I was in my late 40s when I had my cervix and uterus removed. After a lifetime of gynaecological issues, including painful endometriosis, I took the plunge and make the choice with my doctor to have a total hysterectomy. I thought it was right for me because I’d done my dash with having children, and I wanted desperately to stop cramping up or feeling agony. Little did I know that the pain I would feel mentally would be greater than any physical pain I had, for years after the surgery.
Many women describe having mastectomies as being very emotional and upsetting, however I seldom read anything about women who have had hysterectomies. It’s almost as if because you cannot tell someone is womb-less that it isn’t a problem in society.
After my hysterectomy I launched straight into menopause, and even now in my 60s, I am suffering from post menopause and hormonal issues which have not been helped by HRT.
My doctor told me that women who take hormone replacement therapy usually find that their hot flashes will resume years later, when they go off the drugs, which is what happened to me – it really feels like it never ends.
For me, my hysterectomy never felt like an elective surgery. It drastically changed who I am and was, and wasn’t at all the liberating experience people like Angelina Jolie say it is. She and others say it didn’t diminish their feelings of being a woman but I can tell you, 20+ years on from having the procedure, I do still mourn for those parts of me.
I’ve read about woman who have sexual re-awakenings but in the years since the operation, I’ve rarely felt sexual urges, which is a complete change from when I was younger. I used to love sex and being with men, in fact I often had multiple partners (not at once but let’s just say I played the field)! It was a great time but far in the past. I would go so far as to even say my hysterectomy led to my divorce as I fell into a deep depression and pushed him away. I felt scarred, inside and out.
I wonder if there are other older ladies like me out there who wish they had the libido they had back in their youth, as well as that feeling of completeness in their body. Having your womb taken out isn’t a relief: it can be as if they’ve put 20 other organs in its place, all of them which feel foreign.
Tell us, did you have a hysterectomy? Was it a good experience or do you wish you hadn’t had the procedure?