Nicole’s Vaginal Hysterectomy
Age at Surgery 28
Location: Eau Claire, WI, USA
I have poly-cystic ovarian syndrome w/ known hormonal imbalance related to insulin resistance and excess production of androgens. As a result, I had been on birth control pills (Yasmin) for years even though it was not needed to prevent pregnancy. I also have a significant family history of hormone-related cancer (endometrial/breast), suffered from primary dysmenorrhea, noted presence of adenomyosis and history of fertility treatments (increase in cancer risks associated with hormone exposure)……… coupled with the fact that I have 5 healthy biological children and my husband had already had a vasectomy 3 years prior (during our last unexpected pregnancy). My hysterectomy was primarily preventative. Due to my family history, my doctor was against ablation as an alternative treatment.
I had my surgery on 8/28 after deciding to have surgery on 8/17 so there was little time to prepare, though I was very confident in my decision. I had anxiety about anesthesia so I opted to go under general instead of the spinal block option. I arrived at the hospital at 6am and was headed into surgery at 8:30. I was out of surgery after 56 minutes (TVH kept both ovaries) and woke up in post-op at a little after 12-noon. Got to surgical recovery at 1:30 and removed my catheter and was up peeing at 1:40pm. I stayed in the hospital until the next morning at 10am. During the first 24 hours I had significant discomfort, lots of abdominal pressure and bloating. I also experienced significant pressure in my vagina and rectum. I was using oxycodone and ibuprofen to manage pain. I had a little blood in my urine the first 3-4 times from the catheter as well.
When I got home my first few days were rough, just discomfort, bloated, pressure, lots of lower back pain and feeling very tired. I had no appetite and difficulty having a bowel movement so on day 3 I started stool softeners (narcotic meds don’t help that). I continued the oxy and ibuprofen until day 6 and then went to just Tylenol and ibuprofen. I bought some magnesium citrate to help go #2 on day 5 as the stool softeners were not enough.
For me, as a Mother of 5, being lazy and healing was a huge challenge. My Mom stayed at our house for 3 days which was a tremendous help. My husband was very supportive and took a week off work as well since our kids were off for Summer break still.
By day 7 I was nearly feeling normal again which caused me to push myself a little more than I should have. I had a little pink/brown spotting on day 7-20 off and on but otherwise, my other symptoms had pretty well stopped. I was slightly bloated til about day 14.
I returned to class (going back to finish my Masters) on day 8 and had my husband drop me off and pick me up to reduce the amount of walking I did. It was difficult as I was still very tired most days but it went well. I was becoming very restless and returned to work early on 9/18 as well (21 days post-op). Then on 10/5 I had my post-op exam, the OBGYN had to do a little cauterization with silver nitrate due to a skin ‘flap’ that had grown over the stitch area so I had 7 additional days of pelvic rest (husband was not thrilled). On 10/12 we finally had sex for the first time and it was a little uncomfortable, felt almost bruised like, but no issues. We waited another 6 days before trying again and that time it was very pleasant and I really felt ‘healed’ than. Orgasm felt the same, maybe even a little better, in fact now at 9 weeks post-op I find sex to be much better than before. My cervix used to be very sensitive, especially in the 2nd half of my cycle when my cervix was much lower, not having that anymore is amazing. I also feel like my vagina is ‘smaller’ and my husband says it feels even tighter (I have had 5 vaginal delivers so that’s a plus).
Overall, I am very glad I had the total vaginal hysterectomy (kept both ovaries)! I have no regrets at all.
Since my hysterectomy, I have felt really good. Not worrying about periods has been wonderful, I have now missed my 2nd one and love it. I have not had much for side effects since I kept my ovaries. I have noticed a significant amount of hair shedding in the past couple weeks which was worrisome but my doctor said its very normal after a hysterectomy, even when you keep the ovaries.
I have been on a low carb diet since 8/1 and so I had been losing weight prior to surgery but since surgery, I have continued and so I’ve now lost 46 lbs (34 to go after my 5 pregnancies).
I am having my thyroid checked next week because I’ve been experiencing cold hands/feet + hair loss but it could just be the surgery and weight loss.
My experience has been pretty wonderful honestly and I’d highly recommend it to anymore who has health risks or quality of life concerns with keeping their uterus. I am also a supporter in a TVH due to no external incision and the risks associated with keeping your cervix when there is no benefit to doing so. I didn’t want to risk cervical cancer, needing PAP smears still, having to spot from endometrial cells on the outside of the cervix remain, or having painful intercourse, so I’m glad I had them remove the entire uterus.
If you have the surgery just remember that laxatives/stool softeners are your best friend. Also that stomach bloating is normal, uncomfortable but does get better and the more you relax the faster it goes away.