A hysterectomy is major surgery but nonetheless it is a very common procedure and one with a high success rate. It is the most frequently performed major gynaecological operation in the world, as well as in the UK.1
There are three main types of hysterectomy operation:
- Vaginal hysterectomy
- Laparoscopic hysterectomy
- Abdominal hysterectomy
Which type you have will depend on various factors, from your age and weight to the reasons you are having the operation. A hysterectomy will typically be performed by a consultant gynaecologist, who might also be referred to as a gynaecological surgeon.
Gynaecology is the branch of medicine that deals with the female reproductive system.
After having a hysterectomy, you will no longer experience periods or be able to get pregnant. Some women will experience symptoms of the menopause, but not all. It can eliminate chronic pelvic pain, bloating, and heavy bleeding, among other symptoms.
At Circle Health Group, we understand that the reason for undergoing a hysterectomy often causes immense emotional challenges as well as physical, and that the prospect of having a hysterectomy can be unnerving.
Our network of consultant gynaecologists is here to support you emotionally and physically throughout your journey to better health, ensuring you experience outstanding care before, during and after surgery. You will be treated by a consultant-led, multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals who are all committed to delivering excellent, tailored-to-you care that puts your needs first.
The price of a hysterectomy at Circle Health Group starts from £8,775.
This price range is just a guide and only applies to people paying for their own treatment. If you’re a self-paying patient at Circle, we will put together a fixed price package for you, which we’ll confirm in writing before you start your treatment with us.
The initial consultation and any diagnostic tests are not included in the fixed price. However, your surgery, follow-up appointments and any aftercare you may need (for example physiotherapy) will all be included in the price we quote you.
We offer flexile payment options, too, so that you can spread the cost of your treatment over anywhere from 12 months to five years.
If you have private medical insurance, the cost of a hysterectomy will normally be covered by your plan. We work with all major providers.
For more information on costs, or anything else you might want to ask, give us a call on 0141 300 5009.
There are several gynaeoclogical conditions that can be treated through a hysterectomy, including:
Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of your womb (the endometrium) starts to grow in other places in your body, such as your ovaries and fallopian tubes, and around the organs in your pelvis.
Endometriosis affects one in 10 women in the UK.2 One of the most common issues associated with the condition is that it is difficult to diagnose, taking an average of seven and a half years from when a person first reports their symptoms.
Endometriosis causes severe pelvic pain, pain during sex and, often, infertility, as well as many other symptoms.
There are several types of uterine fibroids. Each is determined by its location in your womb. The three main types are:
Intramural fibroids: These grow within the muscle wall of your womb and are the most common type of fibroid.
Subserosal fibroids: These develop on the outside of your womb and can grow into your pelvis.
Submucosal fibroids: These form in the muscle layer that sits beneath the inner lining of your womb.
Most people with uterine fibroids are unaware that they have them. In most cases, this is because they do not produce any symptoms. However, in other cases, uterine fibroids can result in distressing symptoms that can only be alleviated through treatment.3
The above conditions, along with many other gynaecological health problems, don’t necessarily mean you need a hysterectomy. Other treatment options might include hormonal or pain medication, heat therapy, pelvic health physiotherapy, or less major surgical options. However, these options do not suit everyone.
A hysterectomy is often recommended when other treatment options have not successfully resolved your gynaecological condition(s).
Depending on your reason for having a hysterectomy, you may need other parts of your reproductive system (such as your ovaries, cervix, or fallopian tubes) removed as well as your womb. You will discuss this thoroughly with your consultant gynaecologist long before surgery, ensuring you know what to expect from your treatment plan.
- Irregular vaginal bleeding
- Urinary urgency (the frequent urge to pee)
- Urinary incontinence (an inability to control your bladder)
- Painful periods that stop you from doing normal activities
- Pain during sex
- Constipation and diarrhoea
- Pelvic pain
- Difficulty getting pregnant
These symptoms do not necessarily mean you need hysterectomy surgery, which is why it is always best to speak with your consultant, who can assess your symptoms and diagnose you properly.
There are many potential benefits of having a hysterectomy. Some will apply to the majority of women who undergo the procedure, while others will be specific to a certain condition or age range of women. They include:
- Resolved chronic pelvic pain
- Resolved abnormal and heavy bleeding
- The removal of growths and tumours in your reproductive organs
- Improved fertility
- A reduction of menstruation- and hormone-related mental health issues for example premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
- An increased sex drive
- The prevention of certain cancers, such as cervical cancer
At this first appointment, your consultant will ask about your general health and examine your medical history. They will want to know about existing medical conditions you suffer from, as well as the current symptoms you are experiencing. They will also want to know how these symptoms impact your everyday life, how often they occur, and whether you have tried treatment options for them already.
