Hysterectomy For Severe Bleeding
Interview with Sherry, a married mother of 3. Sherry experienced severe bleeding for five months before having a hysterectomy. The bleeding was severe enough that she experienced anemia. After years of having doctors tell her that she didn't need a hysterectomy, Sherry had finally had enough and decided that she needed surgery to finally resolve the problems she was having.
How old were you at the time of surgery?
Sherry: 49 years old
Why was surgery recommended for you?
Sherry: Severe bleeding – none of the “drug therapies” were able to contain the symptoms.
What kind of symptoms were you experiencing?
Sherry: Bleeding – by the time of the surgery, I had not stopped for almost 5 months and I was becoming anemic.
Were any alternatives to a hysterectomy offered?
Sherry: We had already tried cryosurgery and medication. They didn’t work.
Did you feel like you were being “pushed” toward a hysterectomy?
Sherry: No – I was being pushed away from it. I had asked for three years, and the doctors would not discuss it.
Did your surgeon discuss the option to retain your ovaries, so that menopause would happen naturally, rather than immediately after surgery?
Sherry: The doctor carefully broached removing the ovaries (oophrectomy) based on my age. I stopped her mid-sentence and told her she WOULD take the ovaries since I had taken Clomid two separate times many years before. (My first and second children are Clomid babies. The third child arrived after a run on Weight Watchers.)
Were you well-prepared by your physician for menopause to begin during your recovery?
Sherry: It wasn’t really discussed. I wanted to end my problems so badly, I didn’t care enough to ask.
Were any therapies, such as hormone replacement therapy, offered to help minimize the effects of menopause?
Sherry: I was put on premarin hormone replacements as soon as I could hold food on my stomach after the surgery.
How did you cope with entering menopause so abruptly?
Sherry: Never had a problem.
Can you tell us about your recovery?
Sherry: Painful for a couple of weeks – Tylenol and Darvocet took care of the pain. The first time I could comfortably lay on my left side I was ecstatic. I did get tired without warning for almost 8 weeks but friends told me this could happen. It wasn’t really a problem. I was very careful about how many times a day I went up and down steps.
I also did hire a nurses aide to stay with me for the first week I was home, since I would otherwise be alone in the house.
Against doctor’s wishes, I traveled four weeks after surgery. Her reluctant rules were [that I get] handicapped transportation in the airport, carry nothing (not even a purse) and [that] I could hold my new granddaughter but not lift her up from her crib or the sofa. I discovered that it is possible to sit in the corner of the sofa and cuddle a baby on my shoulder for several hours at a time for two weeks. She was only sort of spoiled by the time I went home.
Did you worry that you would feel less womanly or sexy due to the surgery?
Sherry: Not at all. I could be MORE feminine without all the aggravation of the “monthlies.”
Did you worry that having a hysterectomy would alter your sex life?
Sherry: My husband asked about that and the doctor assured us we would be fine. I never questioned it again.
Most women say that their sex lives are as good, or better than, before the surgery. Would you agree?
Did the hysterectomy improve your symptoms?
Sherry: A million percent!
How is life after hysterectomy?
Sherry: I am so happy to not have to worry about scheduling around my period. No cramps, no pain, no bleeding, no bloating, no mood swings or PMS -- what’s not to like?
If you could make the decision over again, what, if anything, would you do differently?
Sherry: Beg to have the surgery sooner.
If a good friend was considering a hysterectomy, what advice would you offer?
Sherry: Why do they need it? If there is a medical reason, absolutely go for it! She’ll be happy later. Unfortunately, sometimes the surgery comes before parenthood and I understand how those women would not want to rush into ending their child-bearing years.
What do you wish you had known before surgery that you now know?
Sherry: I guess I couldn’t imagine how relieved I am to be rid of all the medical issues surrounding menses. I am completely satisfied with the decision to have surgery and there is really nothing I could wish I would have known. The results have been everything I could have wanted them to be.
Side note: A friend, much younger than I was, was devastated that I was having this surgery and called me in tears. Her comment was that I would never be able to have children again. Let’s see. Forty-nine years old and my youngest child is 19 years old. Hmmmm. I don’t care! I certainly don’t want to start over again with a baby at 49 years old! It’s grandparent time! I can enjoy babies and children without having to raise them myself. That’s just fine. All the fun of children and none of the day to day chores with them. Works for me!
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Editor's Note: The above interview is a personal account of this individual's experience. There is no conclusive evidence that Clomid or any ovulation induction therapy increases the risk of ovarian cancer. There does seem to be evidence, however, that infertility itself is an independent risk factor for ovarian cancer. Past use of Clomid is not an indication for oophrectomy.