Hysterectomy is a common operation in the UK, with almost 50,000 women undergoing the procedure each year. Sometimes it is performed for prolapse of the uterus but there are many reasons why a hysterectomy can be performed. Although the operation should be a safe procedure, there is a risk of complications occurring at a later stage – often years down the line. Here’s what you need to know about hysterectomy for prolapse repair surgery and potential effects it could have on your body.
What is a hysterectomy?
Hysterectomy is the process of removing the womb and uterus via surgery. Depending on the reasons why procedure is necessary, either the full womb will be removed or only parts of it will be removed.
Why might a woman need a hysterectomy?
Medical conditions that affect the reproductive system may result in a hysterectomy being necessary. This includes problems such as heavy periods, prolapse, chronic pelvic pain, fibroids and cancer of the ovaries, uterus, cervix or fallopian tubes.
What are the potential risks and side effects of hysterectomy?
Immediate risks with the surgery include heavy bleeding, bowel or bladder damage and, as with all major operations, infection or a bad reaction to the general anaesthetic. Recovery tends to take between eight weeks to 3 months and it is extremely important to take this time to rest and allow the body to heal.
Women who have had a full hysterectomy can expect to go through the menopause almost immediately since their bodies will stop producing oestrogen as the ovaries are removed. Those who have one or both of their ovaries left can expect to go through menopause within around five years.
However, what is overlooked, is the fact that a hysterectomy may not be the answer to the problem of prolapsed uterus.
If you think you have a prolapse, then here are a few common symptoms:
– A feeling of pressure or heaviness in the vagina
– A noticeable bulge or protrusion
– Spotting (light bleeding)
– Being unable to retain a tampon
– Loss of intimate sensation
– Urine leaks, inability to empty the bladder or frequent need to urinate
What can I do about my prolapse?
Prolapse surgery is often the best way to fix a prolapsed organ, particularly if the prolapse is very severe. There is a much easier operation to have, a Sacrohysterpexy which uses a laparoscopic approach to hoist the uterus back into position permanently with the use of mesh. Women have gone onto have children after this procedure with no ill effects whatsoever. The sacrohysteropexy operation is a uterus sparing procedure so sparing women from many of the unpleasant side effects of a hysterectomy. Many women who have prolapse repair surgery with a sacrohysteropexy find that their quality of life is significantly improved as they no longer suffer the pain and discomfort that prolapse causes.
For more information on prolapse surgery after hysterectomy, contact The Pelvic Clinic today.