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What is the Connection Between Hysterectomy and Depression?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2016
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Hysterectomy can be followed by depression in some patients, for a variety of reasons. Patients considering a hysterectomy may want to talk with their doctors about the possibility of depression and the specifics of the surgical procedure to learn more about how to address depression and other emotional changes. This procedure represents a major life change and it is common for people to experience intense emotions after a hysterectomy or while preparing for the procedure.

In some women, a hysterectomy is accompanied with an oophorectomy, where the ovaries are removed. This creates a condition known as “surgical menopause” by removing the source of female sex hormones. Patients can experience depression as a result of the radical hormonal changes and may be advised to consider hormone replacement therapy to treat the menopause and its associated symptoms.

If the ovaries are left intact, there is still a connection between hysterectomy and depression. Removal of the uterus can be emotionally traumatic for women, as it removes the possibility of carrying pregnancies to term. Hysterectomy and depression can be linked as women process their future infertility. Especially in young women and women who are planning on having children, this medical procedure can be very upsetting. Counseling before and after the procedure can help women adjust.

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Being aware of the possible connection between hysterectomy and depression can be helpful for patients preparing for this procedure. It is normal to experience a grieving period after the loss of an organ many women associate with femininity and fertility. Providing a patient with time to process the loss can help address the intense emotions that may arise. Partners and friends may want to be alert to symptoms of depression, as well as signs of surgical complications like infection, with the goal of getting help for patients who need it.

Hysterectomy and depression can also be linked when women receive emergency hysterectomies. In an emergency, patients are provided with limited time to prepare, undergo counseling, and get ready psychologically for the surgery and the aftermath. Receiving counseling as soon as possible after the surgery can help patients avoid depression or identify it early so they can get appropriate treatment.

In other patients, the link between hysterectomy and depression runs in the opposite direction. For people with chronic health problems caused by gynecological issues, removing a source of pain and frustration can result in an improved mood. Some patients feel more upbeat and more energetic after a hysterectomy, because the underlying cause of their health problems has been addressed.

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Discuss this Article

SarahGen
Post 3

I think almost everyone who has a hysterectomy has some depression afterward. I think along with directions for aftercare, doctors should also provide resources to overcome this trauma.

literally45
Post 2

@feruze-- A lack of interest in sex is common in women who have a total hysterectomy because of the loss of estrogen. These women basically go through menopause-- some of them at a very young age. But I didn't know that this side effect is possible in partial hysterectomies.

Could you be depressed about the fact that you've lost the ability to bear a child?

This was the cause of my depression after my hysterectomy. I don't have any children and knowing that I have lost all hope for having one was very difficult to overcome.

I highly recommend for you to see a psychologist. I received therapy for several years after my hysterectomy and also took anti-depressants for a while. It made a huge difference for me.

bear78
Post 1

I had a hysterectomy three years ago. It was a partial hysterectomy, I still have my ovaries.

I'm depressed because of how the hysterectomy has affected my sex life. I lost my libido after surgery and have no interest in sex at all. This is causing problems in my marriage and I feel so unhappy.

Is anyone else going through this?

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