Hysterectomy complications are relatively low, with recent studies indicating that only 10 per cent of women who undergo the surgery have reported post-surgical complications. The reason for this low statistic is the rising expertise and rapid surgical improvements in this field. However, all types of hysterectomy surgeries carry an element of risk and hysterectomy operations are no exception. The risks are higher in abdominal hysterectomies as compared to vaginal and laparoscopic hysterectomy procedures.
Hysterectomy Complications Post-Surgery
There may be bleeding during the surgery. In this case, a blood transfusion will be required. Your doctor would probably have told you to donate blood prior to your surgery in order to cover this risk. There may also be moderate to heavy bleeding during the hysterectomy recovery period. Collection of blood at the surgical site is yet another complication that may occur.
Damage and Injury:
There is a risk that the surgery may cause damage to the nearby organs and tissues. Organs close to the uterus are at risk. The tube that connects the kidney to the bladder – the urethra – as well as the bowel may suffer injuries in cases where the cervix is also removed. In severe cases, it may require surgical intervention to repair the damage.
Irritable Bowel and Urinary problems:
The surgery can leave patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Some women suffer from urinary incontinence while others find it difficult to urinate. Most of these issues are stress related.
Hysterectomy Complications in the Long Run
Decreased Sex Drive:
Several women report a decreased appetite for sex post-surgery. This could be due to physical as well as psychological reasons. Hysterectomy may reduce lubrication and thus reduce the ability to enjoy sex, leading to decreased sex drive. Depression is yet another risk associated with hysterectomy and this could lead to a diminished sex life.
Vaginal Prolapse and Urinary Incontinence:
Both urinary incontinence and vaginal prolapse are long term risks associated with hysterectomy. In fact, they could occur even 20 years after the surgery. The reasons are not very well understood, but the risk levels for vaginal prolapse are as high as 80 per cent.
The removal of ovaries during a hysterectomy could lead to a sudden decline in the estrogen levels. This sudden reduction in the hormone level will cause premature menopause. The menopause brought about because of a hysterectomy is known as surgical menopause.
Cardiovascular Disease and Osteoporosis:
Women who undergo hysterectomies are at greater risk of suffering from osteoporosis and bone fractures. This is because the drop in the estrogen levels leads to excessive calcium loss and thus affects bone health. Women who undergo only uterus removal are at three times higher risk of getting cardiovascular diseases. In cases where the ovaries are removed, the risk element goes up to 7 per cent.
Studies indicate that 35% of women who undergo hysterectomy often have to undergo another surgery within 2 years. However, for a large number of women hysterectomy has helped improve the quality of their life.