A serious medical procedure that poses risks and physical side effects, hysterectomy surgery also entails a number of emotional implications that have the ability to impact your life in numerous, profound, and deeply personal ways. As you prepare for life after hysterectomy or as you begin to navigate the new changes after surgery, ensuring that you know what to expect and that you have access to the information and support you need is important to helping you achieve a positive, enriching experience that shapes your life for the better.
If a hysterectomy proves to be medically necessary in your case, if you have exhausted other available treatment options, and / or you have elected to undergo the procedure, educating yourself about what you can expect can help you prepare for what is to come. Generally, a hysterectomy will pose the following post-operative concerns:
While everyone responds differently and although these side effects and repercussions may not be an issue for every woman, remaining aware of them is still important. Understanding risks, how your particular procedure works, and the recovery process is a great starting point in your journey. As life after a hysterectomy is largely defined by emotional aspects, however, you should not end your journey here.
In order to help you gain a solid grasp on post-operative considerations and to surface from the confusing tides of misinformation that constantly engulf this procedure, it is important that we illustrate just how common hysterectomies are. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 600,000 women undergo a hysterectomy each year in the United States. These rates are among the highest of all countries in the industrialized world, and although they have decreased since reaching their peak of 750,000 hysterectomies in 1975, they remain the second most common surgery for females after cesarean section (C-section). According to statistics, nearly one-third of American women will have a hysterectomy by the time they reach the age of 60.
In contrast to the prevalence of this procedure, it is well known that there is a considerable lack of awareness and understanding about hysterectomies throughout the general public and medical community. This being said, the millions of American women who have undergone this procedure have all experienced the same process you face now. As with any medical procedure, endeavor, or life-changing experience, hysterectomies affect each person in different ways.
Life after a hysterectomy will entail a healing process that transcends physical recuperation. In many aspects, the emotional implications of this procedure are the most distinguishing aspects of the surgery. This is, in many cases, a result of how closely linked a woman's personal identity and emotions can be to their female reproductive organs, to their fertility and ability to have children, and to the ways in which they define themselves as women. Although unique and difficult to generalize, these emotions can have a considerable impact on how you are able to navigate your life after the procedure.
Physical changes, including hormonal changes, will certainly result in tangible effects and real repercussions. These changes, just as with any type of change, are departures from what we consider "normal," from what we associate with comfort, with routine, with life. Adjusting to changes, especially ones as profound as these, can certainly result in a type of learning curve, complete with ups and downs and obstacles to overcome. Numerous women who have had a hysterectomy report that, while the adjustment period and healing process may take some getting used to, time can bring about a sense of restoration to one's normal self and, in many cases, to a better, stronger self, free from the pain and discomfort caused by their pre-surgery condition.
Hysterectomy surgery is not an ultimate solution, is in no way a cure-all, and is never considered an automatic spiritual makeover. What we know for certain is that this procedure can resolve your condition and the symptoms that may have once deeply affected your quality of life. Although these problems may be gone after the procedure, some women find that new problems are created. While this may be true, you have the ability to use this experience as a way to better understand yourself and your mentality as you take an active role to shape your well-being.
After loss and grief, which many women feel in the wake of a hysterectomy, we find that people always respond in unique ways. We see that although people face challenges, they have a choice in terms of how they respond and react. The healing process is cumulative, comprehensive, and profound. It is, in some ways, a culmination of all the work, emotions, and consideration you have put into making a decision to undergo this procedure; therefore, it requires time, awareness, and your active role.
Surgery may not always automatically change your outlook on life, but it certainly can be a catalyst for positive change. You don't have to feel as though your personal life is shaped entirely by this experience, but you do have the right to believe that you are strengthened because of it, empowered in light of it, and free to pursue a happier, healthier life after it is completed.
The nature of objectivity and being an individual, of having an opinion and personal emotions, enables us to feel differently about the same thing. Some women may find no challenges in their new life after hysterectomy while others may struggle to cope with the change. As we only know that these challenges exist, not whether or how they will affect you, we believe that preparing for them is always important. As part of understanding and preparing for your life after hysterectomy, you should reach out for support from your doctor, from friends and families, and from women who have had a hysterectomy to help you navigate your own unique journey. At Hysterectomy.com, we offer you the opportunity to share your story, read other women's stories, and find the support you need through our forums. We also encourage you to contact us with any specific questions about your condition, your procedure, and what you can expect. There is life after hysterectomy, and although there may be hurdles and obstacles, you have the ability to make your life after hysterectomy the life you deserve.