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There are several different common hysterectomy side effects that patients can expect to experience depending on age, overall health, and the type of surgery. Those women who were still menstruating before the hysterectomy will no longer menstruate nor be able to get pregnant. The loss of the ability to bear children may also result in depression. Menopause can begin immediately after surgery or at a younger than typical age. Several weeks of light vaginal bleeding is another of the known hysterectomy side effects.
Women who undergo a hysterectomy will experience light vaginal bleeding or drainage for a few days following the procedure. Sanitary pads can be used to absorb any discharge. The doctor should be informed if the bleeding is unusually heavy.
Menstrual periods end after a hysterectomy. The bleeding will stop, but the hormonal changes a patient experienced as part of her menstrual cycle will persist if only the uterus is removed. If the ovaries are not removed, the hormonal changes experienced prior to surgery will continue unabated.
Infertility is one of several hysterectomy side effects. As a hysterectomy removes the uterus and possibly the cervix, fallopian tubes, and ovaries, the patient will no longer be able to have children. In some cases, this can lead to depression. Women who wish to become pregnant may want to consider alternatives to a hysterectomy if possible.
An additional side effect of hysterectomy surgery is the onset of menopause. Menopause begins almost immediately for those patients who have their uteruses and ovaries removed. An earlier than typical onset of menopause is still possible in patients who kept their ovaries. Symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, mood changes, and vaginal dryness.
A minority of women can experience additional hysterectomy side effects. Weight gain has been reported as well as fatigue and constipation. Some patients have also experienced pelvic discomfort or phantom pains after surgery. Urinary incontinence is a possible hysterectomy side effect that typically manifests decades after the initial procedure.
Depending on the situation, a doctor can chose one of several types of hysterectomy surgery. A partial surgery removes the uterus only, while a total hysterectomy removes the cervix as well as the uterus. A total hysterectomy may also encompass the removal of the uterus and cervix in addition to the fallopian tubes and ovaries.
In addition to common hysterectomy side effects, the surgery presents risks similar to other medical procedures. Infections, organ damage, and blood clots are all risks associated with hysterectomy surgery. Several weeks of rest will be necessary for the patient, who should not lift anything heavy and refrain from sexual activity while recovering.