to hear unfeeling comments and it cuts way down on the explanations to uninvolved parties.

      I am 62 years young and have not seen 'the box' since I was 25.  I have learned a new language, gotten a degree, travelled, written a short story, gardened and done anything else I wanted to do.

      Don't let it stand in your way.

      Oh, btw, if they say rest, do lots of it.  I didn't sweep the floor for a full year ... gave myself time to heal and never worried if there was work that took longer until the healing was done.

      Do the same.

  2. Cagsil profile image69
    Cagsilposted 14 years ago

    Hey KCC, at your present age, it would not have that much of an affect/effect, either hormones or emotions.

    Now, since I'm guessing your age, which is about maybe my age(41) or maybe a little older, then there is a reason why they are suggesting it. In the long-term it is best for your body.

    My mother had one done after I was born, she was 21, and this was in 1968. However, she spent most of her life on medication that was a must have to control estrogen levels and maintain emotional support/stability. She is off it now at 63 years of age and has been since her mid 50's.

    Hope that helped.

    Btw- my mother said is was the best thing to have happened to her. It guarantees to eliminate monthly periods and having more children(accidents lol ).

  3. KCC Big Country profile image84
    KCC Big Countryposted 14 years ago

    I'll be 48 later this year.  I had my tubes tied right after having my daughter back in ' the accidents part has long been a non-issue....although there have been a few mega big accidents slip through on those too of course.  The 'no more periods' is a HUGE plus for any woman at any age.

    1. Cagsil profile image69
      Cagsilposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      My mother had her tubes tied and burnt. Later developed complications which forced the surgery. hmm

  4. KCC Big Country profile image84
    KCC Big Countryposted 14 years ago

    I knew it must have been something pretty drastic for them to do one on her at that young of an age.

    1. Cagsil profile image69
      Cagsilposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      At the time, it was almost unheard of to do, unless it threatened her life, which it did.

  5. KCC Big Country profile image84
    KCC Big Countryposted 14 years ago

    Glad it worked out ok for her.  So she spent 30+ years on hormone replacement therapy.  There are evidently lots of options nowadays and I'm hoping I'll be matched up with a good one.  I don't want to run off all my friends and family.  LOL

    1. Cagsil profile image69
      Cagsilposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      It helped her go through a mid-life crisis without an issue. However, she was also taking longer than she had to too. A doctor, a new doctor, told her that there wasn't a need for the medication she was on, after she turned 50 and he saw her for the first time, when she was 55. So, she ended up taking for 5 more years than needed. Talk about medical abuse of the system, if you know what I mean.
      You most likely won't be on it long, because of your age, but please be aware of my mom's example. Do not only trust your doctor, secondary opinions are always good.

  6. KCC Big Country profile image84
    KCC Big Countryposted 14 years ago

    I really like my doctor.  He has been my OB/GYN since the 80s and saw me through both pregnancies.  Funny enough he was out of town both times I delivered though.  He now shares a practice with the doctor who delivered my first child.  This same doctor will be assisting him on my surgery on Monday.  He's been very very very informative about all of this.  We sat and talked for probably an hour and a half the first time a few months ago and another hour on Thursday.

    1. Cagsil profile image69
      Cagsilposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      I'm glad to hear it. I just wanted to share the experiences I've been a witness to, with regards to what you asked about. Grant it, I have no first hand experience, because I am a man, but watching my mother all of my life, allows me a little insight to more then just the surgery itself, such as doctors and their methods.

      Myself, I am never keen on going to the doctors, because I feel as though they are not worthy of trust. Especially, with much of what is happening within mainstream society, as a whole.

      That plays a lot into what, who, when, how and why- into my knowing. wink big_smile

      I hoped I was helpful. smile

  7. KCC Big Country profile image84
    KCC Big Countryposted 14 years ago

    You've been very helpful, as always, Cagsil.  Guys actually may have more insight into how it affected their wives and mothers than the women themselves.  smile

    I'm sorry you don't trust the doctors.  My regular doctor is also someone I trust.  I've been going to him since I was 18 years old.  I don't want to ever have to start over with doctors, but I'm assuming some day I will.

    1. Cagsil profile image69
      Cagsilposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      It appears that only you and I are having this conversation.

      I wonder why that is? Hmmmm...... lol

  8. KCC Big Country profile image84
    KCC Big Countryposted 14 years ago

    LOL....guess it's not the kind of topic people want to discuss on a Saturday night.  LOL

    1. Cagsil profile image69
      Cagsilposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      I guess not. Interesting though.... smile

  9. KCC Big Country profile image84
    KCC Big Countryposted 14 years ago

    Sorry to bump my own thread, but I'm still hopeful there is some good advice out there from women who've had a full hysterectomy.

  10. profile image0
    kimberlyslyricsposted 14 years ago

    god luck KCC I'm glad you are approaching this with a great attitude.

    I wasn't 30 when I had a full hysterectomy due to endometriosis

    It was not the best thing that ever happened to me

    no option for children

    though medicated i could not avoid the emotional and physical side effects of such a drastic body change

    a woman is suppose to have these organs and menstruate for a reason

    i am 43 now and live with it in acceptance

    i was too young

    but in retrospect saved my life

    so who am i to bitch?

    be well

    best of luck [which u dont need]


  11. KCC Big Country profile image84
    KCC Big Countryposted 14 years ago

    Thank you Kimberly.  30 is a tough time to have to deal with it, but you're right, you needed it to save your life. I'm sorry it had so many levels of pain for you.

