A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that removes the uterus or womb. This is where a fetus grows when a woman in pregnant. Although research is being done on uterus transplants, at this time a woman who has a hysterectomy will not be able to get pregnant or give birth. Some hysterectomies are medically necessary. A woman with uterine cancer, for instance, may need a hysterectomy to save her life. Most hysterectomies, however, are elective. Some women choose to have them after years of heavy menstrual bleeding and pain that have not responded to other treatments. Women have several emotional reactions before and after a hysterectomy.
Grief and Sadness
Many women have hysterectomies during their child-bearing years. They may feel sad that they will never give birth to a child, or to another child if they already have one or more. This can be an especially strong reaction in women who have to have a medically necessary emergency hysterectomy. These women don't have time to process their feelings beforehand, so they are left with a lot of grief later. Women in this situation may benefit from attending a physical support group or an online support group.
Some women question their sexual identity after a hysterectomy, especially if their ovaries and their cervix were removed as well. These people may feel like less of a woman, as if they have been "spayed." Often these feelings fade away over time, especially if the woman has a compassionate partner. Women who have had a hysterectomy may also struggle with having sex, especially if sex was painful before the hysterectomy. It may also take several weeks before a woman who has had a hysterectomy can participate in vaginal intercourse. The best solution is to communicate one's feelings with one's one's partner.
For some women, a hysterectomy brings relief. Many women endure years of pain due to cysts and other conditions. They may also experience heavy bleeding and multiple miscarriages. When these symptoms are alleviated, a woman if likely to feel relief. Of course, relief is sometimes combined with sadness and awkwardness. A woman may be sad, for instance, that she can no longer have children but relieved that she is no longer in constant pain.
Having a hysterectomy can lead to many emotions. Some of these feelings are pleasant, but others can be difficult and painful. If you have had a hysterectomy and experience negative feelings that last longer than a couple of weeks, it may help to speak to your doctor or to a counselor. They can help you work though feelings of loss and regret.