There are a few medical problems and surgeries that only women get the joy of experiencing. Two of the most common are cesarean section, or c section, when you are delivering a baby, and a hysterectomy when you have a serious health concern. The two are extremely different and have unique effects on your body and mood.
Important Facts About Hysterectomy
A hysterectomy is a surgery that removes the uterus in a woman. Along with the entire uterus other parts of the female reproduction may also be removed such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes. This procedure is done for many different reasons.
2. Why It Is Done
A hysterectomy is done for a wide variety of health concerns, some very dangerous. These include uterine fibroids, which are non cancerous growths that can cause severe pain. Endometriosis is another common reason that hysterectomies are performed. One other extremely common reason for this surgery is cancer or precancer in the uterus, ovaries, or cervix.
There are three different types of this surgery that may be performed. The type that is done depends on the reason the surgery has been deemed necessary. A total hysterectomy is when the entire uterus and cervix are removed. A supracervical hysterectomy is when only the upper portion of the uterus is removed and the cervix is left. A radical hysterectomy is when the uterus, cervix, and upper part of the vagina is removed.
The recovery time for this surgery takes quite a bit of time. Women usually are required to stay in the hospital for up to 4 days before being released. If your surgery is being done due to cancer you will most likely need to stay in the hospital longer. You will be able to get up and move around the same day of your surgery and it is encouraged to do so often as it promotes the healing process. After being sent home pain and soreness will persist for up to 6 weeks. It also takes this long before you can normally return to day to day activities.
When having reproductive organs removed many body changes begin to occur. The first is that your menstrual cycle will stop. This also means that your body will no longer be producing certain hormones, such as estrogen. If your ovaries where also removed than you may begin to experience symptoms of menopause. A loss of sex drive is also another common effect of a hysterectomy, relating to the loss of the hormones. Grief and a sense of loss is also common, losing your fertility and reproductive organs can be a hard pill to swallow. Talk to you doctor if you begin to feel depressed.
Cesarean Section Facts
A cesarean or C section is a form of alternative childbirth. It is when the baby is surgically removed from the womb. It can be done for a variety of reasons and complications as is fairly common in the United States.
If your doctor has made the decision to perform a c-section than anesthesia will be administered. The anesthesia will completely numb you from the belly down and you will not feel the operation, however you will be completely conscious. Your stomach will be cleaned with antiseptic and the doctor will make a small, horizontal incision just above the pubic bone. They will slowly cut through tissue until they reach the uterus. The muscles in abdominal wall are separated (manually, not cut) in order to reach the uterus. Once the uterus is located another small cut will be made in the lower section of it. The baby will then be eased out of the womb, and you will briefly see them once the cord is cut. The baby will then go to a nurse for examination and the process of sewing you up will begin. Stitches that dissolve are used on the uterus and the outer layer of skin is closed with stitches or staples.
Most c-section patients are required to be in the hospital for 3 days after delivery in order to monitor bleeding and fluids. The recovery time is longer than it would be if the baby was delivered vaginally, this is because it is a major abdominal surgery. Walking around helps the healing process greatly. A woman that has had a c-section can normally return to normal day to day life after 2 to 3 weeks. And the heaviest thing you should lift is your baby, until you are cleared by your doctor.
There is a multitude of different reasons that a c-section may be called for. Some of the most common include:
Uterine Rupture (or high risk of)
Increased Blood Pressure in Mother or Baby
Very Large Baby
Failed Induction of Labor
Differences Between A Hysterectomy and A C-Section
These two major operations are worlds apart from each other. Hysterectomies are performed in order to treat or prevent a very serious medical condition in the region. A c-section is used as a form of delivery for a newborn baby. However a cesarean section can be necessary due to medical conditions.
The way that each of these surgeries are done are also very different. With a c-section cuts are made through the pubic area in order to get to the uterus. A hysterectomy requires a complete removal of the entire uterus and in some cases other parts of the reproductive system.
3. Bodily Effects
While both will provide you with some nasty scarring, it is the internal and mental effects that are different. A c-section leaves you with a newborn baby, which is joyous and exciting. There are no real residual effects other than some slight cosmetic changes of the abdomen. A hysterectomy removes hormone producing organs, this causes certain functions of the body to stop working. Hysterectomies also commonly induce menopause.