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Signs You Might Need a Hysterectomy

March 4, 2020   23 Comments

What are the signs you may need a hysterectomy? I know about a few potential problems because I had a hysterectomy in December.

Signs You Might Need a Hysterectomy

I posted a photo of cheerful women because you might feel much happier after you have a hysterectomy. I feel much better!

A friend of mine asked me to write this because she also underwent a hysterectomy and felt that there weren’t enough relatable resources on the subject. Honestly, I don’t like writing about myself but this whole experience is so common - and when I looked it was all WebMD!

How common is it? From WomenHealth.gov:

Each year in the United States, nearly 500,000 women get hysterectomies. A 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).

Why aren’t we sharing about hysterectomy? Hey, removing a uterus is major surgery and we need to support each other.

I was also excited because this topic meant I got to use this image of the female reproductive system by Scientific Animations.

This is a drawing of a healthy uterus! I hope yours remains looking this amazing - mine took a turn for the worse and I was unaware of the signs that it might need to exit the building.

What happened? It is a loooong boring story so I will summarize. My symptoms were:

  • Constipation followed by loose stool.
  • Frequent need to urinate.
  • A large lump in my abdomen that was making it difficult to button my pants.
  • Some heavy bleeding during my period.

Honestly, I just ignored these symptoms thinking that they would go away. Each of them bugged me a little but I kept putting off discussing it until my physical. I rationalized why each of these things was happening to me.

I did not recognize these symptoms as signs that I might need a hysterectomy. The concept never crossed my mind.

I ended up having an image taken of my abdomen for another unrelated reason and they doctor saw a huge uterus.

My gynecologist took a look and found these:

Uterine fibroids! Uterine fibroids are muscular tumors that grow in the wall of the uterus. I had many of them and they were big.

Imagine 1.5 pounds of grapefruit in your lower abdomen just hanging out (growing bigger).

What would they be doing? They would be pushing on your bladder, colon, and outward on your abdomen like you were pregnant! But, at 50 years old, I knew I was not pregnant.

My uterus was 10 times the size of a normal uterus (and my gynecologist had seen ones twice as big - OMG).

You might also need a hysterectomy if you have something called uterine prolapse. From WomensHealth.gov:

Uterine prolapse is when the uterus slips from its usual place down into the vagina. Prolapse can lead to urinary and bowel problems and pelvic pressure.

These are very similar symptoms to mine.

Of course, these symptoms don't automatically mean that you need a hysterectomy and it is always a good idea to get a second opinion.

At any rate, I had to have surgery and I spent two days in the hospital and about 6 weeks recovering. There are multiple ways to have a hysterectomy but mine required cutting across my abdomen to remove my uterus and now I have a bitchin’ scar like this one.

It is similar to a C-section scar (and no this is not my belly but one I found with a similar scar). The worse part of my recovery was not being able to pick anything up more than 10 pounds for 6 weeks (and taking it easy). I am not a patient patient.

The pain was bad as well but I controlled it with ibuprofen and Tylenol. I found that this combo was more effective than opioids that I wanted to avoid.

Now, I am so glad that I got my hysterectomy! My abdomen lacks grapefruit, I can wait to pee, and my colon is happy. Also, it is a lot more fun to have sex with my partner as the fibroids caused pain when they were pushed on.

Please take a look at the signs and go to your doctor if you think your uterus is becoming a problem. These troubles (large uterine fibroids and uterine prolapse) usually show up in women in their 40s and 50s.

Do you know the signs that you might need a hysterectomy? Have you had one and would like to share your experience? Thanks for everyone for sharing!!


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23 Comments:

Thank you, Lisa, for sharing your experience and for the helpful information about this procedure. Please know how much you are valued and appreciated! Glad you are doing well.

on March 5, 2020

At 57 I had a hysterectomy due to bleeding after menopause which is a potential indicator of cancer.it was endometrial cancer, and it was caught very early. It is vital for women who have gone through menopause to know it is not normal to have any type of bleeding. Mine was a light pink discharge, not even full bloody discharge and my doctor got me into a specialist for a biopsy right away and then surgery. They saved my life. I Am now heading toward three years of being cancer free.

on March 5, 2020

Thank you, Lisa, for this helpful information that we can all share with our friends. I am so happy for your successful resolution.

on March 5, 2020

I am having a hysterectomy (for prolapsed uterus) and Cystocele (bladder is bulging into vagina) repair in 2 weeks. This is something no one talks about. I have done a lot of research and this is very common. I am hoping my bladder issues will be much better and able to exercise more comfortably.

on March 5, 2020

I had a hysterectomy in May of 2018 after years of putting up through endomeiosis-related debilitating peri menopausal symptoms. Endomeiosis is a condition that causes the endometrial tissue to grow in the interstitial uterine muscle tissues rather than just on its walls. The recovery took a little longer than I expected but In terms of quality of life surgeries it was only second to lasik at 41.

