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Hysterectomy surgery may be an option to treat several gynecologic conditions, such as heavy menstrual bleeding and uterine fibroids, when symptoms persist despite medication and lifestyle changes.

At Baptist Health System, we offer comprehensive options for nonsurgical treatments as well as minimally invasive surgical technologies to cater to your unique needs at each stage in your life.

Our surgeons are experienced with a wide range of open and laparoscopic gynecological surgeries, including hysterectomy, which is the removal of the uterus, to treat certain gynecologic disorders.

What Is a Hysterectomy?

The uterus, or womb, is a hollow muscular organ located in the pelvis between the bladder and rectum where a baby develops and grows. Hysterectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the uterus to treat various gynecologic conditions. This procedure also treats certain cancers and infections that affect the female reproductive system. The cervix, ovaries or fallopian tubes may also be removed during a hysterectomy.

Once the uterus is removed, pregnancy is no longer possible.

Reasons for Getting a Hysterectomy

Depending on your condition, your surgeon may recommend a total or partial hysterectomy. Conditions that may be treated with a hysterectomy are:

  • Uterine fibroids - the most common noncancerous tumors in women of childbearing age. Symptoms include heavy or painful periods or bleeding between periods, feeling full in the lower abdomen, frequent urination, pain during sex, lower back pain and reproductive problems, such as infertility, multiple miscarriages or early labor.
  • Endometriosis - a condition that occurs when the kind of tissue that normally lines the uterus grows on the ovaries, behind the uterus, on the bowels or on the bladder.
  • Uterine prolapse - a condition that occurs when the womb drops down and presses into the vaginal area due to having had one or more vaginal births; normal aging; lack of estrogen after menopause; conditions that put pressure on the pelvic muscles, such as chronic cough and obesity or pelvic tumor, which is rare.
  • Vaginal bleeding that persists despite treatment
  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • Gynecologic cancer, such as cancer of the uterine, cervix or ovaries
  • Chronic pelvic pain, as a last resort

How Is Hysterectomy Performed?

There are several procedures to perform a hysterectomy. Make sure to discuss which hysterectomy type is the best procedure for your condition. The following procedures may require general anesthetic and additionally they may sometimes be combined with a sedative to help you relax during the procedure.

  • Abdominal hysterectomy – removes the uterus through a cut in the abdomen like what is done during a cesarean section. This procedure requires a longer hospital stay and recovery time.
  • Vaginal hysterectomy – removes the uterus through the vagina and is less invasive than an abdominal hysterectomy. Recovery time may take three to four weeks in general.
  • Laparoscopic hysterectomy – minimally-invasive laparoscopic-assisted vaginal hysterectomy and robotic-assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy. This type of procedure may result in reduced hospital stay and postoperative recovery time.
  • Robotic hysterectomy – requires only small incisions in the uterus and abdomen compared to more invasive techniques. Robotic hysterectomy uses robotic arms and high-resolution camera lenses to perform the procedure.

What Happens to a Woman’s Body After a Hysterectomy?

It is important that you follow your surgeon’s instructions after a hysterectomy and continue to see your OB/GYN doctor for routine gynecologic exams post hysterectomy recovery. Your surgeon may recommend pain medications for the first few days after the procedure. Sanitary pads may come in handy to manage vaginal bleeding and discharge, which are hysterectomy side effects you may experience for several weeks. Constipation and temporary difficulty emptying the bladder are common after a hysterectomy. Some women may go through an emotional response as well after a hysterectomy.

Most women can engage in sexual intercourse without any problems after recovery. Hysterectomy may trigger menopause, so you may experience vaginal dryness or a lack of interest in sex. It's important to discuss your concerns with your gynecologist if you notice changes, such as pain during sex.

Ask your doctor if you still need regular pap test or pap smear to screen for cervical cancer if you did not have your cervix removed or had a hysterectomy because of cancer or precancer.

What Not to Do After a Hysterectomy

  • Do not lift heavy objects during your recovery period. Your abdominal muscles and surrounding tissue need to heal, so rest as much as possible.
  • Do not drive until you’re able to wear a seatbelt comfortably and perform an emergency stop when the need arises.
  • Do not engage in sexual intercourse until your scars have fully healed and vaginal discharge has stopped.
  • Although you no longer need to use contraception to prevent pregnancy, you’ll still need to use condoms to protect yourself from contracting sexually transmitted infections.

When to See a Doctor After a Hysterectomy

Follow-up consultation usually takes place two weeks after a hysterectomy. Should the following symptoms occur, seek medical attention immediately:

  • Vaginal bleeding or discharge that has a foul odor
  • Signs of urinary tract infection such as frequent urination, painful or burning sensation when urinating, cloudy urine or foul-smelling urine
  • Signs of infection around the incision site accompanied by fever, swelling or pus
  • Prolonged constipation or diarrhea

Schedule an Appointment

Our goal is to help people achieve health for life through compassionate service combined with the latest technologies and procedures available today here in San Antonio. To learn more about our comprehensive portfolio of gynecologic services, please call 866-309-2873.

Insurance Accepted

We accept a variety of medical insurance plans at Baptist Health System, so you can get the care you need for your condition. For questions about your coverage, please contact your insurance provider directly or see this page for your billing and insurance questions. If you have specific questions regarding insurance coverage at Baptist Health System, call us at 888-707-0664.

Find an OB/GYN Doctor in San Antonio

If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort from an undiagnosed condition or injury, speak with one of our OB/GYN doctors at Baptist Health System for proper diagnosis and advice on the best treatment options for your condition. Please don’t delay care.