Hysterectomy Experiences: Chronic Fatigue

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hysterectomy fatigue
A few years ago, I began writing for Hormones Matter about the gross overuse and adverse effects of hysterectomy and oophorectomy. Year after year, these posts generate tens of thousands of views and hundreds of comments. The comments inevitably follow the same pattern of unwarranted removal of organ(s) without informed consent and ensuing declining health. We are publishing a series of articles highlighting women’s comments. This is the fifth of the series and addresses the common complaint of chronic fatigue. The first article is about lack of informed consent and can be found here. The second one talks about how our “exterior” settles / collapses after the uterus is removed. The third addresses organ dysfunction and the fourth is about loss of sexuality and emotional emptiness. Although the 90% elective rate of these surgeries would imply that they are “restorative” or at least harmless, medical literature and women’s experiences prove otherwise.

Chronic Fatigue and Loss of Stamina

Many women commented on my other articles about chronic fatigue and loss of stamina and vibrancy since their hysterectomies even if they still had their ovaries. Although sleep problems were a common complaint, even absent those, women just couldn’t seem to get past the chronic fatigue and lack of stamina. These experiences match those of the majority of 1,000 hysterectomized women surveyed by the non-profit HERS Foundation. Those results are as follows:

  • Loss of energy:  78%
  • Profound fatigue: 77%
  • Loss of stamina: 69%
  • Insomnia: 61%
  • Unable to maintain previous level of activity in home: 34%

The complete list broken out by hysterectomy only, hysterectomy with one ovary removed, and hysterectomy with both ovaries removed can be found here. Below are comments from some of my articles.

Chris (age 64) says:

“My husband and I had and unbelievable sex life, I had loads of energy and strength and was able to joke about being “37”. I now feel like and old woman. I want to sleep more then move, I have little strength….”

Jacqueline:

“I have no energy at 38. I have more problems now than I did before surgery.”

NJ:

“The Testim has helped my energy levels but I have lowered the dose as my body hair increased.”

Joshua:

“…my finance had a cervical hysterectomy [sic] back in January of this year and she seems to be having issues with mood swings sex drive depression and fatigue.”

BeBe:

“My hysterectomy was necessary due to Essure permanent birth control. One migrated to my uterus and I was sick from that poison…. I’m 11 months post op…. I’m fatigued. Have migraines and have become very anti social.”

Joan:

“I was a very active women, always running around from 6am till 9pm…. I am tired all the time.”

Teresa:

“I’m 12 years post op…. I stay fatigued and have no sexual drive and depression….”

Sue:

“Hysterectomy [sic] in 2007…. Severe fatigue, bloating, pain under rib. No answers…. My life has been horrible since.”

Jill:

“…my energy levels have dropped too.”

Jen:

“I had TAH kept my ovaries (boy, that was a battle)…. I have had so many problems since…. I truly feel awful. My energy levels are just depleted. I’m dealing with idiot doctors rift now plus I am too tired to go to all these specialists…. I also have severe rib pain right and left. I have bowel problems too and the nausea and fatigue is hell.”

Irene:

“Ever since HYSTERECTOMY my whole personality has changed, gone from an outgoing lady to a hermit rarely interested in socialising and I have little energy and gone from 60kg to 70kg.”

Annele:

“Had my surgery in 2010, compared to photos of me and my energy levels, sex live, I have aged about 10 years in a 5 year period. My mother also went for her hysterectomy during 2012, she experienced similar side effects.”

Sharon:

“I can hardly get out of bed. I have no appetite, no energy, and I feel awful.”

Elaine:

“I ache constantly, I still get intense flashes and my energy level has gone from active (pre-surgery) to minimal…..I am so sleep deprived and so sore….I feel I was not thoroughly informed and this surgery was the biggest mistake! I cry and yearn for who I was a year ago.”

