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can a hysterectomy cause ptsd

Can A Hysterectomy Cause PTSD?

TLDR: For some people having a hysterectomy can be quite a traumatic event and may leave you wondering ‘can a hysterectomy cause PTSD’ This blog takes a look at what that is and why we think it might.

Firstly, hi. I’m Rachel and I had a total hysterectomy when I was 30. Since I have been blogging about my experiences, in the hope it helps others, as I feel this topic is not spoken about enough.

You can read about my personal experience of having a hysterectomy here and see my hysterectomy scars here. 

can a hysterectomy cause ptsd

What is PTSD? 

PTSD stands for ‘Post Traumatic Stress Disorder’ and refers to how you feeling very stressed after a traumatic event. For some people a hysterectomy might not be considered ‘traumatic’ but everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. 

If you have had a hysterectomy and are left wondering ‘can a hysterectomy cause PTSD’ it is worth knowing the symptoms of PTSD.

Symptoms of PTSD can be: 

This website sums it up perfectly. In summary: 

  • Having flashbacks 
  • Recurring memories of the event
  • Intrusive thoughts 
  • Sweating, feeling sick 
  • Staying away from places that remind you of the event 
  • Keeping busy
  • Drugs or alcohol 
  • Feeling emotionally numb 
  • Feeling detached from your body
  • Unable to remember details of the event 
  • Jittery / easily startled 
  • Difficulty concentrating 
  • Feeling you are ‘on guard’ 
  • Self destructive or reckless behaviour 
  • Overwhelming emotions 
  • Loss of interest in activities 
  • Difficulty feeling positive emotions 

The reason I thought to write this blog is that I have recently started having this intrusive thought of how the procedure was done, to the point where I can almost feel it in my stomach.

I asked on a hysterectomy support group if anyone else thought about the surgery after and someone said ‘it sounds like PTSD’ which led me to wonder if a hysterectomy can cause PTSD. 

Some people look forward to the surgery as they struggled for years with heavy periods and fibroids, and can’t wait for it to be done. For others, it might be a little more traumatic. 

I really believe that one persons ‘traumatic’ event might be different to another persons. For example, I feel a little guilty saying my hysterectomy was ‘traumatic’ when I know there are wars and awful things happening in the world. 

What I have come to realise is that just because terrible things happen to other people doesn’t mean things that you go through are easy. 

can a hysterectomy cause ptsd

What is a hysterectomy? 

A hysterectomy is when you have your womb removed and a total hysterectomy is when everything is taken; ovaries, cervix and womb. 

For women these organs are almost vital, they give us our identity and they are how we bear children. To lose them should not be taken lightly, which is why I wanted to cover the topic of can a hysterectomy cause PTSD. 

So How Can A Hysterectomy Cause PTSD? 

After a hysterectomy you are going to go through many emotional changes, especially if your ovaries were removed and you are forced into the menopause overnight. 

The menopause can be a very difficult time when entering it naturally, with your body adjusting slowly, so for it to happen immediately is a big deal. 

You may experience: 

  • Hot flushes
  • Extreme mood swings 
  • Anxiety 
  • Depression
  • Vaginal dryness 

Unfortunately if you have a hysterectomy young then you are more likely to experience depression. This study finds a 6.6% increase if you have your surgery in your 30s. 

If you tick any of the below boxes on why your hysterectomy might be considered traumatic, then it could also cause PTSD, as it would be considered a traumatic event to you.

You may feel your hysterectomy was traumatic for a few reasons:

  • It was not elective surgery, you had it because of an emergency 
  • You wanted children / more children 
  • You were scared of surgery to begin with 
  • You didn’t feel comfortable with your doctor/surgeon 
  • You did not have the right support with you (friends/family/nurses)
  • You feel undereducated around the topic 
  • It was due to something life threatening (ie cancer) 
  • You are very young (the average age is 40-50)
  • Your recovery was difficult 

I was young, did want more children, mine was due to cancer, I didn’t have support with me and I felt undereducated around the topic hence why I feel I needed to write ‘can a hysterectomy cause PTSD’ and wonder if it is something I am going through.

…and of course, in case it helps you.

How To Manage PTSD After A Hysterectomy

I know myself as I write this that I have struggled with depression after a hysterectomy that it is difficult, but there are some things you can do if you think you have PTSD after your hysterectomy. 

You may find you have a ‘trigger’ for example if you wanted more children and you find out a friend is pregnant that could be the onset of PTSD symptoms. Or if you read something and realise you didn’t know that fact, it may remind you you were uneducated around the topic. 

Here are some top tips on managing PTSD after a hysterectomy, with lots more on this article

  1. Be kind to yourself 
  2. Get therapy if you can
  3. Speak to your friends and family 
  4. Practise self care and self compassion 
  5. Take your supplements (magnesium for relaxing and ashwagandha for anxiety)
  6. Keep note of what triggers you in a journal
  7. Try grounding techniques such as breathing or holding something familiar 

You can buy ashwagandha here and magnesium here. Both might be able to help you a little during this difficult time. 

can a hysterectomy cause ptsd

If you are experiencing any of this then do know that you are not alone and there is hope. 

Any questions at all I am always here to help, you can email me [email protected] or message me on insta @itsourremedy 

Rachel xx

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Can A Hysterectomy Cause PTSD?

TLDR: For some people having a hysterectomy can be quite a traumatic event and may leave you wondering ‘can a hysterectomy cause PTSD’ This blog

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