What are the risks of having a hysterectomy?

Risks and potential complications of hysterectomy include:
  • Blood clots in the veins or lungs
  • Infection
  • Bleeding during or after surgery, which may require a transfusion
  • Bowel injury or blockage
  • Injury to the bladder, ureter, urinary tract, or nearby organs
  • Problems related to anesthesia
  • Death (extremely rare)
Note that generally speaking, abdominal hysterectomy requires a longer recovery period than does laparoscopic or transvaginal hysterectomy.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

We now know that making the decision to have a hysterectomy should not be taken lightly. It not only closes the door to childbirth; it has other potential repercussions, beyond the risks posed by any surgery (bleeding, infection, reactions to anesthesia, and injury to nearby organs, nerves, and tissue). A hysterectomy also can cause the vaginal dryness, mood swings, and hot flashes of menopause if the ovaries are also removed; impact sexual pleasure, particularly uterine orgasm; produce bladder and intestinal changes; and provoke emotional distress and depression.

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Most women do not have health problems during or after the surgery, but some of the risks of a hysterectomy include:

Injury to nearby organs, such as the bowel, urinary tract, bladder, rectum, or blood vessels Pain during sexual intercourse Early menopause, if the ovaries are removed Anesthesia problems, such as breathing or heart problems Allergic reactions to medicines Blood clots in the legs or lungs. These can be fatal. Infection Heavy bleeding This answer is based on source information from the National Women's Health Information Center
Kevin W. Windom, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)

When I sit down wit a patient and consent them for a hysterectomy, I discuss the risks of a hysterectomy with them in detail. The most common risks of a hysterectomy are infection and bleeding. Next, there are risks of anesthesia, and this should be discussed with the anesthesiologist prior to the surgery. Lastly, there is a possibility of risks of damage to bowel, bladder, internal organs, or things where the operation is being performed. When patients discuss these risks with me, I believe they should feel comfortable in asking me to give them percentages, and I will discuss my complication rates over my twelve years in clinical practice. All doctors who perform these surgeries should be able to explain what is the likelihood of them having a complication, due to their prior experience.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.