Julie:

“Ever since surgery I had so much pain, discomfort, fatigue, and now depression. I used to be real busy with my family going outdoors for hunts, fishing and picnics. Now days I just barely do anything and my whole life has changed. My health has just been going down.”

Lyn:

“After 3 months post surgery, I had to retire my full time profession as a licensed therapeutic massage therapist due to fatigue, lower back, sacroiliac joint, hip, leg and foot pain!… My balance has been compromised and have had (4) falls since surgery…. I use to enjoy my walks with my dog and make attempts daily, but I become winded and fatigued almost instantly….”

Sue:

“My health just continues to decline. I was the most active person before this surgery, now I do nothing most days. I’m very concerned about my bowel issue and the relentless fatigue.”

Angela:

“I saw my mother destroyed by a hysterectomy at 38. This has been going on for decades and the denial has to stop. Women don’t even have to tell me they’ve had one. I can see it – in their faces, their hair, their figures, their lack of vitality.”

Jacqualine:

“take ambien to sleep”

Marlo:

“I can’t sleep at night.”

KA:

“taking a sleep aide”

Rebecca:

“Can’t sleep, wake up with headaches every day. Having major sweats, Loosing my hair and my mind!”

I caution any woman who is told she needs a hysterectomy and/or oophorectomy or is considering one to heed these comments. With the gross overuse of these surgeries, chances are she’s being sold a false bill of goods. It’s not always a good idea to rely solely on your doctor’s advice as Someone

Who Cares cautions:

“After 40 years of enduring this “disabled” existence, it breaks my heart that no matter how many of us try to warn other women, in various ways, the number of these destructive surgeries continues to increase, not decrease.”

A complete list of my articles can be found here. The HERS Foundation is a good resource for understanding the lifelong functions of the female organs. It also has information about gynecologic conditions and treatment options. These two sites, Gyn Reform (especially the studies/citations link) and Ovaries for Life, are excellent resources about the gross overuse and harm of ovary removal or hysterectomy induced loss of ovarian function.

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If you have a hysterectomy story, please consider sharing it on Hormones Matter.

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16 Comments

  1. I had a hyst back in may of 2018 due to cin3 sever dysplasia, I’m tired all the time and still have pain during sex and seriously makes me cry still , to the point my fiancee doesn’t even want it cus it hurts me , Dr did cut through my bladder during surgery die to I was swelled up and tilt and bleed out for 3 months , took insurance 2 months to approve my surgery 🙄 it was a long story with that, I’m scared to go back to the Dr but know I need to go 😭 , I want this to go away

  2. Oh no, I had a hysterectomy and both ovaries removed a month ago. For the first 2 weeks I was doing ok but then all went up in the air. I don’t know whether I’m coming or going. I had multiple fibroids and 1 that was 8cm sitting on my bladder so was constantly going to the toilet. I was told it was better to get ovaries removed while they did the surgery so that there was less chance of complications. I’m 49 so I was told I’d be going into menopause anyway. After reading these posts I’m terrified. Fatigue is so awful with back pain, sleeplessness and nausea and it’s still early days for me. I’m tearful and already feel this is the end of me. Help is there any advise.

    1. Ann – I’m sorry that you too were misled into having your ovaries removed. “Less chance of complications” by removing ovaries? That’s nonsense and makes me “see red” that women are typically told things like this. Numerous medical studies show that ovary removal, even decades after menopause, increases risk for many health problems. Hysterectomy oftentimes impairs ovarian function and may cause the ovaries to shut down completely but that’s not a good reason to remove them. Hysterectomy is likewise way overused and has its own set of negative after effects. But, unfortunately, female organ removal is very lucrative and has therefore become a standard of care that we cannot seem to reverse.

      Although what’s been done cannot be reversed, I think it’s important that you learn about the after effects of hysterectomy and oophorectomy so you can be better armed to deal with the aftermath. I wish you the best moving forward.

