A hysterectomy is an invasive procedure that can be life altering. Recovery is long and can encompass many symptoms, including unwanted weight loss or weight gain. You will have to take some time to rest and heal after your surgery. Some women may experience hormonal fluctuations, or changes in activity levels. It is also not uncommon to experience depression and changes in appetite after a major surgery such as a hysterectomy.
If your ovaries are removed during your hysterectomy, you will likely enter medically induced menopause. According to Sophisticated Edge, a professional research organization, this state of induced menopause comes with changes in hormone levels. Female sex hormone levels, including estrogen and progesterone, drop while androgens--male hormones that are usually present in your body--stay the same. This shift in sex hormone ratios can result in weight gain, particularly around your midsection, as this is where men tend to carry excess weight.
After your surgery, you will have to stay off your feet as you recover. Dietitian Juliette Kellow states that this state of inactivity may be coupled with a desire to turn to food for comfort. Because you are moving less and consuming more calories, you may experience unwanted weight gain. Kellow suggests that you closely monitor your food intake by focusing on eating healthy foods rich in zinc and vitamin C to boost your immunity, while at the same time being careful to eat a healthy and balanced diet while you are recovering.
According to Dr. Mohsen Nematy, a researcher in Nutrition and Dietetics, a chemical in your body called ghrelin plays a role in stimulating appetite. Dr. Nematy and his colleagues have found that ghrelin levels are suppressed in patients following any form of major surgery, including hysterectomies. While you are recovering from your surgery, particularly during the initial stages, your ghrelin levels may be suppressed, which leads to a loss of appetite. This loss of appetite can, in turn, lead to significant unwanted weight loss.
You may experience some form of depression following your hysterectomy. You are not alone in this. Hysterectomy 911, an organization that provides information to women preparing for hysterectomies, says that women tend to experience depression as a result of feeling a loss of a large part of themselves both physically and emotionally. It is not uncommon to experience unwanted weight loss or weight gain as a result of hormonal imbalances associated with depression.
If you are experiencing unwanted weight gain or weight loss, do not panic. There are ways to combat this problem. Give yourself time to heal so that you avoid complications and prolonging your recovery time. This will also help you to avoid some depression. Eat a healthy and balanced diet and be aware of what sorts of snacks you are eating. Discuss the issue with your doctor, as he may be able to prescribe hormone replacements to combat abdominal fat accumulation due to loss of estrogen. Finally, check with your doctor before you self-diagnose or medicate for any of these issues to be sure that you are not experiencing any further complications.