What is a Vaginal Hysterectomy? -
The uterus is a part of the reproductive system of a woman. Some reasons call for its surgical removal, through the vagina, and this process is called vaginal hysterectomy. With vaginal hysterectomy, a woman becomes sterile and is unable of becoming pregnant. There are other names for this procedure like laparoscopic hysterectomy, radical hysterectomy, abdominal hysterectomy, supracervical hysterectomy and removal of the uterus.
A Hysterectomy Vaginal is when the vagina is stretched and kept open by special instruments. There are no external incisions made. There is however an internal incision at the top of the vagina around the cervix. The uterus and cervix are then cut from their supporting ligaments and surrounding tissue, and then the connecting blood vessels are tied off. The uterus and cervix are then removed through the vagina.
The main reasons vaginal hysterectomy is opted for is tumors like uterine fibroids or cancerous cells in the uterus. Cervical cancer and ovarian cancer are other reasons for the surgery. Cases where endometriosis results in severe pain and there is no response to non-surgical treatments also need vaginal hysterectomy. Women suffering from prolapse of the uterus, had suffered complications in childbirth, or have long term bleeding that does not respond to medications, are better off with vaginal hysterectomy.
After vaginal hysterectomy, most women usually recover from all their symptoms that had led to hysterectomy. By removing the uterus and ovaries, women end in menopause wherein estrogen replacement therapy is usually indicated. Women are of the impression that hysterectomy results in reduced sexual function. However, the woman's sexual function generally functions as it did prior to the operation. However if there are cases of reduction of sexual functioning, it is better to consult the doctor for its possible reasons.
Vaginal hysterectomy needs about 2 to 3 days stay in the hospital while complete recovery needs 2 weeks to 2 months. However, vaginal and laparoscopic hysterectomies heal faster than abdominal hysterectomy and are less painful. Pain relievers are administered intravenously or orally after surgery and a catheter may be used for 2 days for easy passing of urine. It is better to move about as fast as possible as this avoids blood clots in the legs. It is advised to walk to the bathroom as soon as possible and normal diet is adapted once bowel functions return. However, it is not advised to lift heavy objects for a few weeks, and there should be no sexual intercourse for 6 to 8 weeks after surgery.
Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully during your recovery period. Avoid heavy lifting, get plenty of rest, and have regular checkups after the surgery. Always contact your doctor if you experience heavy bleeding, fever, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, pain during urination, a leaking or open incision, or leg pain, swelling, or redness. If you have both ovaries removed, you will benefit from estrogen replacement therapy to reduce the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis (brittle bone disease). Some women experience changes in sex drive and some weight gain after a hysterectomy. Seek support and advice from your doctor on these issues.
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