Next, your consultant will gently carry out a physical examination of your pelvis to check for any points of tenderness or visible problems, such as lesions or cysts. If a problem is found, your consultant will organise further testing.
This might include an ultrasound scan, which offers your consultant the best digital view of your reproductive organs. Or you may need to have a laparoscopy, which allows your consultant to look inside your stomach, using a very small camera. The latter procedure is necessary to conclusively diagnose conditions including endometriosis and ovarian cysts. It’s a surgical procedure that our gynaecologists perform very regularly at Circle Health Group.
It is important to remember that your initial consultation is a positive step in your journey toward better health. Your consultant is there to answer any questions you might have about your condition(s) and ease any concerns you might experience about undergoing hysterectomy surgery. We understand that making the decision to have a hysterectomy is a major one, and we welcome any questions you might have about the procedure, however trivial they might seem.
The wait between your initial consultation and undergoing treatment depends on your individual circumstances and whether you have been diagnosed with a gynaecological condition. When you go private with Circle health Group, our team will book you in for surgery as soon as is necessary, and we don’t cancel or rearrange operations except in extreme circumstances.
After your initial consultation, our multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals will ensure you understand the next steps in your journey and how to prepare for surgery, if needed.
Here we’ll look at the aims of the procedure and which parts of your reproductive system will be operated on. If you are interested in the different ways a hysterectomy can be performed (vaginal, laparoscopic or abdominal), see below under ‘what happens during a hysterectomy?’.
The type of hysterectomy you are recommended will depend on various factors including your age, your symptoms, and the underlying condition causing your problems.
The main types of hysterectomy are:
This surgery involves the removal of your womb and cervix. This is the most common type of hysterectomy, eliminating the risk of you developing cervical cancer at a later stage and often relieving chronic pain, heavy bleeding and other distressing symptoms.
A subtotal hysterectomy involves removing the main body of your womb, but not your cervix.
Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women.4 It can be prevented by regular screenings, which can spot abnormalities in the cells of your cervix before they become cancerous.
If you have a subtotal hysterectomy, there is still a risk of cervical cancer developing in your reproductive system, so you will need to have regular screenings and follow-up appointments to monitor your reproductive health.
Total hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy
This involves removing your womb and cervix, and the removal of your fallopian tubes (salpingectomy) and ovaries (oophorectomy). You might need a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy if you are at risk of developing ovarian cancer or have ovarian masses or cysts.
You might need a radical hysterectomy to treat cervical cancer. During this procedure, your consultant will remove your cervix, both ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes, the top two centimetres of your vagina, and the tissue surrounding your cervix. They will also remove your pelvic lymph glands because cervical cancer can spread to these quickly.
Your consultant will explain each of the above procedures to you in detail, including the pros and cons of each. You’re not alone in your decision to have surgery. Your consultant will guide you in the right direction and ensure you agree on the best surgical option for you.
Which of these three procedures you are recommended will depend on the type of surgery you’re having and which elements of your reproductive system are being removed, as well as your personal circumstances, for example which gynaecological condition you have, and your age and overall health.
There are some similarities across each type of surgery. They are each typically performed under either general anaesthetic or spinal anaesthetic, and each takes from one to three hours to perform.
This is a keyhole operation carried out under general anaesthetic. During this procedure, your consultant will make a cut in your tummy. They will then pass a small tube containing a telescope device (called a laparoscope) and small video camera through the incision. This allows your consultant to see inside your tummy clearly.
They will then insert specialist instruments through the incision in your tummy to carefully remove the relevant components of your reproductive system. After the appropriate parts have been removed, the incisions in your tummy will be closed with stitches.
During this procedure, your consultant will remove your womb and cervix through an incision made at the top of your vagina. Specialist instruments will then be inserted into your vagina to detach the womb from the ligaments that hold it there. After your consultant has removed your womb and cervix, they will close the incision at the top of your vagina with stitches.
This procedure typically takes an hour and can be performed under general anaesthetic (when you are not awake during the procedure), local anaesthetic (when you are awake, but will not feel any pain), and spinal anaesthetic (when you are awake and numb below the waist).
