Hysterectomy Information

Being informed about hysterectomy and the alternatives can help you make a better, and more informed choice about your own health in the future. The Hysterectomy Association exists to help you make the right choice for your needs. On the site you’ll find masses of information about the menopause/surgical menopause and hormone replacement therapy. Hysterectomy is defined as the surgical removal of the uterus or womb. Use the links at the end of this page or in the right hand menu to find the information you’re looking for.

A hysterectomy may be total, that is removing the whole of the uterus (womb) and the cervix; it may be sub-total, that is removing the uterus or womb but leaving the cervix intact. In addition to the hysterectomy, the ovaries and the fallopian tubes may also be removed, this is called a hysterectomy with bi-lateral salpingo oophorectomy.

According to the Europa website roughly 55,000 hysterectomies are carried out in the UK every year, roughly 38,000 will take place within an NHS hospital. Hysterectomy is one of the most common surgical procedures carried out on women the world over and over 1.2 million take place globally every year. It is estimated that 1 in 5 women will experience the operation at some point in their lives. This figure means that almost one in five of all women will have a hysterectomy at some point in their life. It is what is termed ‘elective surgery’ this means that in most cases it is a choice that a woman has rather than an emergency procedure. It is rarely performed for reasons of saving life, although there are a number of instances where it might be necessary for this reason, for instance in the case of post-partum hemorrhage.

Hysterectomy can, and does, help to ease many gynaecological complaints, including painful and heavy bleeding, endometriosis, fibroids and prolapse of the uterus. It can involve the removal of the womb, the fallopian tubes, the ovaries, part of the vagina, the cervix, the omentum and the ligaments of the abdominal area. Once a hysterectomy has been carried out, a woman will face a major life stage which can be incredibly liberating for many or painful for others.

Following a hysterectomy you will no longer have periods, you will not be fertile and you will not be able to have any more children. There are two main ways to perform a hysterectomy. The most common way is to remove the uterus through a cut in the lower abdomen (abdominal hysterectomy), the second, less common, way is to remove the uterus only through a cut in the top of the vagina, the top of vagina is then stitched (vaginal hysterectomy). Each operation lasts between one to two hours and is performed, in hospital, normally under a general anaesthetic.

The majority of hysterectomies are performed when a woman is aged between 40 – 50, however many do occur before and after this age group. Women who have a hysterectomy that removes their ovaries, as well as other organs, will go through the menopause immediately following the operation (if they haven’t already) regardless of their age, this is known as a surgical menopause. Women who have a hysterectomy that leaves one or both of their ovaries intact have a 50% chance of going through the menopause within five years of their operation, again regardless of their age.

This is the section of the web site where you can find out more information about hysterectomy and what it might mean for you. In addition to pages about women’s health conditions, the alternative options we have sections on the types of hysterectomy, surgical menopause and on hormone replacement therapy. We have also given you some previously published articles about how hysterectomy may impact on personal relationships.

If, as a result of reading this information, you have more questions; please feel free to use our hysterectomy forums or send an email to us at info@hysterectomy-association.org.uk.

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30 thoughts on “Hysterectomy Information

  1. Hi,

    I’m due to have a full hysterectomy soon and am terrified. I’m already obese and although I have lost 5 stones over the last 18months but I need to lose another 5 to be at the top end of my BMI. Can you still lose weight after a hysterectomy with removal of both ovaries??
    I also suffer from constipation and that’s BEFORE the op!!! A friend of mine who is a naturopath recommended high dose vit c which has helped with my bowels but can I take vit c post op?

    Has anyone had a vaginal hysterectomy? If so, how is it better than an incision?

    I feel really lost and uniformed about what to expect. My gynae is great but he is a surgeon and doesn’t do aftercare!
    I have endometrial hyperplasia with grade 1 cancer cells. Currently being treated with hormone therapy but I go for my final biopsy and hysteroscopy in 3 weeks at which point if the cells come back abnormal I will be admitted fort the hysterectomy.

    If anyone has any advice they can share or positive stories it would certainly alleviate my anxiety!!

    Thank you!

  2. Hi, i am just over 2 weeks post op after an abdominal full hysterectomy, I feel fine in myself and wear one of your supports, I have recently had antibiotics incase I had a water infection, which I didn’t, but the thing is I still have pain when passing urine. It does hurt to open my bowels too (normal motion). The pain is one that makes me hold my breath, it’s like bad spasms inside. I am taking peppermint capsules off the Dr to ease wind and to see if this helps. I have had two days that it stopped, then I got severe wind again and had to urgently open my bowels. Since then the pain is back. It doesn’t hurt on my first wee of the day for some reason and the flow is better, more pressure to get it out. Is this normal and if so roughly how long will it last. I have no back ache assisting the pain.
    Thanks 😉

    1. I’d get back to the doctor for a checkup to see if there is another possible infection.

  3. hi ,i am 2 weeks into having a full hysterectomy.my cut and stitches do not hurt ,but all across my stomach is very tender,i wonder how long this will be until i feel less pain

    1. You have been badly brusied during surgery Nicky so it will be a few weeks more before that settles down completely.

  4. Hi Linda
    I’ve had a full abdominal hysterectomy on 4th August. I felt ok at six weeks and tried going back to work at seven weeks. I work in a clothing store part time. I could barely stand at the till for an hour. I went home and have quite a bit of pain, with relief only when I lie down. I went to doctors yesterday and said my tummy is soft so it’s fine. This is now nine and a half weeks in. I have been referred back to my Gynaecologist in two weeks. I still can’t stand for more than five minutes with out pain. I still have quite a bit of swelling aswell. In your experience is this kinda normal? I have been signed off for another two weeks but still don’t think I will be better then.

    1. The swelling takes months, not weeks, to completely go down so that’s normal. Of course the more you do the more swelling you will have. Also the average return to work is between 9 and 13 weeks, longer if you do a job that is physical (like standing around!). It might be worth talking to both the HR department and your GP.

  5. Hi Linda
    Me again, it is 3 weeks today in from having a laproscopic assisted vaginal hysterectomy. I had the uterus, cervix and tubes removed.
    I am a bit concerned, I expected some bleeding after surgery – and was amazed at how little it was, and only lasted a few days or so. However, last week I started losing blood again, I wasn’t unduly concerned, but it seems to be getting heavier…….I also feel that I am running a temperature. The tummy wounds seem to be healing nicely – having had one severe water infection since the surgery, I am worried that this is connected – I can’t stop weeing – like dozens of times a day – which doesn’t seem to be decreasing.
    Do you think that all this normal? Aside from this, I feel great, having been walking for up to an hour a day for the last week or so, trying to build myself up again, but no lifting or anything too strenuous.
    Maybe you could advise?
    Thank you

    1. UTI infections are common after a hysterectomy – you need to see your GP again 🙂

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