    I'm hoping my age will help decrease the severity of the side effects. 

    Thanks for stopping by and letting me know about your experience with it.

  12. h.a.borcich profile image61
    h.a.borcichposted 14 years ago

    Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is not for every woman. It has significant risks and the method in which it is made causes more than a few women to refuse it. Google it and you will see.
    I have a friend who used soy patches for many years and was happy.
    Personally I have been refused HRT due to th cancer risk. Nor have I used the soy patches. I had my full hysterectomy in my 30's. I was afraid of losing my estrogen and about 6 weeks after the surgery - I literally felt it leave my body. Then the hot flashes and night sweats started. It took a few years for it to settle down. It wasn't easy but it is doable. And I do not regret the hysterectomy.
      May I ask why the option of leaving you one ovary isn't available?
      Take care amd God bless, Holly

  13. KCC Big Country profile image84
    KCC Big Countryposted 14 years ago

    All options are available to me.  He could simply go in and remove the cyst and leave everything in tact.  However, my doc said it's very likely for another cyst to form and they'd have to go back in and do it again at a later date.  Vaginal removal is not an option with me so each time would require the full belly button to pubic hairline cut and 6 wks of recovery.  You also can't get cancer in organs that are no longer there.  Complete removal was the option recommended.

    You're the first person to mention refusing HRT and suffering through it. 

    Thanks for sharing, Holly.

    1. h.a.borcich profile image61
      h.a.borcichposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Good luck to you! Glad you have done research and are thinking this through , Holly

  14. Jennifer Lynch profile image67
    Jennifer Lynchposted 14 years ago

    I had a hysterectomy at the age of 35 due to a double prolapse.  I don't regret it at all.  It was the best thing I ever did and gave me back my health and life.  I didn't have my ovaries removed but did still have fluctuating hormones after the operation for about a year.  I managed to work my way through it by going on the patch and then weening myself off.  I decided I was too young then for HRT.  Going through the menopause now at 47 and suffering a lot of hot flushes but oh well.  Going to try all the natural methods first and currently on Yam root, it is helping but definitely the best help is a fan in the bedroom at night!  Good luck with the operation and stay positive it is far better than suffering pain.

    1. profile image0
      4youreyesposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      I had a complete hysterectomy  at the age of 27. The  the cause was endomeetreosis ( sorry for the spelling) .I did not take any hormone replacements right away.They did mine in two operations.The first operation they took everything except one ovary,they told me I was to young to not have the natural hormones I was back in surgery having the other ovary taken out in four months.I didn't take HRT for close to 6 months after my surgery.I had hot flashes,couldn't sleep,and so got bitchy I didn't even like my self. So I wore a hormone patch for 2-3 years and got body back under control I'm alright without. one,it's been many years sine I've wore one.  I am no 48 and feel no need for HTR..Best of luck with your surgery,listen to your body it will let you  know what it needs.

  15. terrioneill profile image59
    terrioneillposted 14 years ago

    First, good luck to you and I hope it all goes well.  I had a total hysterectomy almost 5 years ago.  I'm now 39.  I had been living on vicodin almost daily for over a year with extremely heavy and long periods.  If you are in a lot of pain, you'll be amazed how much better you feel after your recovery.  I don't regret the surgery, but the hormone issue has given me problems.  I've been on several different synthetic estrogens but am now using a bioidentical cream w/estrogen, progesterone and DHEA.  I've gotten a big middle (usually very thin) and it's from hormone imbalance.  Exercise and diet don't seem to do much for it, either.  I would insist on progesterone to balance the estrogen.  No, you don't need it for cancer protection, but you do need it to balance out the estrogen.  Doctors don't think about keeping our hormones balanced like they were prior to surgery.  Hormones do much more than control our cycle, they affect how we feel and function.  My advice, for what it's worth, don't do too much after your surgery, it takes time to recover, find a doctor who will prescribe bioidentical hormones and who is willing to change the dosage based on how you are feeling, not your actual levels, as those change and the range of "normal" is very broad.

    1. writerjay profile image67
      writerjayposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      I also add my prayers for you. I only had a partial in my 40's, and yest it was the best thing I ever did.

      I'm fairly new to the HUB community, but it is so nice to be with so many women who are caring, and for real about their issues. Only on a few occasions have I come across some people saying mean things.

      Do what your doc tells you, and not too fast - Recover well!

  16. KCC Big Country profile image84
    KCC Big Countryposted 14 years ago

    Thank you for all the additional comments while I was in the hospital.  I just came home today.  The surgery went well.  Due to several factors, the doctor opted to leave a small portion of my cervix.  It was just too close to the bladder for him to comfortably remove it without harming my bladder.  The healing has gone well, and I just need to remind myself not to overdo it.  I have the patch for now.  We'll discuss it further when I see him on Tuesday to have the staples removed.

  17. Gina Welds-Hulse profile image89
    Gina Welds-Hulseposted 7 years ago

    I recently had a full hysterectomy, that was considered medically necessary. I am still in recovery right now, as it has only been three weeks. Everything was removed....cervix, fallopian tubes, uterus, ovaries and a gigantic fibroid that caused my uterus to grow to an enormous size.  I am not on hormonal replacement, being 47 years old, and so far no hot flashes.  I am curious to know how has it been 6 years later.  Many people post about their first few months experience but no follow up after that.....year later, 5 years later.  Just curious.....  What changes, if any, have you experienced.


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