Major Hysterectomy Complications You May Not Know About
Did you know that in the United States alone, 1 out of 3 women will get a hysterotomy at some point in their lives? Hysterectomies can be very helpful and sometimes even necessary when treating certain conditions such as uterine cancer. However, hysterectomies aren’t always all good, and that’s where hysterectomy complications can come in.
Many women don’t experience any side effects or complications after a hysterectomy. On the other hand, some women may experience severe complications requiring more surgery to fix. If you think you might need a hysterectomy at some point in the future, it is important to understand what kind of complications you might experience.
Keep reading and learn more about what to expect below.
What Is a Hysterectomy?
The aim of a hysterectomy is to remove the uterus from the body. However, there is more than one type of hysterectomy that a surgeon may perform. For example, a subtotal hysterectomy involves the removal of the top part of the uterus.
During this type of surgery, the surgeon will not remove the cervix. The cervix is a small donut-shaped opening that separates the vaginal canal from the uterus. As the name suggests, a total hysterectomy involves the removal of all of the uterus, including the cervix.
A radical hysterectomy is more severe than a total hysterectomy. Not only does it involve the removal of the cervix and uterus, but it also involves the removal of some of the vaginal canal. On occasion, the surgeon may decide to remove the ovaries while performing the hysterectomy, although this is not always necessary.
The removal of the ovaries is a procedure known as an oophorectomy. The surgeon may also decide to remove the ovarian tubes along with the ovaries themselves and the uterus. The type of hysterectomy a woman gets will depend on what kind of issue she needs to be treated for.
For example, a radical hysterectomy is not common and is only usually done if there is cancer present. A surgeon may recommend a hysterectomy in cases of chronic uterine pain, such as endometriosis. If a woman suffers from severe fibroids, a hysterectomy may also be an option.
More often than not, however, a hysterectomy is a necessary treatment for cancer of the uterus, cervix, ovaries, or vagina. Hysterotomies are not as common for other conditions of the vagina or uterus. Doctors prefer that the patient utilize other treatments before opting for a hysterectomy.
This is due to the many hysterectomy risks that may occur.
Complications due to hysterectomy may happen for a variety of reasons. Some women may be at a higher risk for experiencing rare complications of hysterectomy than others.
Some complications may also be more likely as a result of certain types of hysterectomies in contrast to other types. One of the biggest and most immediate side effects someone might experience is infection. It is normal to have pain after your hysterectomy because your body is still healing.
However, if you experience severe pain several days after your surgery, it may be a sign that something more serious is going on. If you suspect an infection, you should go see your doctor immediately. Leaving an infection of this kind go untreated can lead to serious consequences.
For example, you may develop sepsis which is a blood infection and can be fatal in some cases. A good surgeon should be able to minimize the chances of you developing an infection. However, as you recover, it will also be your responsibility to keep any incisions clean.
Other complications may include sexual dysfunction. Most women who get hysterectomies don’t have this problem, but in some cases, women may experience a change in their libido or their ability to enjoy sex. This is often the case in women who develop chronic pain as a result of a hysterectomy.
The result is that sex can be painful. The woman may also have low libido or no sexual desire at all, especially if the surgeon removed the woman’s ovaries. In other cases, mood swings may result from the hysterectomy and make the idea of sex undesirable.
Severe Hysterectomy Complications
A severe complication of this surgery can include prolapse of the bladder or vagina. For example, since the uterus is no longer present to support the bladder in the body, the bladder may descend to an abnormal location and put pressure on the vagina. This may cause the vaginal canal to protrude out of the entrance to the vagina.
This may cause pain and difficulty urinating. It is important to have this complication treated as fast as possible because more severe complications could come about as a result.
Another severe complication involves blood clots. A blood clot is a mass of platelets and blood cells that can get lodged along one’s blood vessels or heart. A pulmonary embolism is the most severe type of blood clot.
It involves a blood clot blocking an artery that leads to the lungs. If this happens, the patient may drop dead immediately. Other blood clots may cause strokes or heart attacks.
For that reason, it is very important to monitor a patient after a hysterectomy to ensure that these side effects don’t happen.
All About Hysterectomy Complications
Hysterectomy complications are nothing to take lightly. While a hysterectomy may be necessary in some cases, it is important to weigh the risks of a hysterectomy before getting one.
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