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.
A vaginal hysterectomy is a surgery to remove a woman’s uterus. The uterus is removed through the vagina.
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 vaginal hysterectomy, the whole uterus is removed. In some cases, 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 vaginal hysterectomy for several reasons. You may have cancer of the uterus, ovaries, or cervix. You may have tissue growths called fibroids. You may 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. They may lead to future health problems. If left untreated, cancer can cause death. A hysterectomy is done only if other treatments will not work.
What to Expect
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. You might also be given medication to keep you from feeling any pain from the waist down.
While you are asleep, an incision is made in the vagina. This is to separate the uterus from the tissues around it. The uterus is removed through the vagina. The fallopian tubes and ovaries may be removed. If you have cancer, extra tissue from the vagina may be removed as well. In some cases, the healthcare provider may need to switch to an abdominal hysterectomy. This is done by making an incision in the abdomen. This may be done if he or she finds scar tissue inside the abdomen during the vaginal hysterectomy.
After the Procedure
You will stay in the hospital for one to two days after the procedure. You may be in pain and have cramps. You may have trouble urinating for a short time. You will have vaginal bleeding for a week or so after the surgery.
It can take about three to six 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 a vaginal hysterectomy, your uterus will be removed through an opening in your vagina.
- It can take three to six weeks before you completely recover.
- You will never 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
- 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.
- During a vaginal hysterectomy, the healthcare provider may need to switch to an abdominal hysterectomy instead. True or false?
The answer is True. This is done by making an incision in the abdomen. This may be done if he or she finds scar tissue inside the abdomen during the vaginal hysterectomy.
- 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.