Surgeons may remove one or both ovaries along with fallopian tubes & uterus during vaginal hysterectomy surgery. Ovaries are source of both female hormones estrogen & progesterone which are critical for both bone & sexual health. Therefore, losing both ovaries abruptly will effectively translate to a condition called surgical menopause. Sudden loss of female hormones will also cause stronger symptoms of menopause like loss of sex drive & hot flashes. Emotional trauma following hysterectomy for some women may take much longer to heal when compared to physical recovery. Having a sense of loss or feeling down after undergoing hysterectomy is normal. However, keep a check on postoperative depression & seek professional help when needed to deal with symptoms like loss of appetite, insomnia & hopeless feelings.
Vaginal hysterectomy is a surgical procedure designed to remove uterus through vaginal opening. Surgeons typically detach uterus from ovaries, fallopian tubes & upper vagina including supporting blood vessels & connective tissue during vaginal hysterectomy procedure. Surgically detached tissues including uterus is then removed through vagina. Vaginal hysterectomy involves shorter stay in hospital alongside lower costs & faster recovery than traditional abdominal hysterectomy where an incision is made for the purpose of surgery in lower abdomen. However, in case uterus is enlarged vaginal hysterectomy may not be possible & doctors may recommend other surgical options like abdominal hysterectomy. Hysterectomy also often involves removal of cervix as well as uterus. All organs involved in hysterectomy procedure are part of the female reproductive system located within pelvis.
Vaginal hysterectomy effectively treats a variety of Different Gynecologic Problems. With possible exception of cancer, hysterectomy is just one of the many treatment options for these gynecologic conditions. Doctors may often recommend Hormonal Therapy or some other less invasive gynecologic procedure which is successful in managing symptoms & may not even consider hysterectomy as treatment for these medical conditions. However, patients must understand that it is not possible to become pregnant following hysterectomy. Therefore explore other treatment options in case you are less than completely sure.
All hysterectomies involve removal of uterus, but the type of surgical procedure employed depends upon the condition which is required to be treated.
It is normal for women to feel anxious about their hysterectomy surgery.
Patients should talk to surgeons about what they can expect during & after vaginal hysterectomy procedure including physical & emotional experiences. Patients will be asleep during the course of surgery under the influence of general anesthesia. Alternately, choosing regional anesthesia with medication will only make them drowsy & may remain awake during surgery without feeling any pain. Patients will lie in back position quite similar to when Pap smear test was taken. A urinary catheter may also be inserted so as to empty the bladder. Team accompanying the surgeon will clean the surgical site with sterile solution prior to surgery.
Many women are good candidates for Robotic Hysterectomy or Laparoscopically Assisted Vaginal Hysterectomy (LAVH). Both these procedures allow surgeons to remove uterus vaginally while observing pelvic organs through a slender viewing instrument called laparoscope. Most of the procedure is performed by surgeons from these small abdominal incisions aided by thin & long surgical instruments inserted through incisions. Surgeons will finally remove uterus through an incision within the vagina. Surgeons will most often recommend robotic hysterectomy or LAVH for women having scar tissue on pelvic organs due to endometriosis or prior surgeries.
Vaginal hysterectomy is largely safe. Surgical risks are however higher among women who are obese & have high blood pressure. Risk of injury to adjacent pelvic & other abdominal organs during vaginal hysterectomy include ureters, bladder or bowels. Moreover, severe scar tissue or endometriosis may force surgeons to switch from vaginal hysterectomy to abdominal hysterectomy during the procedure. Therefore, check with the surgeon about this possibility.
Patients will be shifted to a recovery room for a few hours following completion of vaginal hysterectomy. They may have to stay a day or two in hospital, or even longer in some cases. Patients will be given medications for pain & to prevent infection after hysterectomy surgery. Associated healthcare team will encourage patients to get up & move as soon as possible during recovery period. It is normal to have bloody discharge from vagina for many days to weeks after hysterectomy & patients will therefore need to wear sanitary pads.
Recovery following vaginal hysterectomy is much shorter & far less painful than compared to abdominal hysterectomy. However, full recovery may take between 3 – 4 weeks of time. Do not lift anything heavy over 9.1 kg or indulge in vaginal intercourse until 6 weeks following surgery even if you feel normal. Make it a point to contact the surgeon in case pain worsens or you develop nausea, vomiting or bleeding which is heavier than normal menstrual periods.
Many women feel an improvement in mood & increased sense of well being following hysterectomy. Patients seem relieved to experience no signs & symptoms like pelvic pain or heavy bleeding. Most women also find no change in sexual function following hysterectomy. Some women also experience heightened sexual satisfaction during intercourse after hysterectomy. This could be because they no longer fear pregnancy of feeling of pain during intercourse. However, some women feel sense of grief & loss following hysterectomy, which is also normal as they experience depression due to loss of fertility, especially in younger patients who were hoping for future pregnancies. It would be sensible to talk to surgeons when women experience sadness or negative feelings which begin to interfere with enjoyment of everyday living.
Women will no longer have menstrual periods or be able to get pregnant following hysterectomy. Patients who have had ovaries removed will begin menopause almost immediately following hysterectomy. Many women experience symptoms like vaginal dryness, night sweats & hot flashes. In cases where treatments are required, doctors will recommend medications so as to ease these symptoms. However, for patients whose ovaries were not removed during surgery & had periods prior to hysterectomy will continue producing eggs & hormones until they reach menopause.
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