And while I’m at it: Menopause is another thing we should all talk about more. Yes it is natural and it can also be brutal. There are so many easy ways to assuage the unease it can cause and yet women are just expected to buckle down and deal.

on March 5, 2020

@Viola - I think talking about menopause is a great idea. Thanks for your comment and suggestion!!! xxooxo

on March 5, 2020

Thanks for sharing such a personal issue. So glad everything turned out well 😁

on March 5, 2020

Thank you so much for talking about this. So glad you were helped by this and that you are doing well. Appreciate you looking out for us.

Blessings!

on March 5, 2020

Thank you for sharing this! Please be aware that your symptoms are very similar to what I experienced with ovarian cancer. Five days in hospital for debunking surgery, six rounds of chemo, and a very long recovery. Am blessed to be cancer free for nearly 3 years, when the average survival rate for my late stage is 16 months.

on March 5, 2020

Thank you for sharing. I had a hysterectomy at 46. It was 5 years ago and one of the best decisions I ever made. I suffered with the same symptoms you described and kept thinking they would pass. Turned out I had many fibroid tumors and a very large uterus. Tylenol and a large freezer ice pack were my saviors for the pain. It was more painful than my c-sections were. I was off work for 8 weeks and read a lot of books.

on March 5, 2020

At 54, I too was diagnosed with endometrial cancer and needed a hysterectomy - caught early but going thru follow-up radiation right now. I wasn't officially in menopause, but had abnormal bleeding. Fortunately, I was able to have robotic laparoscopic surgery and the downtime was minimum. I could have even gone home the same day.

on March 5, 2020

Thanks so much for the info. I had a hysterectomy in my 40's after some extremely heavy (throwing clots) periods which seem to have lasted forever! Heavy duty pads would last about an hour or two. Ugh! Don't miss the organ, but my usual results were...is it hot in here or just me! It was me!

Thanks again! We all need to 'stick together!' Information and sharing is the most powerful 'tool!'

on March 5, 2020

Thank you SO much for sharing this. Everyone talks about pregnancy and childbirth but nobody talks about fibroids and hysterectomies. I had issues a few years ago and felt like I was alone in the wilderness. And invisible.

on March 5, 2020

I had a hysterectomy in 2001. I was having HEAVY periods that lasted about 2 weeks and then in 2 weeks I'd have another one. I found out I was severely anemic when I went to donate blood. Had a complete hysterectomy a few weeks later. Every thing was removed through my vagina so I don't have any scars. That's just the way my doctor did them. He said that I had a fibroid the size of a small melon in my uterus and an orange in one ovary. Took a month off work and wished I'd taken 6 weeks. Talked to a couple of women where I worked who were going to need hysterectomies and worried about it. I gave one all of my supplies since wouldn't be needing them any more. I relieved a lot of their worries when I told them about mine. When menopause started I started taking hormones, but new doctor said I shouldn't take them. I tried to stop but couldn't function at work, burning up and then freezing after soaked with sweat, insisted on going back on them until I retired. At least now the hot flashes are down to barely warm flashes unless I have soy, then they heat back up again. Now I have hypothyroidism which has it's own set of problems. But am thrilled to have no more periods!

on March 5, 2020

Thank you for sharing. This is an important topic. I did not know about the symptoms you mentioned.

on March 5, 2020

At age 69 I experienced slight vaginal bleeding. My gyn (a woman!) at first was skeptical and only after I insisted that it was, in fact, vaginal did she perform an ultrasound and attempted unsuccessfully a uterine biopsy - she stated that she did not want to perform an unnecessary D&C instead assured me that 6 months of hormones would thin out the endometrium - it did not. At that point I insisted on a D&C - the diagnosis was complex hyperplasia with atypia indicative of uterine cancer - this was after a 9 month delay caused by the gyn.

I then consulted a gynecological oncologist, had a hysterectomy and the uterine cancer diagnosis was confirmed (stage 1B).

My surgery was laproscopic Da Vinci. During the surgery, in addition to the general anesthesia, my oncologist used Exparel - an injectable local anesthetic which numbs the tissue around the surgical area and helps control pain for 72 hours. I had minimal discomfort from the surgery and did not need any other pain meds.

