I am so happy to bring you my Complete Hysterectomy Guide, including my own experience with hysterectomy surgery, my tips for having surgery and how to exercise safely after hysterectomy surgery! I know this can be a confusing and scary time and I want to help alleviate some of those fears by giving you information you can trust and helping you know you are not alone.
I was diagnosed with endometriosis when I was 27 years ago. I had experienced unexplained back and abdominal pain for years and had undergone more tests than I can count. My doctor recommended an exploratory laparoscopic surgery and when I woke up, I was told I had endometriosis.
My life for the next few years involved learning everything I could about the disease and how to manage it. I knew that many women with endometriosis ended up having a hysterectomy at some point, but that wasn’t something I was willing to think about at that time. I wanted babies desperately, and was lucky enough to have our daughter in 2014 and then, later, our son, after two rounds of IVF.
During that time, I underwent a second laparoscopic surgery to clean out more endometriosis. I was also diagnosed with a prolapse after the birth of our first child, so I was navigating that journey during those years as well.
At this point I was 41 years old and – because of my medical history of endometriosis and IVF – I knew we were unable to have more children. I was extremely active and my prolapse symptoms weren’t improving. My symptoms included a constant bulge out of my vagina, pelvic pain and pressure and some bloating. I also continued to have endometriosis symptoms and pain.
I finally decided see a urogynecologist to see what my options were.
After a thorough exam I was told I had a bladder prolapse (cystocele), rectal prolapse (rectocele) and uterine prolapse. They were all grade 3 and would not improve on their own. After meeting with two different surgeons I was told I was a candidate for a hysterectomy, rectocele repair, cystocele repair and sacrocolpopexy. It was either live with it and let it get worse or have it surgically repaired.
After much deliberation and research, I decided to have a hysterectomy and prolapse repairs in 2019 when I was 41 years old (you can learn more about my prolapse story and see all my prolapse resources here).
This is not a decision I took lightly and there was a definite mourning period for me before having surgery. I talk about this in depth in some of my videos I’ll link below and I recommend everyone who considers a hysterectomy takes time to process the emotions surrounding this specific surgery.
I decided to keep one of my ovaries and everything else – uterus, fallopian tubes, cervix, one ovary – was removed. The decision to keep my ovary is another thing I discuss in my videos and basically it came down to not wanting to wake up in menopause. I was still cycling at the time and, by keeping one ovary, I kept my hormones at their pre-surgery levels. This of course is a very personal decision and one you’ll want to make with your surgeon and those close to you. (As a side note, because I kept one ovary and kept cycling, I was opening myself up to continue endometriosis symptoms. It was a trade off I was willing to make, but one everyone with endo should understand. Having a hysterectomy does not guarantee a decrease of endometriosis symptoms, especially if you keep an ovary. It has significantly decreased my symptoms, but I continue to have endo flares during the months I ovulate).
I have always been an open book about my health struggles and surgeries here in this community, and my hysterectomy was no different! I realized quickly how few resources there were for women after this very common surgery. I decided to share as much as I could in order to help other women feel supported and empowered in their own recoveries.
You can find most of my resources below and I hope it helps you find hope and inspiration during this time!
I have created many videos that describe my surgery experience and you can find those through the links below:
Exercise After Hysterectomy
14 Minute Exercises After Hysterectomy (a workout routine you can do at home)
I created a ten week post hysterectomy workout program for anyone who has been through a hysterectomy surgery! You can start this program immediately after surgery and it guides you through how to safely get back into exercise during the first ten weeks. You can find that here.
I offer virtual consults for anyone considering surgery, exploring options, recovering from surgery or experiencing questions around the entire idea of a hysterectomy. I love offering support to those of you in this situation and you can learn more here.
There is HOPE, there is ENCOURAGEMENT, you can still be STRONG. Yes there are things to learn but you can do this! Most importantly, be an advocate for yourself. Don’t give up. Find health care practitioners to be on your team and help you feel your best.