Hysterectomy/Oophorectomy info
January 10, 2010 6:48 AM   Subscribe

Had hysterectomy & one ovary removed - what to expect?

I had a large benign tumor on one ovary and a number of large fibroids causing my uterus to be uncomfortably enlarged with other side effects. Looked at all options and decided removal of ovary and hysterectomy leaving one ovary was best. I have asked my Dr. many questions - got answers but really would like to hear from women who have been through this since my male surgeon hasn't. I know YANMD, I have done other research, pretty sure I understand the basics.

Most specifically what differences I might notice related to hormones? Sex drive? Menopause? I have been told one single ovary kicks in and works full time to do the work the two did, still produces an egg every month etc. I am 45 - women in my family seem to have rough menopausal symptoms in their mid-50's.

My surgery was robotically assisted and the healing process has been pretty normal and at 3 weeks I am feeling pretty good, other than lifting, bending or twisting and stamina.

thanks in advance :-)
posted by pinkbungalow to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I had one ovary removed in an emergency operation when I was 26. I was told that while that while the one ovary MAY kick into overdrive and work every month instead of every other month, it would probably take a while to get the fact that it had to, so it was more likely that I would only ovulate every other month for a long time. Honestly, the only way I could be certain whether I'm ovulating or not is through using one of the home ovulation kits or charting my own fertility, and I haven't ever been in a place where I would want to do that, so I've not done that, and found it safer to assume I'm "a loaded gun" every month. However, I've read up on the kinds of cyclical physical changes you go through that your hormones prompt -- things like changes in the consistency of the vaginal discharge over the course of the month, etc., so I'm aware of them.

Every so often, I notice that my own system's pattern seems a bit more...pronounced than it was last month -- I notice that "huh, yeah, this month my body's doing all that stuff" or "huh, I'm a touch moodier this month than last month...oh, right, that could be why." I've chalked it up to "ah, this must be a month I'm definitely 'armed'". I don't notice any kind of abscence in the other months, however -- I'm just going about my daily business, I don't notice anything is wrong, and then at the end of the month it's "ah, time to dig out the Kotex." The hormone fluctuation for me is more about noticing a slight bit more of a presence now and than it is noticing an abscence.

So my own hormone levels have stayed pretty consistent to what they had always been. My sex drive stayed the same, my PMS symptoms weren't out of wack. I did get kind of moody when I was in my 20's, BEFORE the operation, and after the operation that started to abate, but I chalk more of that up to having being in my 20's than I do my own hormones.

I also menstruate every month (that's something that everyone has always asked me about), but I'm hesitant to say how that would change in your case; I only had the oophrectomy, and not a hysterectomy. So I still have my uterus to menstruate FROM. So I can't speak to that -- did you have a full hysterectomy or a partial one?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:25 AM on January 10, 2010

I had a hysterectomy, but did not have either ovary removed - while I am certain there has been some hormonal effects, our experiences will probably be different. Whenever I hear the words "hysterectomy" and "experiences" in the same sentence, I recommend Hyster Sisters. Great website for any questions, advice, research, support, and so forth.
posted by bunnycup at 7:34 AM on January 10, 2010

A coworker (mid 50s) literally said it was the best thing she ever did.
posted by gjc at 7:35 AM on January 10, 2010

Oh, crap, I forgot to mention the one last data point that my operation was 15 years ago. So that's 15 years of "nope, not noticed anything weird."

Also, I have not reached menopause yet (that may be within the next couple years, though), so I can't speak to that either.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:39 AM on January 10, 2010

One of my best friends had a hysterectomy year-before-last and she said the Hyster Sisters board was a lifesaver in terms of support and finding out what to expect.
posted by immlass at 8:20 AM on January 10, 2010

Hystersisters is a very helpful site for reading around the topic of hysterectomy as there are detailed forums/FAQs from patients and surgeons. They have frank forums about sexuality, menopause symptoms, surgeries etc.
posted by honey-barbara at 8:27 AM on January 10, 2010

Oops, on preview - the same site others have already recommended.
posted by honey-barbara at 8:30 AM on January 10, 2010

i had a hysterectomy in 1998 and both my ovaries removed in 2003. i haven't noticed much difference - still had a sex drive, still able to orgasm.

sex after the hysterectomy was a little bit weird at first, just because the lack of cervix and possible slight shift in internal angles was different. but well in spec, and the guy i was seeing at the time said he didn't notice any substantial difference.

the only changes i've noticed over the 6 or 11 years could easily be attributed to age-related changes. dry skin, things like that.

sensitive skin is the only thing i've found that vaguely resembles a menopause symptom, so i'm good with that.

in general, i've been totally good with both of my surgeries.

good luck! feel free to memail me if there are any questions you think i could answer about this that you'd rather not post on the green.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:42 AM on January 10, 2010

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