Potential Side Effects and Complications of a Hysterectomy

Consider the short- and long-term effects before your surgery

There are potential side effects and complications to having a hysterectomy and these may occur right away (short term) or later on (long term). These problems may also vary depending on your age and whether you are 29, 40, or 70.

In order to make the best choice

important to know these as well as other options and alternatives

as high as 40 percent to 50 percent of women prior to age 60 - 33 percent

Side Effects vs. Complications/Risks

For the purpose of this article, it's helpful to make a clear distinction between side effects and complications. Side effects are symptoms that are relatively common and for which you should be prepared. For example, pain in your incision after the surgery. Complications are less common and often unexpected. Most people will have some side effects with a hysterectomy, but many will make it through without any complications. complications may be thought of as risks

Short- vs. Long-Term Problems

it's equally as important to distinguish between short-term and long-term problems after your surgery. Most patient information available talks about what you can expect over soon after the surgery, but in order to make an educated decision, it's important to have some idea about how the surgery may affect you years or even decades later. An example, increased risk of heart disease.

Factors That Affect Risk and Side Effects

here or below

ab, lap, robotic, vag


menopausal status

why the surgery is being done


weight - overweight and obese women more likely to have complications


Short-Term Side Effects


After the surgery, your physician will tell you how long you should take off from work. The length of time will depend on your health condition and what type of hysterectomy you had. You will need help with routine activities such as child care, shopping, and housework. You won't be able to drive while you are still on narcotic medications for pain, which are often given for two weeks after surgery.

You'll increase your activity gradually day by day and you may be able to resume your normal activities within four to six weeks. The recovery time may be less if the operation was performed vaginally or through the laparoscope.

Side effects immediately after a hysterectomy will depend on the type of hysterectomy you have done, but often include


anesthesia may feel nausea, sometimes foggy for a few days

Fatigue - major surgery


wt gain?

Absence of Menses (Without Oophorectomy)

sig number of women wree unaware that they would no longer get periods

some thought they would still be able to get pregnant not

even though you will no longer get periods, if you are ovulating you may experience monthly changes such as PMS/PMDD


depends on procedure

with lap robotic small incisions larger with abdominal proceudre

Surgical Menopause (With Oophorectomy)

You are likely to experience symptoms similar to regular menopause, which may include:

  • Hot flashes
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Night sweats
  • Mood swings


grief - loss

Sexual changes

abstain for period of time, some recommend 6 weeks

Short-Term Complications

There are a number of complications that can potentially occur either during a hysterectomy or in the days or weeks after.

Reaction to anesthesia




wound infection

Excess Bleeding

some people donate blood for themselves prior to surgery (or ask someone to donate for them)

Injury to Other Pelvic/Abdominal Organs

arteries, veins, nerves, bladder, urethra, bowel,

Keloid Scar Formation

esp dark skinned women

Bladder Problems

Blood Clots

Nearly any surgery can increase your risk of developing a blood clot, though it is more common with pelvic surgery than some others. blood clots in the legs (deep vein thrombosis) can sometimes break off and travel to the lungs (pulmonary emboli). Your doctor will encourge you to get up and move around as quickly as possible and may recommend that you wear .... pneumatic compression stockings during and after surgery

Sexual Issues

Sex might be different for you after hysterectomy. While many women find their sex life improves or stays the same after hysterectomy, some experience decreased desire, a decrease in frequency and intensity of orgasms, and pain during intercourse.

The Boston University School of Medicine reports that of the 1,200 women seen post-hysterectomy, "very few" patients reported sexual dysfunction, but emphasizes this topic requires more research. Some data analysis reveals that women who kept their cervix had no functional loss, but those who underwent cervix removal reported sexual dysfunction. A review published in 2014 found that hysterectomy for benign disease usually had beneficial effects on sexual function, but about 10 to 20 percent of women had deteriorated sexual function. Hysterectomy for a gynecologic malignancy was more often associated with a worsening of sexual function.

some women pain with intercourse

Long-Term Effects

even when ovaries are not removed, many women go through menopause a few years earlier than they otherwise would.

potential. important to note that most people will not experience all of these and many will not experience any

Persistent Pelvic Pain

chronic pain


"falling" of pelvic organs - 12 percent fo women later require surgery for this


legs or abdomen


vag shortening with radical

Sexual Problems


Bowel Dysfunction

Fistula Formation

Heart-Related (Cardiac)

increased risk with or without oophorectomy at same time

women who had a hysterectomy but ovaries were left

dyslipid 14

increased BP 13 percent higher

Increased weight 18 percent higher

33 percent increased risk heart disease

worse for young women

less than age 35, 4.6 times higher risk of CHF and 2.5 times increased risk of CAD

(endometriosis associated with an increased risk of heart disease, especially in younger women and also increased BP and increased cholesterol)

(. Oophorectomy appears to be associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease, as well as deleterious effects on overall mortality, cognitive functioning, and sexual functioning. Estrogen deficiency from surgical menopause is associated with bone mineral density loss and increased fracture risk. )) but these women had ovaries left behind! - conclusion, oophorectomy detrimental before age 45

Adhesions/ Bowel Obstruction


Making a Decision

Looking at all of the potential problems related to a hysterectomy can seem daunting, important to remember that most women do not.....

1 in 3 women in U.S.! by age 60 - (second most common surgicL PROCEDURE in world in 2013)

important to balance these

A Word From Verywell


can reduce risk of spreak... cervical ca etc. can stop heavy bleeding, bad cramps, etc. and improve quality of life

weight both

be aware of alterntives

no right or wrong choice, only what is best for you as an individual - may hear strong opinions keep in mind that women have hysterectomies for different reasons and, in addition to several different tyeps of procedures, different skill level of surgeons.

different than a decade ago


If your doctor has recommended a hysterectomy, you should consider the side effects that may occur after surgery. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists notes that you and your doctor should discuss your options and alternatives. Hysterectomy is major surgery and it should always be considered carefully, weighing the risks and benefits.

Possible side effects depend on a number of things, including your age, pre-existing health conditions, whether you are still having periods, and the type of hysterectomy that is done. Here is what you might experience.

A Word From Verywell

Women have a growing number of options for the type of hysterectomy surgery they can have and alternatives to surgery. Explore this with your doctor so you understand her recommendations for you and what you may expect after surgery.

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