Recovery Time After Hysterectomy
Total abdominal hysterectomy includes the removal of the ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes, and cervix. Complete removal of all female organs is not as common today as in the past. Doctors recommend that women keep their ovaries unless there is cancer, endometriosis, or another condition that requires they be removed because of health concerns. The procedure usually is done under anesthesia and through an abdominal incision. Recovery time after hysterectomy is normally six weeks unless there are complications. When a woman only has to have the uterus and cervix removed it can be done vaginally and the recovery time is less because there is no abdominal incision made.
Conditions that may warrant a woman having surgery include fibroid tumors, excessive menstrual bleeding, endometriosis, cancer, and uterine prolapse. Fibroids are usually benign, not cancerous, but they can cause pain and complications in women who suffer with them. Excessive menstrual bleeding can be caused by fibroids and is a reason why some women should consider having a total abdominal hysterectomy. Women who suffer with this may also have or develop anemia. Endometriosis is tissue that can cause pain and even infertility in some women. The pain can be so bad that a doctor will recommend the surgery. Uterine prolapse is when the uterus moves from its location and extends into the vagina causing discomfort and sometimes pain. Another reason to consider the operation is the onset of cancer. Normally cancer will be treated first with invasive procedures before surgery is considered. However, in some cases it may be warranted and necessary.
The risks associated with having surgery to remove the female organs may include but are not limited to blood loss, infection, possible damage to other internal organs, urinary incontinence, bladder infections, and bowel problems. Anesthesia used during the operation may cause nausea, vomiting, headache, and dizziness afterwards. Recovery time after hysterectomy will probably include at least three days to one week in the hospital. Because of the abdominal incision there will be restrictions of resuming normal activities for at least six weeks. The recovery time may seem difficult but the woman who uses the extra time to get closer to the Lord will never regret it. The busyness of working full time, raising children, and taking care of a home can often take a toll on the time spent in fellowship with the Lord and other Christians. Making a commitment to talk to the Lord and read His word everyday will not only help with a physical and mental recovery but will provide lasting fruit in the Kingdom of God. "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me" (John 15:4).
Removing a woman's ovaries will cause instant menopause to take place. Some of the symptoms associated with menopause can be very uncomfortable and can lead to depression. Normally a doctor will weigh all of the options and go over any alternatives before doing a total abdominal hysterectomy because of the hormonal changes that take place when removing the ovaries. Hot flashes, insomnia, irritability, cold chills, headache, fatigue, vaginal dryness, and brain fog are some of the common symptoms related to menopause. Alternatives to suffering with symptoms may be to take hormone replacement therapy after the surgery. There are some concerns with using hormone replacement therapy long-term because of the increased risk of developing breast cancer.
A laparascopic supracervical hysterectomy is another alternative to having a larger abdominal incision but is only usually considered for partial removal of the female organs. The laparoscope is a small surgical instrument that includes a video camera. The laparoscope is inserted through several tiny incisions so as to remove the uterus but leave the cervix. Leaving the cervix can help to prevent some of the risks associated with a total abdominal hysterectomy such as urinary incontinence and prolapse. However, a woman who has large fibroids may not be considered for this procedure or a vaginal surgery simply because doing so would require a longer time in the operating room and would take a surgeon who has a lot of skill to perform it.
Women who have received the news from a doctor that they may need to have surgery before they can get well should seek a second opinion from another doctor. Having a hysterectomy can seem like a really scary thing to have to go through especially when this one operation can cause other changes in the body such as the onset of menopause. Another reason to really give this decision some thought is because of the long recovery time after hysterectomy. This will mean having to take off of work for at least six weeks and having help in the home for at least the first week after surgery. Having anxiety about this type of operation is very normal. However, many women who are considering the procedure have been in pain and suffered for a while and are ready to have some relief.
Talking over concerns with a doctor can help to calm some of the anxiety felt from the thought of having surgery. There are many women who have gone through having a total abdominal hysterectomy and are much better for doing so. Every person in the family will need to be supportive and willing to help during the recovery time after hysterectomy. Afterwards a woman may feel very emotional especially with the onset of menopause so other family members need to be as helpful as possible and be there to listen and lend a hand to help in any way that they can. Women who go through this type of experience will do much better if everyone involved is supportive and willing to go that extra mile during the recovery period.