After years of thinking about it, and struggling with menstrual issues, I decided to have a hysterectomy at just 32 years of age. It’s been a hard journey but I am very happy with my choice and I know it was the right path for me to take.
Before I went in for my surgery, I tried to do as much research as I could and wanted to find personal experiences to read about. Those blogs and videos I found were so comforting and made me feel much better about the surgery itself so I wanted to do the same for others. I’ve put together some questions & answers about my experience to hopefully help someone else going through this.
*Disclaimer; This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding hysterectomy. This is just my personal experience.
Why did you choose to have a hysterectomy?
Long story short, I have suffered from PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome), extremely heavy & sporadic menstrual cycles, painful migraines, PMS, and hormonal imbalance since puberty. After many years of being in pain and dealing with these symptoms I knew it was the right thing to do. My husband was very supportive and we agreed we were done having children. We are blessed with our two boys and our family is complete.
When I reached out to my doctor he gave me paperwork to look through and told me to come back in 3 months to discuss it again. I called back the next day and went back a week later with my mind made up.
What is the exact procedure you had done?
I had a laparoscopic hysterectomy, which means it was a minimally invasive outpatient procedure performed with robotic assistance. To learn more about this type of hysterectomy click here, there are even educational videos available to watch. My doctor preferred this method because I was a good candidate and it involves less recovery time. I went into the operating room around 10am that day and was discharged by 6pm that evening.
What is the incision site & is it noticeable?
I have four very tiny incisions; 1 in my belly button and 3 in different areas in my lower abdomen. They are not noticeable and healed very nicely.
Did you have everything removed?
No, I kept my ovaries. I have Prothrombin Gene Mutation and am at a higher risk for blood clots so I cannot take hormones. Removing my ovaries would mean I needed to be on hormones and that would do more harm than good and it was not medically necessary to lose my ovaries.
Also, since I still have my ovaries I am not experiencing menopause.
How soon after will you no longer have a period?
I was told it was possible to bleed a little bit immediately after surgery but that did not happen to me. I was very lucky in that I did not bleed at all and have not had any residual bleeding in the months following my procedure. It’s important to remember it’s not the same for everyone though.
How is the recovery?
Recovery will be different depending on the type of procedure but for laparoscopic hysterectomy it’s about 2 weeks to go back to normal activities. I was cleared after 2 weeks to do everything except submerge completely in water and the doctor told me to listen to my body and rest as needed.
For the first week I was in a lot of pain and it was difficult to go up and down the stairs, bend down to reach things or even shower. I had a lot of help from my parents and my husband who took on my responsibilities so I could focus on healing and resting. I spent a lot of time sleeping and tried to walk around the house just to get my blood circulating but I spent all my time at home.
By the second week I had a bit strength and was able to shower unassisted, move around more and sit up for longer periods of time. At my 2 week post-op visit my doctor cleared me for resuming daily activities. He did tell me to listen to my body and steer clear of fully submerging in water for a few more weeks. I also was only allowed to walk if I wanted to work out. To be honest, I was always so tired still that exercise was the last thing on my mind.
What changes have you experienced since the surgery?
Other than not having my period anymore (HALLELUJAH!) my hormones have gone a little crazy. I’m going through a tough time with hormonal acne and it seems that I still get cramps periodically. I also feel tired constantly and my migraines are in full swing. I attribute all of this to hormones and it’s all very common from what I have read and others I’ve spoken to who have gone through the same.
As far as mentally, I am at peace with my decision but I still feel strange from time to time. I’m still getting used to the fact I will not longer be able to get pregnant. Even though I’m done having kids, it’s still weird to have that option completely taken away.
How do you feel about it today?
It’s been 20 weeks since I parted ways with my uterus and I feel better than ever. Yes, I still get tired and I know my body is still healing internally but I am doing great!
I’ve continued living my life and enjoying it even more now that I don’t have to worry about my period dropping in whenever it wants to. My menstrual cycle literally controlled me for almost 20 years of my life and I am now finally in control. For me this was an elective procedure because I was not suffering from a life threatening illness like some of the women who end up with a hysterectomy, but it was my best option for a happy, quality life. I don’t regret my decision and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.