After a partial hysterectomy (removal of the upper part of the uterus or womb), a woman may experience various symptoms that can range from minor to debilitating. This includes mood swings, weakness, and dizziness.
In addition, certain changes in hormone levels may contribute to migraines worse after hysterectomy. It is not necessary that only women prone to migraines before their monthly cycle show signs of a headache. You may have never had one but still develop migraine symptoms after surgery. But what causes headaches after partial hysterectomy?
There are numerous reasons why a woman may experience post-hysterectomy headaches. It’s essential to understand the possible causes so that you can get the best care for your headache and avoid unnecessary treatments.
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What Is a Hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy is a type of surgical procedure in which the uterus and cervix are removed. Depending on the diagnosis and medical condition, your doctor may or may not recommend removing the ovarian ducts, ovaries, and lymph nodes as well.
It is done to treat abnormal bleeding, chronic pelvic pain, and uterine prolapse (a condition in which the uterus slips out of the vagina). Besides, it can also treat certain conditions that occur after menopause. A hysterectomy can also be done to treat cancer in the uterus, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, or fibroids.
However, not all women need the removal of both; the ovaries as well as the uterus. Hence, hysterectomies are ramified into partial and total hysterectomies. Let’s take a look at the dissimilarities between the two!
It is a surgical procedure that removes the upper part of the uterus, which is the fundus. Sometimes, a partial hysterectomy also refers to a procedure where one or both ovaries are left in.
This can be done for various reasons. One such reason for the removal of part of the uterus is to remove the uterine polyps. Polyps are benign tumours that develop in the lining of the uterus.
This involves removing the whole uterus and the cervix. It is a standard surgical procedure to remove the uterus. A total hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oopherectomy (BSO) means that the ovaries have been removed along with the uterus.
What Causes Headaches After Partial Hysterectomy?
Experiencing headaches after a partial hysterectomy is entirely normal. To know where are hormonal headaches located, focus on where your head hurts at the time of your monthly cycle. You will realize it is always localized between your forehead and moves from one side to another.
Post-surgery, you may feel that your head hurts, especially behind your eyes and around your temples. There may also be nausea or vomiting. You may even feel lightheaded or dizzy. These symptoms usually come on gradually.
But what causes headaches after hysterectomy? Scientific studies prove that it is caused due to the removal of the ovaries. Do not worry! It is not a medical condition; it is just a natural reaction. After surgery, women may experience more severe or frequent headaches because they no longer produce estrogen and progesterone hormones.
Usually, after menopause, the body starts decreasing the level of estrogen and progesterone. However, it does that gradually. With a surgical procedure such as a hysterectomy, the sudden fall in the level of these hormones causes hormonal disbalance, leading to migraines.
Other Side Effects of Hysterectomy
Is it normal to be emotional after a partial hysterectomy? Absolutely! Besides causing extreme headaches, hysterectomy can affect your moods, emotions, and even your ability to perform daily tasks.
This brings us to our next question, can you still get PMS after a partial hysterectomy? Yes, you can! You won’t bleed, but since your ovaries are present; the hormonal fluctuations will cause the pre-menstrual syndrome.
Many women will experience headaches, nausea, and dizziness, along with a loss of energy and appetite. Here are a few other common side effects of hysterectomy:
- Vaginal dryness
- Feeling weak and tired
- Feeling sad and depressed
- Hot flashes
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Weight gain
- Hair loss
Don’t worry! These are just post-surgery symptoms and usually go away on their own once your body heals.
How to Avoid Headaches After Partial Hysterectomy?
To avoid these symptoms, you should make sure that you take care of yourself before as well as in the weeks following the surgery. In order to lessen the impact of this surgery on your life, you need to make sure that you keep yourself healthy.
By taking suitable precautions, you can easily prevent headaches after partial hysterectomy. Here is how you can avoid the side effects of hysterectomy:
Talk to Your Doctor Properly
In some cases, taking out the ovaries is not required. Based on your condition, your doctor may advise you to keep your ovaries in so that the estrogen levels do not drop much. Symptoms after hysterectomy keeping ovaries are much milder than removing them.
This prevents headaches and dizziness after hysterectomy as well as menopausal symptoms, such as insomnia, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness.
Taking oral contraceptives before your surgery prevents the onset of headaches. This is because oral contraceptives have estrogen, which ensures your body does not get a massive setback after the surgery.
The only problem with this is that they may cause you to gain weight and you may feel a little sick. This is why it is recommended that you speak to your doctor about taking oral contraceptives after a hysterectomy.
Another option is the estradiol patch. This is a hormone patch that you wear to help your body get the estrogen it needs. Basically, it is the contraceptive pill as a patch.
Before starting this treatment, you should talk to your doctor since estradiol patches may not be a good choice for breastfeeding moms or if you have had breast cancer. It is also an excellent choice because it does not have that many side effects.
Is it common to have headaches after hysterectomy?
It is completely normal to have headaches after hysterectomy. This is because removing the uterus causes a sudden fall in the level of estrogen and progesterone, which leads to profound headaches and migraines. Women also go through episodes of headaches at the start of their menopause and at the time of their monthly menstrual cycles due to a natural decrease in estrogen levels.
Can you still get hormonal headaches after hysterectomy?
After a total hysterectomy, the level of hormones such as estrogen dramatically falls, leading to headaches. According to a study conducted, two out of three women experience hormonal headaches after their hysterectomy. However, if one or both ovaries are left intact, they may experience little or almost no headache post-surgery
What are the long term side effects of a partial hysterectomy?
Long-term side effects of partial hysterectomy include cessation of menses and inability to get pregnant afterwards. A few women also face organ prolapse along with menopause symptoms such as vaginal dryness and reduced sex drive. All these effects are a result of reduced estrogen and other hormones.
Do you still get migraines after hysterectomy?
If you had a partial hysterectomy with one or both ovaries intact, the ovaries will continue to produce fluctuations in the estrogen level and produce no headaches and migraines. However, in the case of total hysterectomy (removal of uterus and ovaries), the estrogen level dips too low, which causes migraines and headaches.
Various medical conditions such as endometriosis or fibroids leave no solution other than going for a hysterectomy. Hence, if your doctor suggests you go for it, do not delay it much. As with other medicinal procedures, hysterectomy also comes with its own set of side effects, headaches after partial hysterectomy being one.
However, you should know that it is perfectly normal to experience some degree of discomfort or pain after a hysterectomy.
There is no definite answer to how long to recover after partial hysteroscopy. But it may take you anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks to completely recover. Going through surgery is no joke; hence, you should give your body enough time to deal with the after-effects.
Make sure you have a discussion with your consultant regarding your condition and take proper precautions before going into surgery.