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    Weight Loss After a Hysterectomy and Other Side Effects of Hysterectomy to Be Aware Of

    Updated 23 February 2019 |
    Published 17 February 2020
    Fact Checked
    Olga Adereyko, MD
    Reviewed by Olga Adereyko, MD, Primary Care Physician, General Practitioner, Medical Consultant
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    After a hysterectomy, you may experience some unexpected side effects. While there may be a link between a hysterectomy and weight loss, rapid weight loss after a hysterectomy may indicate a need for medical care. Read on to learn more about weight loss following a hysterectomy and other side effects you may experience.

    What is a hysterectomy?

    A hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus. It may include removing the ovaries and fallopian tubes as well. It’s a relatively common procedure for women in the United States, especially those between 40 and 50 years old, and may be the best treatment for chronic pain or disease. Some of the conditions that may require a hysterectomy are:

    • Uterine fibroids, which are noncancerous growths that appear in the uterus. These can cause heavy periods and prolonged bleeding. Fibroids can also cause lower back or pelvic pain. The causes for fibroids aren’t completely known, although a family history of the condition and obesity are risk factors. This is the most common reason for a hysterectomy.
    • Endometriosis, which is a condition where uterine tissue grows outside the uterus. In endometriosis, the uterine tissue typically grows in the lower pelvic region, although it can grow anywhere in the body. This tissue thickens and bleeds during the menstrual cycle, just like the uterine tissue inside the uterus, and can be very painful.
    • Uterine prolapse or pelvic support problems. Uterine prolapse is when the uterus slips down into or protrudes out of the vagina. This can be a dangerous condition and may lead to problems with the bowel and bladder.
    • Abnormal uterine bleeding
    • Chronic pelvic pain due to a combination of the above conditions
    • Cancers of reproductive organs, including ovarian and uterine cancers

    Once you’ve had a hysterectomy, you can no longer become pregnant, and you’ll no longer have periods.

    Why Uterine Fibroids Deserve Attention

    Read medically reviewed articles on topics like this

    Weight loss after a hysterectomy

    A woman experiencing weight loss after a hysterectomy

    Although some women may experience weight loss after a hysterectomy, it’s not the operation itself that causes weight loss. It may be that removing the uterus and any subsequent pain may result in a decrease in appetite, resulting in weight loss. Losing weight after a hysterectomy is fairly common, but if you were underweight to begin with or experience rapid weight loss after a hysterectomy, you may wish to speak with your doctor. 

    Nausea after a hysterectomy is also sometimes a side effect, and many women have a hard time keeping food down in the days following the procedure. You may also experience a loss of appetite during the healing process. If you aren’t able to eat or are constantly vomiting, however, you should consult with your doctor. The process of throwing up may cause more pain and affect the healing of your hysterectomy. If you aren't able to eat, you may not be getting the nutrients your body needs to heal.

    Hysterectomy is also a common treatment for several kinds of cancer. Cancer itself can cause weight loss simply due to the effects of the disease. A hysterectomy may also be performed in conjunction with chemotherapy, which also has side effects of nausea and loss of appetite.

    Weight gain after a hysterectomy

    For women who had a loss of appetite and nausea before their hysterectomy as a side effect of their medical condition, removing the uterus may alleviate nausea and increase their appetite. These women may be able to eat more or may find eating more pleasurable now that they aren’t experiencing chronic pain or discomfort. 

    Women who were used to an active lifestyle may gain weight after a hysterectomy, especially if the procedure was performed as an abdominal surgery rather than a vaginal hysterectomy. Recovery time for a hysterectomy can be around six to eight weeks, and your doctor may recommend that you wait a bit longer after your recovery before engaging in the level of exercise that you did before the surgery.