23 Mar 2020News
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS INTERVENTION FOR REMOVING THE UTERUS
1) Can fibroids affect my sex life? Can I become depressed?
Although hysterectomy is the second most common surgical intervention in women of childbearing age after cesarean section, there is still a lack of knowledge about the true physical and psychological consequences of this procedure.
According to a study published in 2009 by the Chilean Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, women who have had their uterus removed are flooded with the feeling of "loss", which implies pain, sadness and loneliness.
The gynecologist Reinaldo Gonzalez Ramos, specialist in reproductive medicine and assistant professor at the Maternal and Child Research Institute of the University of Chile, specified that NOT all women suffering from these diseases should undergo this operation.
2) What physical consequences does this operation bring to patients?
The doctor Reinaldo González Ramos explained that the main physical consequence of hysterectomy are scars. Their appearance depends on the type of operation they undergo. For example, abdominal hysterectomy leaves a scar similar to a c-section.
Regarding the possibilities of developing urinary incontinence after the operation, studies indicate that it can affect women two years after surgery, although Dr.González assured those were rare cases.
However, like any major surgery, hysterectomy is not without its complications. The most frequent (from 5% to 10%) are infections, either of the surgical wound or of the vaginal vault.
Less frequent (less than 1%) are urinary tract injuries (bladder or ureters), intestinal or nerve injuries, hemorrhages or bruises. In addition to opening scars.
The physical consequences mentioned above are the only ones that affect women. In this sense, the professional explained that hysterectomy does not cause loss hair or increase it. He also ruled out that the appearance of wrinkles on the skin is accelerated in a woman who underwent this operation.
In cases where the removal of the uterus is accompanied by the removal of the ovaries (oophorectomy), early menopause occurs. In these cases, the woman experiences hot flashes, headaches, decreases the elasticity of the skin or vaginal lubrication. However the symptoms are relieved with hormone replacement therapy.
3) Will I lose sexual desire if my uterus is removed?
"I lost what was most mine, the most womanly that I had", "I will no longer be the same woman", "It is very sad as a woman, the essence is lost", were responses given by some patients who participated in a study carried out by the School of Nursing of the Catholic University of Chile and published in the Chilean Journal of Gynecology
In this sense, the loss of sexual desire is the main fear of women. Since the beginning of humanity, the uterus has been synonymous with femininity, sexuality, reproduction and motherhood. The removal of this organ constitutes the loss of a part of existence.
Faced with this question, the specialist Reinaldo González explained that after the immediate post-surgical recovery, approximately 1 month after the operation, sexual desire and enjoyment usually improve a lot, since the underlying pathology that caused discomfort, pelvic pain, bleeding, or other symptoms has been eliminated.
He assured that it is very rare that after this period the woman experiences loss of desire or sexual dysfunctions. He added that in these cases these disorders existed before the hysterectomy.
Regarding the conclusions of the study carried out by professionals from the Pontifical Catholic University, it stands out that "the loss that women experience, and therefore the feelings that they refer to in relation to the extraction of the uterus, are associated with the role that they develop in society, and therefore to the expectations they have of them in relation to having children, being a mother and being a wife".
On this topic, the specialist from the reproductive medicine unit of the University of Chile explained that this surgery will be much more traumatic for a woman suffering from obstetric complications. This, because it limits its parity without having programmed it.
"Hysterectomy should be performed on patients who have a disease, most of the time untreatable with other non-surgical methods. That is, it is performed out of necessity to cure or improve a benign or malignant disease. Consequently, it provides relief and healing to the patient".
Dr. Reinaldo González
Challenges for health professionals
In this sense, the role played by health professionals is very important for the recovery of patients. The study applied to 120 women from the Hospital Sotero del Río (between 2003 and 2004) was the first to reveal the meaning that an extraction of the uterus had on them.
He concluded that hysterectomy "is not the removal of any organ. It is the removal of an organ that woman values ââfor the meaning that 'she' has given it, and not for the meaning it may have for the professional who treats her.".
The research also insisted on the importance of "Respecting women, accepting pain and promoting the right environment to contain and educate them, is what every health professional should be prepared to face."
And finally, he gave a recommendation to the professionals who participate in this surgical process: "If you are not available to take on this task, it should be delegated to another specialist who can and wants to do it. Deny the meaning that women give to this surgery would not be fair, much less a correct choice".