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Before and After a Hysterectomy: What to Expect

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Many women feel defeated and concerned when their doctor recommends a hysterectomy surgery. Although this procedure is meant to treat a troublesome medical condition, it can have some negative effects on a woman’s confidence. To be better prepared, here are some tips about getting through a hysterectomy and what to expect before and after your surgery. 

Egg harvesting before hysterectomy

Did you know women are born with all the eggs they’ll ever have? As difficult as a cancer diagnosis requiring a hysterectomy surgery is, it’s important to also think about your future fertility. Hysterectomy requires removing the uterus, and sometimes removal of ovaries and fallopian tubes, which means a future pregnancy will not be viable. It also means you will no longer have eggs. If you still want to have a biological child, doctors recommend egg harvesting before undergoing surgery or receiving cancer treatments. 

How hysterectomy surgery affects fertility

There are several different reasons women decide to have a hysterectomy, but cancer is the most common. Gynecological cancer treatments may include chemotherapy and radiation therapy too. Although these life-saving procedures are necessary, they affect fertility. Even if your ovaries and fallopian tubes are not removed during a hysterectomy, they can still be affected. Treatments can damage ovarian follicles containing eggs. This is why doctors recommend egg harvesting prior to hysterectomy recovery or surgery. 

What to expect from your egg retrieval experience

Prior to egg harvesting, injected medications are used to stimulate egg production in order to assure enough eggs are available for harvesting. Once the follicles have reached 15 to 20 mm in size, surgery can take place. Anesthesia will be used so that you won’t feel any of the following:

  • An ultrasound-guided needle is passed through the vagina to the ovary and follicles
  • Fluid is removed from the follicles, causing eggs to detach from the wall
  • Eggs are sucked out of the ovary

The procedure takes no longer than 30 minutes and should result in eight to 12 eggs. Egg retrieval side effects are usually exclusive to mild cramping. Eggs will then be fertilized and frozen.

Once you are ready to take the next step, your fertilized egg can be placed in a surrogate to carry your biological child.

Hysterectomy Recovery and Returning to Sexual Activity

Here are some hysterectomy recovery tips on how to improve your sex life, even after getting a hysterectomy.

The waiting period

After your hysterectomy surgery, most doctors recommend you abstain from sexual intercourse for six to eight weeks. The inner and outer wounds need time to heal before you start sexual activity again. Having sex too soon after your surgery can cause bleeding and reopening the wound. Hysterectomy recovery varies depending on the woman, so the best thing you can do is listen to your doctor’s advice on how to take things slow.

Feeling feminine

Some women experience a loss of femininity or confidence. Some may even feel a bit of grief while mourning the loss of their womb and fertility. Loss of fertility can be especially hard on young women who haven’t yet started their family. Also, post-hysterectomy weight gain and loss of sex hormones can cause changes in sexual desire.

Possible sexual discomfort

Often, women can experience painful sex after a hysterectomy. After this procedure, estrogen levels drop, sometimes causing vaginal dryness. To alleviate this discomfort, use lubricants to facilitate sexual intercourse.

Orgasm after hysterectomy

Some women say orgasms feel different after hysterectomy. This is mostly because of the changes in the vaginal wall and because there will no longer be orgasmic spasms in the uterus anymore. However, the side effects of hysterectomy surgery are different for each woman, so be mindful of what your body is telling you.

Making the Best of Sex after Hysterectomy Surgery

When you are recovering from a hysterectomy surgery, the best thing you can do is take your time returning to sexual activity. Listen to your doctor’s advice, as he or she will know your condition best.

When you do return to sexual activity, communicate with your partner on how you feel, what will make you comfortable, and if you’d like to stop. Lubricants work wonders while you start getting used to having sex again.

Get Expert Advice

At Nevada Surgery & Cancer Care, we treat gynecologic and colon cancers. We also work to educate our patients on the best recovery possible. If you have questions about your hysterectomy recovery, contact our office today.