This surgery is less invasive than an abdominal hysterectomy.
This procedure is performed under general anaesthetic.
Your consultant will make an incision across the bikini area of your tummy. It will be approximately 10cm long. Sometimes, your consultant might need to make a slightly larger, vertical incision along the middle of your tummy. This usually happens if you have large fibroids (non-cancerous growths) in your womb, or in the case of certain types of cancer.
Abdominal hysterectomy is recommended if your womb is enlarged by fibroids or pelvic tumours, making it difficult to remove parts of your reproductive system through your vagina.
During laparoscopic surgery, also known as keyhole surgery, your consultant will make small incisions in your tummy. They will then insert a small tube with a light source and camera attached to it through one of these incisions. As mentioned above, this device is called a laparoscope, which helps your consultant see inside your tummy on a monitor and insert specialist instruments to destroy and cut away endometrial tissue.
The same type of operation can be performed if you have ovarian cysts. During this surgery, your consultant will remove your cyst(s) through incisions made in your tummy. After the cyst(s) has been removed, the incisions will be closed using dissolvable stitches.
Laparotomy for ovarian cysts
A laparotomy is usually recommended when an ovarian cyst is particularly large or there is a chance it could be cancerous. During the procedure, a single, larger cut is made in your tummy to access your ovary and the cyst. Your consultant will close the incision with staples or stitches.
Reconstructive repair surgery for pelvic organ prolapse helps restore organs to their original position and offers support to your pelvic muscles. This can be performed laparoscopically through an incision in your vagina or abdomen.
The day following your operation, a member of your healthcare team will help you get up from bed and take your first gentle steps after surgery to help normalise your blood flow and experience the benefits of some low-impact activity.
Your physiotherapist will begin building your specialist exercise plan to help improve your mobility and strengthen your pelvic floor muscles in aid of a fast and effective recovery. They will show you how to perform these safely and carefully.
Your stitches will be removed five to seven days after surgery.
Recovering at home
No recovery period looks the same. Each person experience recovery differently, depending on several factors, such as:
- Your physical health
- Your emotional health
- The type of procedure you have had
- Your age
Recovering from an abdominal hysterectomy
You should be able to leave hospital around five days after surgery, but this depends on your individual circumstances.
It takes around six to eight weeks to fully recover after having an abdominal hysterectomy. During this time, you should continue to perform the exercises set by your physiotherapist. Rest as much as possible and avoid heavy lifting. Try brisk walks and gentle swimming for exercise but be gentle with yourself as you recover.
Drink plenty of fluids and increase your fibre intake to help with bowel and bladder movements (some people experience constipation after surgery). If you need to take laxatives for your first few bowel movements after surgery in hospital, we will provide these.
If your job does not involve manual work or heavy lifting, it may be possible to return after four to eight weeks. Do not drive until you can comfortably wear a seatbelt and safely perform an emergency stop. This can be anything from three to eight weeks after surgery.
Recovery from a vaginal or laparoscopic hysterectomy
You should be able to leave hospital between one and four days after surgery.
The overall recovery time for vaginal and laparoscopic surgery is shorter than abdominal surgery, but it still follows the same process.
Once home, you must follow the exercises set by your physiotherapist. Avoid strenuous activity in the weeks after your surgery to give yourself time to heal. You must not drive until you are comfortable when wearing a seatbelt and can safely and properly perform an emergency stop.
You might be able to return to work more quickly than with an abdominal hysterectomy (for example, within two to three weeks). Please discuss this with your consultant, who understand your personal circumstances and can provide an accurate recovery timeline tailored to your individual situation.
Expect vaginal discharge
After a hysterectomy, you will experience some vaginal bleeding and discharge that can last up to six weeks. This is normal. Your consultant will explain this to you before surgery so that it isn’t a cause for concern during your recovery period.
Expect symptoms associated with the menopause
If your ovaries are removed, you will usually experience menopausal symptoms after your operation. These can include:
- Difficult sleeping
- Hot flushes
- Low mood and anxiety
- Vaginal dryness
- Reduced sex drive
You may be recommended hormone replacement therapy (HRT) after your operation to combat these symptoms. This can be given in the form of an implant, injections, or tablets.
Your consultant can discuss this treatment option with you.
Do you still need a smear test after a hysterectomy?
If you have your cervix removed as part of your hysterectomy and therefore no longer have a cervix, then you no longer need smear tests, which detect abnormalities in the cells of your cervix before they become cancerous.
