Hysterectomies can contribute in a major way to helping many women find relief from uncomfortable, painful, even dangerous medical conditions that are interfering with daily life.
The beneficial impact of hysterectomy is often accompanied by an emotional toll, as the surgery can disrupt bodily systems associated with other essential functions such as hormone balance and eventually menopause. If you’re experiencing sudden weight gain following your hysterectomy, try not to worry.
In most cases, it’s simply due to the hormonal shifts within your body, and you have nothing to feel self-conscious about. You may experience some short term bloating or fluctuations in mood; so here are a few steps for learning how to lose weight after a hysterectomy:
Understanding Weight Gain After Hysterectomy
Hysterectomy is the most common surgical procedure for women. During a hysterectomy, the uterus and cervix are removed from the body and other nearby tissue.
The uterus is also sometimes called “the womb,” while the cervix is an opening at the top that opens into the uterus. Sometimes, fallopian tubes and ovaries are removed if they are thought to be diseased or otherwise problematic.
A woman’s ovaries produce hormones, so these should be left in place unless possible or when there may be a medical reason to remove them.
The other main reason to have a hysterectomy is if a person has too many severe symptoms due to endometriosis and cannot adequately treat this condition in other ways. A hysterectomy can also reduce pain from adenomyosis, colloquially known as endometriosis of the bowels (intestines).
One side effect of removing the uterus and ovaries (both released by a total hysterectomy) that most people anticipate is the chance to lose weight finally.
Still, in many cases, weight gain occurs instead. Not understanding why this happens can make things much more difficult when managing expectations. So rather than pointing fingers, here is a quick overview of some of the most common causes for this unexpected outcome.
How to Lose Weight After Hysterectomy
Whether you want to lose weight after your hysterectomy or you’re trying to prevent weight gain from starting, here are some things that can help:
Consult your practitioner.
A balanced diet and regular physical activity are key to healthy living, regardless of whether an individual has undergone bariatric surgery.
Eating a healthy diet that consists of lean meats, whole grains, and plenty of fruits and vegetables can help you maintain your weight and health following surgery. Still, it is important to always talk with your doctor for dietary advice.
Focus on nutrition.
Plan your meals around lean proteins, whole grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables to keep yourself on a nutritious diet that has plenty of vitamins and minerals.
When it comes time to make these meals from scratch, you’ll need some great recipes that you can manage.
If you have the opportunity to stock up your freezer with pre-made meals-in-waiting, do it because this will do cooking for yourself easier (you know exactly what is in your food), and it’ll save you time!
As soon as your surgeon gives you the green light, start taking strides toward getting back to whatever activities you enjoy. Increase activity as you regain your strength and ease your way up to an active lifestyle.
After you’ve fully recovered from whatever circumstance made it necessary for you to take some time off or slow down, then you can focus on burning fat, deepening your muscles and building strength as well!
Many activities can get real results after just a short amount of time, but to find something that will usually be a challenge, if not seemingly impossible, lasting beyond short-term efforts. You have to do research first to become familiar with the body’s capabilities and your limitations.
Stress and poor sleep are tough on the body, but they can be incredibly challenging when recovering from a hysterectomy.
We are much more likely to pack on the pounds if we get too little shut-eye, and this tendency magnifies following surgery.
A study published in PolyOne journal demonstrated that stress hormones also increase people’s affection for specific foods, making them vulnerable to overeating and weight gain after a hysterectomy or any other type of operation.
Explore Hormone Replacement Therapy.
If you are pre-menopausal, you will enter into surgical menopause. Some women who haven’t had a hysterectomy will experience an early onset of menopause and may require HRT therapy if experiencing any of the following:
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Hot flashes and night sweats, vaginal dryness and painful intercourse, tiredness or lack of focus, mood swings, insomnia or sleep disturbances.
Many women have turned to Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to alleviate these symptoms. However, before taking HRT drugs, certain factors must first be assessed by a professional.
They may not be suitable for everybody, especially those with a family history of hormone fueled cancers such as breast cancer.
If you are one of the 400,000 women who choose hysterectomies annually in the U.S., you are wise to be concerned about post-surgical weight gain, as it is common for many women as they recover from their surgery.
We want to make sure that your doctor will treat your HRT like a prescription and will only recommend it when there is a need so as not to cause any unnecessary side effects.
Habituation to the product, even though most physicians may come off as “pushy” recommending this kind of treatment routinely without exploring all other options first. It’s good always to know what’s best for our bodies.