After recovery from surgery I had brachytherapy (radiation with implants in the vagina). I had no ill effects from the radiation and, 18 months later, am cancer free.

on March 5, 2020

Pretty much the same comments as Linda above. Had a complete hysterectomy when I was 48. My daily walk became so hard that I was ready to lay down in the middle of the street for a nap. Was so endemic that the doctor feared I’d have a stroke. I’d been bleeding 2 weeks on and 2 weeks of for months. As soon as the surgery was done, I was put on hormones. The best thing that ever happened, outside of the surgery. I am now 70 and I will be on the hormones till I die. Better nobody try to take them away from me! According to my insurance company, they are optional medication so they won’t cover. I order from the UK at a fraction of what it would cost here. Quality of life is important to me. Never fear a surgery that will make your life better.

on March 5, 2020

So GLAD that you are doing well! Thank you for sharing another valuable topic.

on March 5, 2020

Yes, I had a hysterectomy a year ago. The only symptom I had was vaginal bleeding and I was 66 years young. My surgery was done robotically with the surgeon. You get little incisions on your belly. Not the big cut as you get with a regular hysterectomy. There was no pain afterwards, honestly. Post, post op, I felt a lot better physically and mentally. I can't explain it, but I was able to lose weight following WW and I've tried it many, many times. This time the weight was coming off that I got scared that maybe I had cancer because it was coming off at a nice pace, which never happened before. My gut feeling is the hysterectomy had a lot to do with. And that's my opinion. I never thought that I would have a hysterectomy. It never entered my mind.

on March 5, 2020

Thank you for sharing - and such an interesting topic for Snack Girl! I actually just had a hysterectomy in October. I had been consistently having issues with cramps and bleeding and now being 48, I checked with my doctor but I was not menopausal. So she decided for an IUD - but when inserting it, found polyps. She removed one for testing and found uterine cancer and referred me immediately to an oncologist. Within 3 weeks I was having a full hysterectomy. I have to say outside of sometimes being too hot and sometimes being too cold - I really feel so much better now. Instead of staying quiet I shared my story with my friends on FB, to make sure that everyone remembers that if something doesn’t feel right/good see you’re doctor and see what’s what!

on March 6, 2020

thank you for sharing your story. I also have fibroids, but I chose not to do a hysterectomy. I do not have any symptoms. My doctors had always said that normally if you have no symptoms, they will leave them alone, and then when you hit menopause, they usually start shrinking. So keep that in mind if you are approaching menopause -- they will shrink and possibly the symptoms will subside. Just an FYI. Again, thank you for sharing.

on March 6, 2020

I had a hysterectomy when, after several months of heavy and long periods, I bled so much over 24 hours that I required a transfusion to survive. Mine was the full abdominal incision with my ovaries removed as well. I didn't have issues with the 6 weeks off work as I was able to walk (I didn't take pain medication, just stopped moving when it started to hurt) after a few days. What surprised me was that it took several months to recover my stamina for my daily life. I hadn't realized how fully I expended my energy each day until after my surgery.

I felt so much better after my surgery that the short term discomfort of the surgery was tolerable as I knew it would pass. I used the pain I experienced when moving around to let me know how long I could go. It hurt to walk upright during the first week but I did it in short bursts anyway because I knew I would recover better if I kept moving. After the first week, I could walk slowly for several minutes without pain. When I started to hurt, I stopped. Each day I walked at length at least once a day and the length of time, my speed and my stride length increased until at about 6 weeks, I was close to my presurgery walking. At that point, my doctor let me return to work. My one regret was that I wish I had worked less than full time for the first 3 months. I so often had to skip the rest of my life during that time because my stamina was exhausted by my job. Still that got better too.

Thanks for talking about this!

on March 9, 2020

This won't be helpful to most because my circumstances were unusual. I had an emergency hysterectomy directly after my son was born when they could not stop the bleeding and I was bleeding out. Luckily I was at Hopkins and have an excellent ob/gyn and she knew what was happening and in my mind she saved my life. I was in the hospital for a month because of other fallout from the ordeal but the Drs. at Hopkins said they don't usually get to follow up with people in my situation so I am fortunate. I have a lovely scar as well and I do still have my ovaries, just the uterus was removed. This was helpful as I did not jump into menopause immediately. However, now years later I am in menopause which I do not love. I have been on medication for a couple years for it and tried to stop about 6 months ago but the hot flashes at night are just too much so I went back on it. The realities of getting older!

on March 12, 2020


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