  3. I had my hysterectomy october of 2017. I had my last child in 2014 which had to be an emergency c-section. Everything ruptured. I then developed hugh blood pressure so birth control was out of the question. So i had my tubes tied. Severe pain had an allergic reaction to the clamps. So we went for the hysterectomy. My uterus was attached to my stomach wall, ovary attached to the other side and tons of scar tissue. Now, I am tired all the time. I have a 15 year old, 9 year old who is autistic and a 3 year old. This last week i have had severe nausea and vomiting, just flu like symtoms. My depression is horrible and my anxiety. Im an LPN and I have severe anxiety and PTSD from losing a child. So I am always wondering whats wrong with me. Im 34 why can’t i be who i use to be?? I hate this and wish i could turn back time.

    1. Megan – Thank you for having the courage to share your experience. I’m sorry that you’ve had such horrific care by gynecologist(s) including not being told about the after effects of hysterectomy or tubals (especially those that use devices such as Essure or Filshie clips). Chronic fatigue and mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, irritability and mood swings are commonly reported by women who have had hysterectomies. I hope you can find the help you need to improve your situation.

  4. I had a radical hysterectomy with lymphnode removal due to uterus cancer 3 years ago I was 43 . Noone prepared me for the slide down hill ive had with my health . Im grateful im alive but after hysterectomy left exashsted depressed, joint pain and i have severe nerve damage in my legs from lymphnode removal . Ive gained 30 pounds and thats not eating 2 days a week and eating less than 800 calories the rest of the week .if i eat normal ill gain another 50 lbs The only thing doctors offer me are physcotropics which I refuse . I use to be social now I dont care my bed and dogs are my life . Worse I cant even take estrogen pills as im a cancer survivor. Im asexual i no longer care it exiat Im very lucky to be alive im grateful for that so its ying and yang . They saved my life but also took it away . I found it best to forget who I was and embrace a new me . And id suggest given a choice women should not quickly pick hysterectomy unless absolutely nessasary. There is a life after hysterectomy but kiss youre youth goodbye.

    1. Sherry – I’m sorry you had endometrial cancer and are now suffering the effects of hysterectomy. Thank you for having the courage to share your story and encourage other women to forego hysterectomy unless absolutely necessary. The problem is that many gynecologists deceive women about their diagnoses and treatment options to get them to consent to hysterectomy hence the reason almost 1 in 2 women has a hysterectomy. I have written a couple of articles on this healthcare con.

      Thanks again for speaking out. Our voices seem to be the only hope for ending this egregious harm of so many women. I wish the best for you going forward.

  5. I had my historectomy at the young age of 28. I was having sever pain in my abdomen from having the IUD. It caused a lot of pain and swelling along with shooting pains down my legs. I had it removed 1 year later when doctor finally listened and seen how much pain I was in. A few months later still in sever pain doctor said he needed to do a hysterectomy due to cysts on my left ovary he went in and said he had to remove both ovaries, uterus and cervix said I had endometriosis. Now I’m 38 I’m no longer the person I used to be. I’m depressed I’m super super fatigued I can sleep 12 hours and still feel exhausted. I have no drive anymore. If I would’ve known the surgery was going to change me like this I would have never done it. I would’ve rather suffered with the pain or explored my options more. I wish I could rewind time and take back the surgery. I feel like my life is slipping by and I’m doing nothing with myself because I’m not myself anymore if that makes any sense and I feel as if I’m aging faster too along with gaining weight.

    1. Katherine – I’m so sorry that you too were not provided with the necessary information to make an informed decision. Sadly, that is the standard when it comes to hysterectomy (and some other gynecologic procedures). Gynecologists are harming women at alarming rates. Absent any authorities taking action to end it, it’s critical for those who have undergone this surgery to speak out and warn other women. So thank you for doing that.

