Body & Fitness

Hysterectomy questions and answers

What you need to know about this potentially life-changing procedure.

Being told you need a hysterectomy can be daunting and you may be so busy worrying about the actual procedure that you don’t think about how it will affect you afterwards.

Will I automatically go through menopause if I have a hysterectomy?

If you have a hysterectomy, you will go through what is known as surgical menopause, and no longer have periods. But just how else your body is affected depends on whether your ovaries are removed or not. If you’ve still got them, you may not experience other symptoms like hot flushes because your body is still producing hormones. You may not have any symptoms as long as your ovaries continue to function normal or until you reach the age of expected natural menopause. However, in around 50% of cases, ovaries retained after a hysterectomy can stop working properly within three years of having the operation.

Will having a hysterectomy affect my sex drive?

Again, it depends whether you still have your ovaries. If you do and they are still producing hormones, you probably won’t notice any difference. In fact, many women report an increased libido as they’ve got rid of the uncomfortable or painful symptoms that made the hysterectomy necessary. However, if your ovaries have been removed, there will be a drop in hormones, the same as natural menopause, and you may notice a decreased sex drive and problems like vaginal dryness. Talk to your doctor about ways of dealing with this.

Do I still need to have smear tests after having a hysterectomy?

If your cervix has not been removed then you still need to have regular cervical smear tests. If you’ve had a total hysterectomy – in which both the uterus and cervix have been taken out – then you don’t usually need smears. However, in some cases your doctor may advise you to have them, for example if you have a history of abnormal cell changes or have had the hysterectomy because you have cervical cancer. If smear tests are recommended the smear will be taken from the vagina.

I get really bad PMS. Will I still have it once I’ve had a hysterectomy?

It’s your ovaries that pump out the hormones that cause PMS so having them removed will put a stop to this condition. If you still have them then there is a chance you will still have the monthly symptoms. However, some studies show that around 75% of women who have a hysterectomy and still have their ovaries notice a significant improvement in PMS symptoms within a year.

**What happens to the eggs my ovaries release when I’ve had my uterus removed?

**Any released eggs fall into the pelvic cavity and are absorbed into tissue.

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