Hysterectomy stories

My mother told me last night that she’s in need of a hysterectomy. When I was talking to her last night I realized that although I know what a hysterectomy entails, I don’t know what it does to the body afterwards. Mom’s well into menopause, so that part’s not an issue, but I don’t know what else might change.

Although I’ve been assured that it’s a very low risk procedure I’m still very scared about it. Doper women, have any of you had this operation? Can you tell me any of your experiences? Good or bad- I just want to know about other people’s experiences with this.

I had it done when I was 35 - well before “the change” - with no real problems. Since my incision went from navel to hairline, I had a month of no driving, stay off stairs, no lifting. Then I started taking estrogen. Apart from the disappointment of not being able to have any more kids, it was a piece of cake. And since I don’t wear bikinis, the scar is no biggie either.

My grandmother had one very late in her life, and once she recovered, her life was unchanged. With a good doctor, I think it’s a no-big-deal surgery, as much as any surgery can be no-big-deal.

Hope it all goes well! I wouldn’t fret too much if I was you.

My mom had one… counts on fingers about 7 years ago, just before she turned 50. It was to combat cervical cancer in situ, and she went ahead with the ouverectomy as well.

To this day, she still says it was the best thing she ever did.

My mom had one done because of fibroids in her uterus. I forget if she had a total one (ovaries removed too) or not. She felt much better afterwards, no longer having to deal with all that bleeding and pain during her period. She seems happy with the decision.

Scary bit: the surgeon told her afterwards something to the effect of “Well, we found your Dalkon shield.” She’d had it - an IUD for pregnancy prevention - put in back in 1973. Not long after, she started experiencing pain, and then the pain stopped. Her gynecologist examined her and told her it looked like it must have been expelled because it wasn’t in her uterus any longer. Nope. Apparently it worked its way into the outer layer of her uterus and remained there for about 20 years, ack. No wonder they took that model of the IUD off the market!

OMG about the missing Dalkon Shield! :eek:

My mom had a hysterectomy for fibroids, too. She felt so so so much better after she had the operation! She was sorry that she had delayed it.

It was funny the way the hospital roommate situation worked. My mom was in a double room. As she was wheeled in after the operation, the lady who was already in the room said “I had the operation 2 days ago. You feel terrible now, but in 2 days, you’ll be just fine!” Made my mom feel better. 2 days later, the first lady had left. My mom felt worlds better. And they wheeled some other lady in who had just had the surgery. And my mom said, “I had the operation 2 days ago. You feel terrible now, but in 2 days, you’ll be just fine!” :slight_smile: I wonder if they did it on purpose.

Yes it is a major operation. Yes it is abdominal surgery. I understand why you are worried, and empathize completely. I was worried sick about my mom, too. But she’ll be just fine, and she’ll feel a lot better in the long run.

Jesus! Why would they need to open you up all the way to…


That hairline.

Never mind.

I had a hysterectomy and ooverectomy 11 years ago, because of fibroids and endometriosis. It hurt for a couple of days but wasn’t any big deal. I was out from work for a month.

Tell her to drink lots of water before the time when she’s supposed to stop taking things in, I was feeling really sick from dehydration by the time they hooked me up with an I.V.

They started me out afterward with too much estrogen, but when I went for a followup the doctor reduced the dose.

I did have gallbladder trouble a few years later; I’m not sure if either the hysterectomy or the problems that led to it had anything to do with that.

The missus had a partial hyterectomy with the birth of Baby Babe II. Basically, her scar from the first C-section split open during the attempted regular delivery for BBII.

It’s tough to say how much of the recovery was from the childbirth and how much from the hysterectomy, but she was okay, but sore, after about 5 days. Note that she was in the ICU for a while, so this is probably not a typical recovery.

She is a little sad about not having the option for more natural children, but she likes the no period and no birth control aspects.

The C-section for Baby Babe I was planned (breech baby) so the scar was horizontal. With Baby Babe II, it was an emergency, so they did the quicker vertical one. Her scars together look like an accountant’s ledger. I keep telling her I want to do the family finances on her belly.

I didn’t have a double room, but my sister DID warn me that the second night was gonna be rough, and it was. However, I’m glad I had it done.

Make sure someone gets the followup care in writing, just so there’s no question. Generally, it’s a good idea for the patient to not pick up anything heavier than a wet washcloth for about a month, and it’s good for her to walk a lot, too, even if it’s only for short distances.

I had a hard time getting in and out of bed, so I slept sitting up on the couch. Since this also encouraged me to get up and walk, it was good.

I work in a busy postpartum / GYN unit and I see a lot of women just after their surgeries. If you can, have someone stay with your mother as much as possible. Managing her postop pain will help to really speed up her recovery. Patient-controlled analgesic pumps are a wonderful thing and she won’t OD or become addicted. PCAs have lockout settings to prevent over-use. If her pain is controlled early, your mom may feel like walking sooner and that helps her whole body recover faster. Most patients look up at me in dismay and say “You want me to WALK!!! I just had major surgery!!” Then the gas pains start to settle in…
Keeping everything clean is important and family at bedside is a great help. Our women come out of surgery, spend a while in post-anesthesia unit and come to our floor. They can’t swallow pills for a while, maybe 24 hours…some are nauseated. Most doctors have standing orders for Reglan or Inapsine. A family member at bedside can make sure the patient gets what she needs.

I had one at 41 and I am so glad I had it done! Yeah, there was pain, but it goes away, you get lotsa drugs before it does, and afterwards you’re finally done with the mess and the pain and the misery and your life is much better. Take good care of her post-op, like sweet Mr. Singular did with me, and she’ll do great. Good luck to you both!

** Andygirl **

It really depends on what type of hysterectomy your mother is having done…The traditional way is through the abdomen and rakes about 6 weeks of recovery time. I would recommend, if possible a vaginal hysterectomy…recovery time is like 2 weeks as there is no abdominal surgical site. There’s also the laproscopic option. This is still relatively new.

Many old-style doctors do the abdominal total hysterectomy bialteral salpingo-oopherectomy (cervix, uterus, tubes and ovaries are removed) but often this is not necessary. Usually a vaginal removal and subtotal hysterectomy (leave cervix in) is appropriate. There was a great deal of debate about how to do a hysterectomy not too long ago and it was VERY heated.

Of course, there are medical reasons why a radical hysterectomy would be necessary… I helped my mom through this and helped her change doctors because the 1st was no open-minded enough to consider the other options. My mom had a subotal hyterectomy vagainally and she was fine in about a week (of course no real lifting…) She still thanks me to this day for helping her avoid the more painful alternative.

Mind you, IANAD, but I do play one from time to time in the courtroom. :slight_smile: