What is Hysterectomy & Does it Cause Weight Gain?
Being an extremely common procedure, hysterectomy is undergone by those women who suffer from certain gynecological issues such as fibroid tumors or specific cancer types. In most cases, the conventional treatment methods have shown no improvement and surgery remains the only treatment option. However, as with any other surgical procedures, there are many questions regarding the after effects and one of the common question is does a hysterectomy cause weight gain?
Hysterectomy can be of different types, be it removal of the uterus, fallopian tubes, cervix, or the ovaries. The type of hysterectomy to be carried out solely depends on the surgery's main purpose and the issue being faced by the patient. It too plays a role in the fact whether hysterectomy causes weight gain or not. In most cases, it is the type of hysterectomy which is being carried out and the woman's general health and fitness that determines whether the woman undergoing it will gain weight after the surgery or not.
Types of Hysterectomy
Some of the commonest types of hysterectomy are:
- Total hysterectomy which involves the removal of the cervix and uterus. In this the uterus along with those tissues which hold it in place need to be taken out completely. Along with the cervix, around 2 inches of the deep vagina surrounding the cervix may also be taken out.
- Partial hysterectomy is done when the uterus alone needs to be surgically removed.
- A complete hysterectomy is one where the cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes and the ovaries are all removed. This may be required for women suffering from cancer or other serious illnesses to prevent the cancer from spreading to other body parts.
It is quite important to understand the causes, which lead to weight gain after a hysterectomy in order to completely understand why this can happen. This is very important to answer the question, does a hysterectomy cause weight gain.
By knowing the major causes, you will be able to take certain steps which will help prevent the accumulation of fat especially near the hips and abdomen region. If you have already gained weight due to a hysterectomy, it is important for you to make dietary changes and also exercise quite regularly to lose all those extra pounds rapidly.
What are the Causes of Weight Gain after a Hysterectomy?
Here are some of the most common causes of weight gain after a hysterectomy.
- Type of Hysterectomy - The type of hysterectomy performed on the patient often has a direct relation with the patient gaining immense weight right after it. Amongst all the types of hysterectomy, partial hysterectomy has the least impact on weight gain. A complete hysterectomy is carried out only in severe cases like cancer in the reproductive tract causing the woman to suddenly move into her menopausal phase of life. This results in the progesterone and estrogen levels in the body becoming slow with a gradual rise in the level of male hormones. This can cause an imbalance of hormones, which has a major effect on the body's weight thereby increasing it tremendously.
- Undergoing Emotional Turmoil – The hysterectomy not only affects the body physically, but mentally as well. Emotional status of women is a very important factor that determines the possibility of weight gain after hysterectomy. Many women experience an imbalance of hormones which can also make them emotionally disturbed, feel depressed and feel lonely. In such cases, the woman finds solace by eating more food or junk food which can greatly increase the weight without doing any good to the body.
- Recovery Period – Another factor which plays a major role in weight gain after hysterectomy is the recovery period after the surgery. The patient needs to take complete rest during the recovery period with complete lack of physical activity. The patient feels bored, has nothing to do and eating seems to be the only option left thereby leading to rapid weight gain. Moreover, some women do have a tendency to gain weight with lack of physical activity, which can add to the problem of weight gain.
- Removal of Ovaries and Uterus – As compared to other types of hysterectomy, the one where the ovaries are removed along with the uterus are more likely to result in extensive weight gain for the woman undergoing it. As hormones produced by the ovaries help to control various functions, sudden lack of production can affect metabolism and result in weight in some women.
- Being Already Overweight – If an already overweight woman undergoes a hysterectomy, no matter what type it is, the chances of her gaining weight after the surgery increases further.
- Other Medical Problems – Presence of other medical problems, particularly those which increase the risk of weight gain, can add to the problem. Women suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid problems or other hormonal problems can be at increased risk of weight gain after a hysterectomy. Similarly, those suffering from arthritis or similar issues, which can restrict the physical activity after the surgery, too can have an impact on metabolism and can increase the risk of weight gain.
How to Prevent Weight Gain after Hysterectomy?
All said and done, it is always possible to prevent too much weight gain no matter which type of hysterectomy you have undergone. In order to maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of excess weight gain after the surgery is over; all you need to do is follow these simple steps:
- Eating healthy is one of the best and simplest ways to prevent weight gain after hysterectomy. Eating a nutritious diet, which is low in fat and high in proteins and fiber will help to keep you healthy and fit. Avoid fried food items, sweets and foods which are high in calorie content.
- Eat 5 to 6 small meals throughout the day instead of eating 3 huge meals in a day. It helps to set the metabolism right and can help to prevent weight gain.
- Intake consumption of fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables in the diet is important to maintain weight.
- Foods such as chilly, pepper, meat and almonds should be included in the daily diet as it helps increase your metabolism and aids in weight loss.
- Say no to any kind of fried snacks, sweets and other comfort foods during the recovery phase.
- Increase your water intake to cleanse your system. Drink at least 10 to 12 glasses of water, preferably warm water, everyday. It helps speed up the metabolism of the body and also eliminates all the waste and toxins from the body.
- As soon as the recovery period is over, it is recommended to start with regular exercises which will help maintain a healthy body weight in the long run. You can opt for simple aerobic exercises and combine it with cardio exercises such as walking, swimming or water aerobics, particularly for overweight women or those with joint problems.
- Also opt for light weight strength training, as it will help tone the body and eliminate excess fat from it.
- Try to get the emotional support that you are looking for from your friends and family instead of finding it in food. This will help you recover rapidly without unnecessary weight gain, which can be very difficult to lose in the future.
Now, coming back to the question, does a hysterectomy cause weight gain? After considering various factors, it can be said that hysterectomy can cause weight gain in some cases. However, if the necessary precautions are taken, appropriate diet and exercise is planned, weight gain after hysterectomy can be avoided. Eating healthy and exercising every day is the key to keeping excess weight at bay not only after the hysterectomy surgery, but also for the rest of your life. Moreover, maintaining a healthy weight will also be beneficial for the body in general in the future and help avoid any other complications or problems.