Have you heard of a procedure known as a hysterectomy? If this term does not sound familiar to you yet, hysterectomy is a surgical operation that is performed to remove the uterus. Sometimes, during this procedure, in addition to removing the uterus, the fallopian tubes are also removed with the ovaries, which is known as an Ovariohysterectomy, since by removing the first organ these other parts lose their usefulness and by doing this we prevent other diseases such as cancer.
Hysterectomy: types and methods of surgical intervention
As we have anticipated, hysterectomy is a surgical operation that is used to remove the uterus (and sometimes the fallopian tubes and ovaries, which is known as anvarihysterectomy) in cases such as the development of cancer in this organ, or cancer of the cervix , the appearance of fibroids (benign uterine tumors), endometriosis , uterine prolapse or chronic pelvic pain, among others. As for the types of hysterectomy , this can be classified into those that we present below:
- Partial or subtotal hysterectomy: in a surgical operation in which only the body or upper part of the uterus is removed.
- Total hysterectomy: In this procedure, both the body and the cervix are removed.
- Radical hysterectomy: in this type of surgery, in addition to the cervix and the body of the uterus, other areas such as the upper part of the vagina, nodes and their lymphatic ducts are removed.
To do these procedures, specialists use the following types of surgical intervention :
- Abdominal hysterectomy: the removal of the uterus is performed through an incision of approximately 12 cm in the abdominal area.
- Laparoscopic or laparoscopic hysterectomy: through small incisions in the abdomen, a laparoscope is inserted to perform the removal.
- Vaginal hysterectomy: in this case, the specialist makes a cut in the upper part of the vagina to perform the surgical intervention.
Recovery time after a hysterectomy
As with any surgical operation, a hysterectomy will require some recovery time after it is performed. In this sense, we find among the most frequently asked questions the following: is the recovery time the same after a total and a partial hysterectomy ? However, the answer is not a simple yes or no, but the recovery time from a hysterectomy will depend on the way the surgery was performed and, in the end, on the health of each patient and how well they follow (or not) the doctor's guidelines for recovery.
- In the case of a total abdominal hysterectomy, the average hospital stay is usually 4 days and the recovery time is around 6 weeks .
- In a vaginal hysterectomy, the hospital stay usually lasts a maximum of 2 days and the recovery time is between 3 and 4 weeks .
- In the case of laparoscopic hysterectomy, hospitalization is 1 to 2 days and recovery is usually approximately 2 weeks .
Care after a total or partial hysterectomy
In addition to knowing some aspects of this surgical procedure, such as the recovery time or the types of surgery that exist, it will also be important to know the care after a total or partial hysterectomy . Below we offer you a series of recommendations that you should take into account during the recovery of this operation:
- Do not drive after the days of hospitalization: it is convenient that you ask someone to drive you home after the operation. You should also not drive until 3 weeks after surgery.
- Do not carry weight during recovery at home: this way you will avoid slowing down the healing process. It is also not convenient for you to go up and down stairs during the first weeks.
- Do not have sexual intercourse until 6 weeks later: you could suffer pain and discomfort in the act.
- Use the shower during recovery: do not use bathtubs or perform vaginal douches. It is also not convenient for you to use tampons or other utensils inside the vagina.
- Keep the area of the incision or wound very clean: it is recommended that you wash this area with water and neutral soap daily.
- Try to walk after surgery: however, you should avoid overexertion or strenuous activities during recovery.
- Increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables to avoid constipation: it is also recommended that you drink at least 2 liters of water daily. Get to know here the different Fruits recommended to avoid and relieve constipation .
How to relieve pain after a hysterectomy – more care
It is normal that due to the incisions made during the surgery you may have discomfort in these areas. In addition to following the doctor's instructions , here are some tips to relieve pain from a hysterectomy or removal of the uterus :
- Take the painkillers at home prescribed by your specialist or GP. In addition, it is convenient that you try to consume them at the same time every day to increase their effectiveness.
- If you suffer from a little discomfort in the abdomen area, it is recommended that you try to get up and walk around a bit to relieve it.
- Another tip to reduce abdominal pain is to lightly press on the incision with a pillow or your hands when you go to cough or sneeze.
- Finally, during the first 2 days after the operation, you can apply cold compresses around the area where the incisions were made to reduce pain.
Consequences of hysterectomy
In addition to the recovery time of a hysterectomy may depend on the type of surgical intervention, it is also important that we know some of the symptoms (whether physical or psychological) that a woman may experience after this surgery. However, it is also important to emphasize that not all patients may present most of these symptoms and it may even happen that none are experienced, as well as remember that this operation serves to eliminate diseases as serious as cancer in this area.
Among the main consequences of a hysterectomy we find:
- Infertility: when the uterus is removed, it is normal for the woman's fertility to be annulled.
- Menopause: in the event that the ovaries have been removed, this symptom may occur.
- Dyspareunia: This surgery can cause pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse.
- Vaginal dryness: it can occur in the event that the ovaries are removed.
- Emotional alterations: after the operation, some women have experienced episodes of depression, anxiety or loss of self-esteem.
- Constipation and gas: Digestive problems are usually a side effect of the operation.