After having a postmenopausal hysterectomy, most women experience some symptoms. A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of a woman’s uterus. A physician may perform a hysterectomy due to disease, chronic pain or uterine prolapse, which is the protrusion of the uterus through the vagina. In the United States, about 33 percent of women undergo a hysterectomy by age 60, according to 2010 information from the National Institutes of Health. Menopause is a natural occurrence in a woman’s life, during which the ovaries stop producing sexual hormones and menstruation ends.
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Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become brittle and more prone to breakage. Nearly 25 million postmenopausal women have osteoporosis, according to "The Woman's Guide to Hysterectomy" published in 2002. The significant drop in estrogen that accompanies a postmenopausal hysterectomy can cause osteoporosis; a broken wrist is often the first sign of the disease. During their postmenopausal years, about 40 percent of women will experience at least one broken bone related to osteoporosis, notes "The Woman's Guide to Hysterectomy."
Some women experience a strong emotional response to a postmenopausal hysterectomy. This is not uncommon. It may be due to a hormonal imbalance or, depending on a patient’s age, feelings of loss related to the end of childbearing years. Although some women feel better weeks after the surgery, other women become depressed and may require psychological counseling or hormone replacement therapy. Other women may experience feelings of relief thanks to the cessation of pain or other symptoms.
Low Sex Drive
After a postmenopausal hysterectomy, a woman may experience a decrease in her sex drive. In the March 2010 issue of “Sexuality and Disability,” Dr. Güliz Onat Bayram reports that this may be due to dyspareunia, or painful sexual intercourse, vaginal dryness and low libido. Every woman reacts differently. In fact, some women may enjoy having sex more following the surgery, thanks to the alleviation of pain or bleeding. Hormone replacement therapy and the use of vaginal lubricants can help increase sexual enjoyment.
- Medline Plus: Hysterectomy
- "The Woman's Guide to Hysterectomy"; Adelaide Haas, Ph.D.; January 2002
- "Sexuality and Disability"; Psychosexual Adaptation and Quality of Life After Hysterectomy; Güliz Onat Bayram, Ph.D.; March 2010