The risk of depression after hysterectomy is one of the major consequences that many women are afraid of.
Women have a hysterectomy to treat various medical conditions, such as uterine fibroids, endometriosis, pelvic pain, cancer of cervix or uterus and prolapse of the uterus.
Whatever the reason one needs a hysterectomy, this surgery can take a toll on woman’s emotional health.
Ranging from fear of loss of fertility and femininity to depression and sadness, woman can undergo various types of feelings or emotions after the removal of uterus.
Depression after hysterectomy: Why does it occur?
Loss of fertility:
According to clinical studies, depression after hysterectomy is more common in women who got their uterus as well as ovaries removed. The belief that the surgery robbed her of her femininity is the major cause of sadness in women.
Losing the ability to become pregnant and have children is hard for many women. This is more often seen in women in their child-bearing age and those who do not have children. They feel major changes in their body.
Experts believe that hormonal disruptions are possibly the causative factor of emotional turmoil in patients undergoing hysterectomy. This is because the hormonal imbalance affects beta-endorphins (the natural hormones responsible for the feelings of emotional well-being).
Endorphin or beta-endorphin levels are affected by ovarian hormones estrogen and progesterone. Once they remove the ovaries, the level of ovarian hormones decreases, which in turn may affect woman’s emotional and mental stability.
Sudden weight gain during the first year after hysterectomy makes many women feel fat and unattractive. They often feel depressed after hysterectomy when all their weight loss efforts have no results.
Family history of depression:
Some women are more likely to develop depression than others. The woman’s personal history or family history is a major risk factor for post-hysterectomy depression.
Loss of sexual function:
Another cause of sadness and depression after hysterectomy is loss of sexual function and sensation. After hysterectomy, a woman cannot undergo uterine orgasm. Many a times, one-third of vagina is also removed during hysterectomy. This can cause pain in the vagina, leading to painful sex. Loss of vaginal lubrication after the surgery can affect sexual function.
How do you deal with post-hysterectomy depression?
The incidence of post-hysterectomy depression is quite common. In most of the cases, the condition resolves itself within two to four weeks. However, if it persists for a longer duration, it can affect the quality of your life.
Take the following 5 VITAL STEPS to help you cope with your emotions and ease out the symptoms:
#1. Take good sleep
The first step to deal with depression after hysterectomy is getting enough sleep. Stick to a sleep schedule and make sure you have regular timings to go to bed.
#2. Use stress-relieving techniques
Anxiety and stress are common after the surgery. Find ways to relax and ease your stress. You can do yoga and meditation, reading, or indulge in your hobby to keep your mind distracted.
#3. Focus on positivity
The best way to handle depression symptoms is by focusing on the positive side of the surgery. For whatever reason you got the uterus removed, it has relieved the pain and other symptoms associated with the problem. Look at the brighter side, and you will be able to handle the symptoms in a better way.
Be physically active for at least thirty minutes a day. Talk to your physician or surgeon about the best exercise techniques that are suitable for you after surgery.
#5. Talk to friends and family
If the symptoms still persist, talk to your partner, friends and family. Confiding about your symptoms helps in dealing with them in a better way. You may also consider joining a support group for hysterectomy for women who have had hysterectomy.
Depression after hysterectomy is a real problem for many women undergoing the surgery. However, it is important that you handle it and return to your normal daily activities. If you notice any of these symptoms after the surgery, talk to your physician and get your symptoms evaluated. She may prescribe you medications or therapy to deal with the symptoms.