For the majority of women who have a hysterectomy each year, their quality of life is improved by the surgery as pain, bleeding, concerns about pregnancy and disease are alleviated. Those in the minority, who find a hysterectomy to be a very negative experience, usually attribute those feelings to the inability to have children after the procedure. In those cases, it is not the surgery itself that causes feelings of depression, but the ramifications of not being able to bear children.
One of the negative side effects of having a hysterectomy is the onset of menopause. Those who have the ovaries removed will begin menopause after surgery, but those who retain their ovaries frequently experience menopause earlier than is typical.
After surgery hormone replacement may be necessary. There are risks associated with hormone treatment, but those risks need to be balanced against the patient’s risks for osteoporosis and other conditions.
Women who retain their cervix after surgery should plan to continue having Pap smears as directed by their surgeon, as the risk of cervical disease remains.