What does it mean to be sterile?
The word “sterile” means having no germ cells left in your body. You are completely free from germs or any other type of disease. Your immune system is not able to fight off any infection that may occur in your body. When you become sterile, then you will never contract any diseases again.
How long does it take to become sterile?
It takes time for the germ cells to die out completely. Some studies say that it could take up to two years before you are totally free of all germs. Other studies suggest that it could take only one year. However, most experts believe that the best way to avoid getting sick is by practicing good hygiene and avoiding contact with others who have been infected with germs.
Can I still have children after becoming sterile?
Yes, but it will be very difficult. Most women who undergo hysterectomies choose to continue their pregnancies because they want to carry the baby into adulthood. But there are some cases where the uterus cannot support such a heavy load of pregnancy and the mother’s life is at risk. If this happens, she must either give birth immediately or wait until her condition improves enough so that she can deliver naturally without medical assistance. If the mother’s condition does not improve, then the baby must be delivered by caesarean section.
Will I still have a period after a hysterectomy?
No, having your uterus removed during a hysterectomy means that you will no longer have periods or menstrual cycles. The uterus is one of the main organs that produces hormones for a woman’s menstrual cycle. If the uterus is gone, then there is no need to have a monthly cycle.
What is a partial hysterectomy?
This is an operation to remove only one of the uterus’ organs. For example, the uterine body may be removed during a hysterectomy, but the cervix will be left in place. A woman may need a partial hysterectomy if there are specific problems with one part of the uterus but not others.
How do I prepare for a hysterectomy?
Your doctor or the hospital will provide you with all instructions, but you should still prepare in three areas: information/education, things to take to the hospital, and your support system.
Obtain all the information you can about the procedure, potential complications, and follow-up care. Be sure to ask questions about anything you don’t understand until you do understand.
Arrange your things in a pack or bag so you’re ready to go as soon as you’re told you need to go to the hospital.
Tell your family and friends what’s going on so they know what to expect and what they can do to help. If possible, have someone else drive you to and from the hospital if your surgery requires an overnight stay.
What can I expect during a hysterectomy?
You will receive either a general anesthesia or a spinal block, which means you will be “put to sleep” for the surgery. The surgeon makes a cut in your lower abdomen and uterus to reach in and remove the uterus, cervix, and any other tissue that may need to be removed. The incision is then closed with stitches.
The surgery usually lasts 2-4 hours and you will be in the hospital for a few days.
What is recovery like after a hysterectomy?
You will be in the hospital for a few days while your body heals from the surgery. You may need help at home for about a week, and should return to normal activities in about two weeks.
Pain and discomfort during recovery are normal. Pain medication prescribed by your doctor should help during this time.
Bleeding may occur after a hysterectomy. Women usually use tampons or sanitary napkins and change them often.
Some women have heavy bleeding during this time while others only spot lightly. Heavy bleeding usually decreases after the first few weeks, but all women are different. Call your doctor if you have severe or persistent bleeding (passing more blood than you think you should) after the first week.
Mood swings are normal during recovery. Be patient with yourself and others as you all adjust to the changes that have occurred.
When can I get pregnant after a hysterectomy?
You cannot get pregnant after a hysterectomy since your uterus has been removed. If you still have your ovaries, they will be left in place during the hysterectomy so that you can continue to have periods.
When can I return to work after a hysterectomy?
Your return to work will depend on your job, but most women return to light duty within 1 week and return to normal activities within 2 weeks. Heavy lifting and strenuous activity should still be avoided for another month.
Last revised: December 2007
by Meribah McGee
Sources & references used in this article:
Physiology: Sperm numbers and distribution within the human Fallopian tube around ovulation by M Williams, CJ Hill, I Scudamore, B Dunphy… – Human …, 1993 – academic.oup.com
A case of ectopic pregnancy after total hysterectomy by SK Choi, SE Namkoong… – Korean Journal of …, 2010 – synapse.koreamed.org
Sexual adjustment after hysterectomy by ML Williamson – Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal …, 1992 – Wiley Online Library
Maturation and sperm penetration of canine ovarian oocytes in vitro by CA Mahi, R Yanagimachi – Journal of Experimental Zoology, 1976 – Wiley Online Library
Successful resection of a heterotopic cervical pregnancy resulting from intracytoplasmic sperm injection by EA Jozwiak, U Ulug, MA Akman, M Bahceci – Fertility and sterility, 2003 – Elsevier