Unlike non-surgical procedures such as UFE, there is a higher risk of complications and side effects after undergoing a surgical procedure to remove the uterus. We have posted other articles that talk about complications that can arise after having a hysterectomy, but today we are going to concentrate on one of the side effects.
Most women find that their belly is swollen after a hysterectomy for several weeks, while others experience a swollen belly 3 months or even 1 year after a hysterectomy. Let’s look into some of the reasons this might happen and a way to prevent it entirely.
Some General Information About Hysterectomy Surgery
This operation involves removing a woman’s uterus as treatment for a gynecological condition. About 10% of the time, the uterus is removed as a life-saving intervention, such as cancer, but as far as the other 540,000 hysterectomies that are routinely done here in the U.S. each year, they are done to treat benign conditions.
The National Woman’s Health Network states on its website that the number of hysterectomies that are performed each year that are not medically necessary puts women at risk and advises women who do not have a life-threatening condition requiring the emergency removal of the uterus to seek alternative treatments other than surgery.
The Uterus Is Not Just A Womb
Historically, not much was known about the function of the uterus beyond reproduction, but ongoing research has already revealed some of the complex relationships the uterus has with women’s heart health and memory functions. If a hysterectomy is performed when a woman is younger, her risk of heart attack and stroke is significantly increased.
JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) published an article on their website relating information regarding some research findings showing that women who had a hysterectomy and transitioned into menopause prematurely had a higher risk of early memory issues, including dementia.
Issues That You May Face After Losing Your Uterus
There are a bunch of potential complications that we know about that can result from a hysterectomy, and potentially several more that have not yet been discovered or proven.
Some long-term side effects of a hysterectomy may include:
- Loss of bladder control;
- Frequent UTI infections;
- Different types of sexual dysfunction;
- Hormone imbalances;
- Pelvic floor weakness;
- Vaginal prolapse;
- Chronic pelvic pain;
- Symptoms of menopause;
- Loss of fertility.
Shorter-term side effects you may face immediately after surgery or longer include:
- Swollen Belly;
- Vaginal discharge.
One of the side effects that women are often surprised to discover is their swollen belly after a hysterectomy. Many women find that they are still dealing with a swollen belly 1 year after their hysterectomy, and they turn to social media for answers. These women say they didn’t know this would happen and are looking for answers and advice from others who have had this surgery.
Is A Swollen Belly After A Hysterectomy Normal?
Yes, it is very common for women to experience belly bloating after having their uterus removed. Each woman’s body will react differently to their particular surgical experience, but everyone deals with a swollen belly after a hysterectomy for at least a few weeks; however, in some cases, this side effect can last a year or longer.
What Causes Bloating After A Hysterectomy?
The surgical team often inflates the patient’s belly with gas during a hysterectomy to help gain visibility and access to the uterus while removing it. Also, during the surgery, the intestines and other surrounding organs may be moved around a bit, which can upset their normal function and cause a slowdown in digestion, resulting in a swollen belly. Most women are aware that they may be bloated and gassy for a few days after a hysterectomy, but many are not expecting to deal with these side effects for several months or even a year.
The bloating can be residual gas that was used during the operation and needs to work its way out. It can often cause abdominal discomfort and pain in the shoulder area. The use of anesthesia during the operation and painkillers afterwards can contribute to constipation, which often causes belly bloating after a hysterectomy.
Longer-term bloating can be a result of the body’s normal healing process, which includes the excess buildup of fluids. Additionally, scar tissue can create inflammation and cause extended bloating after a hysterectomy. This side effect may last several months or longer, and women have reported having a swollen belly for a year after a hysterectomy.
Women Take To Social Media Seeking Answers To How Long Gas And Bloating Last After A Hysterectomy
Many women use social media to share their stories, hoping to get some answers and advice from others who have shared a similar experience. They post pictures of their swollen belly after a hysterectomy and ask questions within the group about whether what they are dealing with is normal and how long they can expect it to last. The members of the group exchange stories in hopes of encouraging each other and providing insight or possible solutions.
Here is a sampling of social media posts from women dealing with a swollen belly 3 months or longer after their hysterectomy.
“My surgery was three months ago, and I am still dealing with a swollen stomach after my hysterectomy. I have been back to my normal exercise routine for almost a month, but I still look 6 months pregnant. The struggle is real!”
“My surgery was almost seven months ago, but I remember the third and fourth months I had serious bloating after my hysterectomy. I am seeing a pelvic floor specialist, and that is helping with some of my issues.”
“The stomach bloating after a hysterectomy can last a long time. I had some swelling that lasted almost four months, and it seemed to come and go depending on what I was doing. I asked my doctor about it and was told that most people get this, and it usually takes between 3 and 6 months for the swollen stomach after a hysterectomy to go away, but it could last a year.”
Avoiding A Belly Swollen After A Hysterectomy And Other Side Effects
Unfortunately, a hysterectomy may be necessary to preserve the lives of some women, depending on the circumstances. However, a very large number of women have their uteruses removed to put an end to excessive bleeding and other symptoms resulting from benign conditions such as uterine fibroids or adenomyosis. The best way to avoid this unpleasant side effect is to avoid this uterus-removing surgery completely.
Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE), or also called uterine artery embolization, is a procedure that is done as an outpatient and can eliminate these symptoms without surgery. The uterus is left in place, and there are no inclusions or long-term side effects such as a swollen belly after a hysterectomy. UFE is a safe and effective treatment that can help between 80% and 90% of women with adenomyosis and uterine myomas without surgery.
Many women are unaware that this non-surgical option to treat fibroids and adenomyosis even exists because UFE is not performed by an OB/GYN or a surgeon. An interventional radiologist who has received special training in UFE is the only doctor who is qualified to perform this procedure. Doctors such as Dr. John Lipman and Dr. Mitchell Ermentrout of the Atlanta Fibroid Center.
If you are suffering from heavy bleeding and other debilitating symptoms, contact us today and come in to speak to one of our experts. The Atlanta Fibroid Center has helped countless numbers of women regain their quality of life without having to sacrifice their uterus, fertility, or long-term health. We have a long-standing history and a stellar reputation in our field, and invite you to review our patient testimonials.
We would love to have the opportunity to discuss your case and spare you from unnecessary surgery with UFE.