  6. I have 7 children. It’s been 2 years since I had a hysterectomy. I still have my ovaries but with the changes I’ve been experiencing, it’s as if I don’t have my ovaries. I’m presently 33 years young but feel like I’m double my age. I’m incapable of getting things done the many ways I used to and my I don’t even enjoy the foods I used to. Although I’m happy I made it out of surgery alive, I feel like I went to sleep on that operating table and a very necessary, unique, and significant part of me died! Now that I think about it, it’s like when scientists say “if you throw off the balance of nature it brings chaos.” Well that is exactly what happens to us women who had a hysterectomy. Our body is a representation of mother nature and our hormones is that balance. Aside from the fact I was not well informed, I understand something now I didn’t realize before I had to get this procedure and as I’m writing this just came to my mind. The issues I have are insomnia(occasionally), nausea, constant migraines(especially when I wake up). All of these are at the most uncomfortable level. My bones and muscles have become so sensitive, my moods do their own thing, and the biggest issue I have is this imprisonment FATIGUE! I hate it! I feel in my heart I could pretty much defeat the bone and muscle weakness if I could get back to my old self by staying active but this fatigue has me easily drained. I get depressed with how quickly I become exhausted and always sleepy.
    I had to get the surgery because after having 7 children, and they were all 8 and 9 pound babies, my uterus was so big it was sitting on my bladder causing me to have a serious bladder prolapse. Just like I support the cure to cancers, I support a solution to prevent hysterectomies.

    1. Old But Young – I’m so sorry for all the problems hysterectomy has caused you! I can certainly relate. I suspect you, like almost all women, were not informed of your treatment options and the many negative effects of hysterectomy. 🙁 A pessary (a device you insert) should have been offered to suspend your organs… no surgery needed. And prolapse surgery doesn’t require removal of the uterus if you have a competent and ethical surgeon who will suspend the uterus just as they suspend the bladder. I wish you the best moving forward.

      Thank you for having the courage to speak out. That appears to be the only way we can end this harm of so many women.

      1. WS…Thank you so much for your gentle words. You have taught me something as well because I never heard of a “pessary.” I am going to read up on that and spread the word.
        Peace & Love Sister

  7. I am 32, have 2 young daughters and husband. I had a hysterectomy a year ago due to pelvic pain my OB went in and saw my uterus completely attached to my abdominal wall and to bladder and an ovary he cut it all apart the pain was unbearable a month later did a hysterectomy and tore my ureter during procedure found out a week later when urine leaking had a stent placed for 8 weeks. My urologist said my ovaries were enlarged and full of cysts. My pathology report showed adenomyosis and endometriosis 2nd opinion OB said I also have PCOS and surgeon had said my ovaries were beautiful and no need to remove. Now my full time job of 11 years I have lost along with my part time job of 7 years. I am totally exhausted can barely get up to get my daughter ready for school. Housework is so difficult I’m glad when I do anything. I used to work and come home and tidy up, I can’t even get the energy to look for work to at least draw my unemployment. I am seen as being young and appear healthy and told to go look for work. I have always worked since the age of 15 always holding 2 or 3 jobs. It’s not that I’m lazy I just feel drained, I still have a lot of pain since my ovaries should have been removed. I would have never had this hysterectomy had I known I would never be myself again. I was tired from working a lot but not exhausted no matter how much sleep I get.

    1. Julia, I’m sorry you’re suffering these common after effects of hysterectomy. You would likely be suffering even more if your ovaries had been removed. Plus you would have a whole laundry list of increased health risks since our ovaries are essential for good health our whole lives. It’s possible that some of your symptoms are due to impaired ovarian function since hysterectomy has been shown to cause that. As such, hormone therapy may help alleviate some of your symptoms. Best of luck getting the proper help. It’s difficult to find doctors who understand and know the many after effects of hysterectomy. And the surgeons tend to “wash their hands” of us.

  8. A good friend of mine had a hysterectomy and months later is suffering from fatigue and thyroid dysfunction that she attributes to old age. So sad to see another woman suffering from the unethical practices of a gynecologist. Shame on those that destroy the lives of so many women and their families.

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