Abdominal Hysterectomy

A hysterectomy is a common procedure that some women may need to help stop pain, bleeding, or other problems. It can be done in several ways. One way is called abdominal hysterectomy.

An abdominal hysterectomy is a surgery to remove a woman’s uterus. The uterus is removed through an incision in your abdomen.

The uterus is an organ in the lower abdomen. It’s shaped like an upside-down pear. The opening at the bottom of the uterus is the cervix. The cervix leads into the vagina. The top of the uterus is called the fundus. Two fallopian tubes connect to the uterus near the fundus. The tubes lead to the ovaries. Each month or so, one ovary releases an egg. It travels down the nearest fallopian tube to the uterus.

During a hysterectomy, the whole uterus may be removed. In some cases, just part of it is removed. The ovaries and fallopian tubes may also be removed.

It’s important to know that if you have a hysterectomy, you will no longer have periods and you will not be able to get pregnant.

Reasons for the Procedure

Your health care provider may recommend a hysterectomy for several reasons.

  • You may have cancer of the uterus, ovary, or cervix. You may have tissue growths called fibroids.
  • You might have heavy bleeding during your periods.
  • You may have endometriosis. This is when the tissue from the lining of the uterus also grows outside the uterus.
  • You may have uterine prolapse, which is when your uterus bulges down into your vagina.

These conditions can cause pain, discomfort, bleeding, and other problems. If left untreated, cancer can cause death. A hysterectomy is done only if other treatments will not work for these problems.

During the Procedure

Before the operation, you may need to stop using certain medications. You may be told to quit smoking or stop drinking alcohol. You may not be allowed to eat for a certain number of hours before  the surgery.

The surgery takes about two hours. You will be given medication to make you sleep.

While you are asleep, an incision is made in the lower abdomen. The incision may be horizontal, or side-to-side. Or it may be vertical, or up and down. All or part of the uterus is removed through the incision. The fallopian tubes and ovaries may be removed. If you have cancer, extra tissue from the vagina or around your cervix may be removed as well. The incision is then closed with sutures or staples. It’s then covered with a bandage.

After the Procedure

You probably won’t remember the surgery at all. You will also see that a tube has been put in your bladder to help you urinate. You’ll stay in the hospital for two to three days. You may have pain or cramps, but you will be given medication for pain. Once the tube draining your urine is removed, you may have trouble urinating for a short time. You’ll have vaginal bleeding for a week or so after the surgery.

It can take about six to twelve weeks to fully recover from the surgery. Each woman’s recovery time is different. Check with your healthcare provider before going back to your normal activities.

Things to Remember

  • During an abdominal hysterectomy, part or all of your uterus will be removed. The fallopian tubes and ovaries may be removed as well.
  • It can take six to twelve weeks before you fully recover.
  • You will not get your periods again or be able to get pregnant.

A hysterectomy is a common procedure that can help stop pain, bleeding, and other problems in the abdomen. If you have any questions or concerns, make sure to talk with your healthcare provider.

What We Have Learned

  1. A hysterectomy is done even if medication could treat the problem. True or false?
    The answer is False. A hysterectomy is done only if other treatments will not work.
  2. During a hysterectomy, the fallopian tubes and ovaries may also be removed. True or false?
    The answer is True. One or both fallopian tubes and one or both ovaries may be removed.
  3. After a hysterectomy, you can still get pregnant. True or false?
    The answer is False. After a hysterectomy, you will not be able to get pregnant. You will also not have periods.