It has been nearly 2 years since I had my hysterectomy and by far one of the biggest posts on this site is my hysterectomy recovery post. So many women have found my list to be extremely helpful, but I often get many questions emailed to me. Check out the questions about hysterectomies that you have asked below!
Questions about Hysterectomies
Thankfully we have the internet to help us work through the emotions and fears we may have when we are about to undergo something life changing. Having a hysterectomy at 32 was not something that there was a lot of information on. I was premenopausal, dealing with large amounts of blood loss causing severe anemia and just getting sicker and more exhausted by the day. I asked as many people as I could about their experiences but much of what I was told, was not applicable to me. Since having my hysterectomy, I have filtered hundreds of questions and comments and wanted to share the top 5 questions about hysterectomies below.
1. Hysterectomies & C-Section Pain
One of the biggest questions about hysterectomies I get is in relation to c-sections. I actually looked back at some of my previous posts to see if I talked about the pain comparisons. I remember that when I was preparing for my hysterectomy, I kept Googling and asking friends about the pain comparison between a hysterectomy and a c-section. No one really had any answers for me, so I went into this ready for anything.
As far as the pain goes. I felt like the pain of the 3 small incisions from my hysterectomy was a little worse than the actual c-section. This is because I had a lot of scar tissue from my previous c-sections and the doctor had to work to separate the uterus from the scar tissue to remove it. I remember being very very very sore and having those sharp, shooting pains frequently when moving. It definitely felt like I was back to recovering from a c-section, except that now I also had 3 additional cuts and areas that were healing.
I did ask my doctor and looked back on some emails about this topic and she said that it is common for the pain to be a little worse for women who have had c-sections, especially if there is a lot of scar tissue. However, it was manageable. I was up and moving around just hours after surgery and I just had to take it a bit slower in the coming days and weeks. As long as you stay up on your pain medications you will be just fine and the bonus to having the hysterectomy is that you likely won’t have to care for a newborn while recovering!
2. Swelly Belly
I often get emails and questions about the “swelly belly” that happens after surgery. Swelly Belly happens from trauma to the abdomen along with the gases that are pumped into the area to help create space to remove the reproductive organs and excess fluids that accumulate.
I too had this, and most women want to know what the pain associated with this is and how long it takes to go down. As far as pain goes, once the gas pain is out of your body, then it really is just pain from the incisions and removal of the reproductive organs (which includes the pulling and interior bruising). You are going to be sore and probably the most concentrated pain is in your belly button incision.
The swelly belly can last for weeks to months and can be recurrent if you are overdoing it and not resting and allowing your body to heal. For me, it lasted about 2 solid months and then slowly it started to go down.
3. Weight Gain
Weight gain is a big concern and top questions about hysterectomies that I get. One of the side effects of my hysterectomy was weight gain. I put on about 20 lbs after and some of that was because I was just eating crap food and not working out and another aspect was that my hormones were now finding a new normal since they were not having to signal my body to make endless supplies of blood.
I am just now starting to lose the weight from the hysterectomy and my friend who also had the surgery would agree that it is tougher to lose the weight now then prior to the surgery. It has taken me, making better choices about the foods that I am eating (because I loathe working out) and in general being more aware of what my body can tolerate. I have found that by reducing my dairy intake immensely, my body is actually losing more weight and my skin is happier.
4. Getting Back to Everyday Life
Often women are so eager just to get back to everyday life. I totally get this. I was ready to own my life again. I probably got back to everyday life a little too quickly. I went to a funeral the day after my surgery and was in a lot of pain and then we did Disneyland 3 weeks later. I found everyday tasks to be pretty easy but I was still limited. I had a new puppy and had to make sure not to lift anything over 10lbs for a few weeks, I could get up and down and cook and bend over relatively ok, but still needed help and a lot of rest.
My biggest advice is to really baby yourself through the first 2 weeks. If you have little kids, try and get some help or plan home activities that will be very easy for you to monitor (we watched about 2 billion movies, while I drifted in and out of sleep). You will be able to move around pretty much right away, but you will be sore and you will want to stay up on your medications.
5. Sex after Hysterectomy
I will keep this short, but I do get frequent emails about how sex is after hysterectomies. You can read this study recap from WebMD which I completely agree with. Bottom line is when you are on your period 3 weeks on and 5 days off, you don’t have much of a sex life. 2 years later, my husband and I are much happier and are definitely enjoying this next phase of our lives.