Women have a hysterectomy for many different reasons. They wish to solve problems such as pain, discomfort or a collection of symptoms that make life difficult and emotionally challenging.
Health Reasons For A Hysterectomy
From the Jean Hailes website:
· Heavy bleeding such as fibroids
· Severe pain and discomfort
· Prolapse of uterus
· Persistent pelvic pain
· Chronic pelvic inflammatory disease
· Cancer or precancerous conditions
Having an hysterectomy can certainly be the answer. However like many medical interventions and medicines there can be drawbacks. Side effects and results can vary from person to person as we are all different.
Do I really Need a Hysterectomy?
While we accept that medications can be helpful, we also accept the side effects. However, when we have a hysterectomy, an operation is often sold to us as a final solution. Obviously an operation is not a revolving door and cannot be undone.
Therefore having a hysterectomy, or making the decision to have a hysterectomy is one that shouldn't be made lightly, without a thorough investigation of all avenues open for treatment of the symptoms you are experiencing.
Side Effects of Hysterectomy – Even Years After Surgery
Unfortunately, for some people a hysterectomy, has a successful operation, healing is completed, though sometimes post hysterectomy pain or strange sensations may remain.
Alternatively, all can be well for years, then pain returns. Impossible if organs have been removed - right?
When I researched this exact result I found groups online who were using terminology such as:
· phantom uterus cramps
· phantom ovary pain
· phantom pains after hysterectomy
· phantom cramps after hysterectomy
· phantom uterus pain
To me this terminology seems a logical use of words. We describe phantom limb pain when we lose an arm. Or phantom organ pain when a kidney or gall bladder is removed.
Phantom Hysterectomy Pain - Not Medical Terminology
However I do suggest this isn’t used as medical terminology that your pain specialist would recognise. I cannot find recent research that uses this term of phantom hysterectomy pain, although I can in older research papers.
Why You Can Have Pain - Years After Having A Hysterectomy?
Reasons you may be given for post-surgical hysterectomy pain is this chronic pain can be due to the injury of nerves during surgery. Nerves do indeed take a long time to heal. Also the cause of pain years later, after seemingly successful surgery, is due to the formation of scar tissue.
I think there is more we need to take into consideration. Reproductive organs are part of being a woman, not just physically but emotionally and spiritually. For this reason it's important to take a holistic approach to aftercare when having a hysterectomy.
If months later you're having hysterectomy post operative pains and sensations that you feel are strange or weird. Don't worry you're not alone. There are other women who have experienced these after effects, but it can be a challenge or even embarrassing to bring these up with your friends and even more so with doctors and specialists.
An interesting fact often overlooked is the brain connections we have with our reproductive organs. Of course you say, now you mention it Jean, they must be connected?
Something is controlling the whole operation! Our Brain!
Is Our Brain, Uterus And Ovaries Connected?
Ovarian-brain connection is essential for regulating physical functions. Perhaps we should consider the uterus-ovary-brain system instead of just the ovary-brain system. Research is now showing that a non-pregnant uterus is not just a redundant dormant organ because of the connections it has to the brain.
There is now considerable research being done on the effects that a hysterectomy can have on cognition and emotional disturbances. Also, it's now being shown and investigated that there may be a relationship between hysterectomy and dementia.
Negative Neurological Outcomes After Hysterectomy
Scientists are starting to explore the complicated connection between the uterus, the ovaries, and the brain to better understand how removing these organs can impact a women’s health. In an article by Solopova (2022) several concerns are raised about possible negative outcomes from a hysterectomy and the need to pay attention to neurological complications.
· Chronic post operative pain
· Sexual and sleep disorders
· Decreased cognition
· Lower urinary tract and bowel dysfunction
Hysterectomy, apart from having a caesarean, is the most commonly performed gynaecological surgery globally. Although having a hysterectomy can solve many problems and treat disease there can be complications that reduce the quality of life for some women. More recent progress has been to minimise the impact of surgery and the preservation of reproductive organs. Both of these to reduce side effects and their future impact on daily living.
One area that is now being investigated due to a realisation that a non-pregnant uterus is not a redundant organ as it has interrelated connections to the brain and other gynaecological parts of the body.
It therefore means that emotional and neurological treatments can be useful for chronic pain that develops following a hysterectomy to which Natural Pain Solutions in my own clincal experience is dedicated to.
Finally when we consider the negative impact on quality of life, going forward, do we also need to use more diverse, holistic treatments during the initial days and weeks following a hysterectomy operation.
Solopova A.G., Blinov D.V., Begovich E., Sandzhieva L.N., Demyanov S.V., Demyanov G.V. Neurological disorders after hysterectomy: from pathogenesis to clinical manifestations. Epilepsy and paroxysmal conditions. 2022;14(1):54-64.