Hysterectomy | Womenshealth.gov

A hysterectomy is a surgery to remove a woman's uterus (also known as the womb). The uterus is where a baby grows when a woman is pregnant. During the surgery the whole uterus is usually removed. Your doctor may also remove your fallopian tubes and ovaries. After a hysterectomy, you no longer have menstrual periods and cannot become pregnant.

Hysterectomy is a surgery to remove a woman's uterus (her womb). The whole uterus is usually removed. Your doctor also may remove your fallopian tubes and ovaries.

Talk to your doctor before your surgery to discuss your options. For example, if both ovaries are removed, you will have symptoms of menopause. Ask your doctor about the risks and benefits of removing your ovaries. You may also be able to try analternative to hysterectomy, such as medicine or another type of treatment, first.

You may need a hysterectomy if you have one of the following:1

Keep in mind that there may bealternative waysto treat your health problem without having a hysterectomy. Hysterectomy is a major surgery. Talk with your doctor about all of your treatment options.

Hysterectomy is major surgery. Sometimes a hysterectomy may be medically necessary, such as with prolonged heavy bleeding or certain types of cancer. But sometimes you can try other treatments first. These include:

Each year in the United States, nearly 500,000 women get hysterectomies.2A hysterectomy is the second most common surgery among women in the United States. The most common surgery in women is childbirth by cesarean delivery (C-section).

Whether your ovaries are removed during the hysterectomy may depend on the reason for your hysterectomy.

Ovaries may be removed during hysterectomy to lower the risk for ovarian cancer. However, women who have not yet gone through menopause also lose the protection of estrogen, which helps protect women from conditions such as heart disease and osteoporosis.

Recent studies suggest that removing only the fallopian tubes but keeping the ovaries may help lower the risk for the most common type of ovarian cancer, which is believed to start in the fallopian tubes.3

The decision to keep or remove your ovaries is one you can make after talking about the risks and benefits with your doctor.

All women who have a hysterectomy will stop getting their period. Whether you will have other symptoms ofmenopauseafter a hysterectomy depends on whether your doctor removes your ovaries during the surgery.

If you keep your ovariesduring the hysterectomy, you should not have other menopausal symptoms right away. But you may have symptoms a few years younger than the average age for menopause (52 years).

Because youruterusis removed, you no longer have periods and cannot get pregnant. But your ovaries might still make hormones, so you might not have other signs of menopause. You may have hot flashes, a symptom of menopause, because the surgery may have blocked blood flow to the ovaries. This can prevent the ovaries from releasing estrogen.

If both ovaries are removed during the hysterectomy, you will no longer have periods and you may have other menopausal symptoms right away. Because your hormone levels drop quickly without ovaries, your symptoms may be stronger than with natural menopause. Ask your doctor about ways to manage your symptoms.

A hysterectomy can be done in several different ways. It will depend on your health history and the reason for your surgery. Talk to your doctor about the different options:

Recovering from a hysterectomy takes time. Most women stay in the hospital one to two days after surgery. Some doctors may send you home the same day of your surgery. Some women stay in the hospital longer, often when the hysterectomy is done because of cancer.

Your doctor will likely have you get up and move around as soon as possible after your hysterectomy. This includes going to the bathroom on your own. However, you may have to pee through a thin tube called a catheter for one or two days after your surgery.

The time it takes for you to return to normal activities depends on the type of surgery:

You should get plenty of rest and not lift heavy objects for four to six weeks after surgery. At that time, you should be able to take tub baths and resume sexual intercourse. How long it takes for you to recover will depend on your surgery and your health before the surgery. Talk to your doctor.

Hysterectomy is a major surgery, sorecoverycan take a few weeks. But for most women, the biggest change is a better quality of life. You should have relief from the symptoms that made the surgery necessary.

Other changes that you may experience after a hysterectomy include:

It might. If you had a good sex life before your hysterectomy, you should be able to return to it without any problems after recovery. Many women report a better sex life after hysterectomy because of relief from pain or heavy vaginal bleeding.

If your hysterectomy causes you to have symptoms of menopause, you may experience vaginal dryness or a lack of interest in sex. Using a water-based lubricant can help with dryness. Talk to your partner and try to allow more time to get aroused during sex. Talk with your doctor and get more tips in ourMenopause and sexualitysection.

Maybe. You will still need regularPap tests(or Pap smear) to screen for cervical cancer if you:

Ask your doctor what is best for you and how often you should have Pap tests.

For more information about hysterectomy, call the OWH Helpline at 1-800-994-9662 or contact the following organizations:

This content is provided by the Office on Women's Health.

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Hysterectomy | Womenshealth.gov

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