ZocdocAnswersAre hysterectomies associated with depression?

Question

Are hysterectomies associated with depression?

My doctor is advising me to get a hysterectomy, and I'm trying to understand what this means for my future. I've heard that getting a hysterectomy is bad for your mental health and can cause depression. Is that true? What are the long-term risks?

Answer

Hysterectomy is a common procedure than many women undergo. I encourage you to discuss your specific condition with your ob/gyn who could specifically address your concerns. As with any procedure, medication or surgery, there a risks and benefits to a hysterectomy and these must be discussed with your doctor. A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus. This can be done in a variety of ways. A big distinction is "open" or "laparascopic" which refers to how big of an incision the ob/gyn would need to make. Another big distinction is if the ovaries (the reproductive gland in the women that makes hormones like estrogen) is also removed as well. If the ovaries are removed, the patient enters menopause. There are many indications for having the uterus removed, but fibroids, bleeding and cancer are the most common. Women who undergo a hysterectomy are more susceptible to depression. However, this is not because of a chemical or mechanical cause. The major reason that women maybe at increased risk is the thought of losing the uterus--an symbolic part of the womenhood. This is more common in younger women. Hysterectomy also renders a woman infertile--another cause of depression in women. If the ovaries are removed, menopause ensues which can invoke depression in young women. Depression can occur after hysterectomy as some women feel they have lost a part of their womanhood. However, understanding the need, risks and benefits of procedure can help alleviate depression. Hysterectomy does not have a physical basis for resulting in depression and therefore you can avert this complication by thoroughly understanding your procedure. Talk to your ob/gyn.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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