Does a hysterectomy bring on early menopause?
This depends on the type of hysterectomy you have. If you have a total or radical hysterectomy, which involves the removal of your ovaries, you will experience the menopause immediately after your operation, regardless of your age. This is often referred to as a surgical menopause.
If one or both of your ovaries remain and only your uterus is removed, there is a chance that you will experience the menopause within the first five years after having a hysterectomy.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can help significantly reduce menopausal symptoms that occur after a hysterectomy. There are many types of HRT and many ways you can take it. Most women take a combination of the hormones oestrogen and progestogen. It can be taken in tablet form, or as skin patches, gels or vaginal creams.
Will I still get my period after a hysterectomy?
If your consultant removes the entirety of your uterus then you will not experience periods after surgery. However, if a portion of your uterus is left in place, the remaining portion grows endometrial tissue and sheds it monthly, resulting in light bleeding. This is only the case if your ovaries remain in place.
Is it normal to bleed after a hysterectomy?
Yes, it is normal to have some bleeding for up to six weeks after surgery while the stitches dissolve and your tissue heals.
How long does the discharge last after hysterectomy?
It is normal to experience vaginal discharge for up to six weeks after surgery. If you are concerned about the nature of your vaginal discharge and bleeding, speak with your consultant.
Can you have sex after a hysterectomy?
You will be advised not to have sex for around four to six weeks following surgery. This allows time for your scars to heal and any discharge and/or vaginal bleeding to alleviate.
It is okay to not feel ready to have sex again after six weeks. People feel ready at different times, and some people experience low libido after surgery. This is due to a drop in oestrogen, which is important for sexual desire. Many of these hormones are produced by the ovaries, which are often removed during a hysterectomy.
It is common to feel a sense of mourning for your sexuality and womanhood after surgery, because the female reproductive system is so often associated with femininity and sexual function in society.
Not everybody feels this way, and many people find their sexual function improves after surgery.
Studies published by The NCBI show that most people who are sexually active before a hysterectomy experience the same or better sexual functioning after the surgery.5
How long will my stomach be swollen after I have a hysterectomy surgery?
Your tummy can feel swollen for up to six weeks after the procedure. You might also experience painful gas during this time. Speak with your consultant if this becomes particularly bothersome. They can recommend ways to alleviate these symptoms.
Can you get pregnant after a hysterectomy?
You will not be able to have a pregnancy after a hysterectomy.
When you have a hysterectomy, your uterus (womb) is removed. Often your other reproductive organs are removed too (the ovaries and fallopian tubes). During the conception of a baby, the egg and sperm fuse to form an embryo. The womb acts as the vessel where the embryo attaches and grows, making these organs critical in the process of conceiving a baby.
However, there are other ways that you can have a baby following a hysterectomy, such as through surrogacy or adoption.
These reports are based on the survey responses of more than 10,000+ women currently battling a gynaecological condition.
We share intricate healthcare journeys, coping methods and candid, first-hand portrayals of what living with a women’s health issue is really like. We also cover:
- Information about what to look out for, diagnostic testing and effective treatment options for each condition
- Insightful, honest commentary by our body of specialist consultant gynaecologists, Wellbeing of Women charity members and consultant Trustee of The Vulval Pain Society
- Links to trusted support networks across a range of conditions
- Expert insight shared by Wellbeing of Women, ground-breaking research charity and advocate for increased awareness of women's health. We partnered with Wellbeing of Women to produce this series of reports
Potential complication during a surgical procedure include:
- Blood clotting
- Excessive bleeding
- Chest infection
- Difficulty passing urine
- Heart attack
Specific complications that can occur during a hysterectomy include:
- Blood clots
- Difficulty passing urine
- Bladder damage
- Bowel damage
- Ureter damage
- Early menopause
If you have any concerns about these, speak with your consultant. They will be able to discuss their likelihood with you in more detail and put your worries at ease.
- Flexible appointment times and locations to fit your routine
- The freedom to choose which hospital and consultant suit your needs
- Personalised, consultant-led treatment plans tailored to your individual needs
- Comfortable and safe private facilities maintained by expert multidisciplinary teams
- Support by the same compassionate clinical team from beginning to end
- Affordable, fixed-price packages with aftercare included
- Flexible payment options to spread the cost of your care
If you would like to learn more about this procedure, book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly on 0141 300 5009.