Beat depression after hysterectomy – 5 Vital tips on how to manage these emotions

The risk of depression after hysterectomy is one of the consequences that women may have to cope with.

depression after hysterectomy surgery

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Women have a hysterectomy to treat various medical conditions, such as uterine fibroids, endometriosis, pelvic pain, cancer of the cervix or uterus, and prolapse of the uterus.

Whatever the reason one needs a hysterectomy, this surgery can affect a woman’s emotional health.

Ranging from fear of loss of fertility and femininity to depression and sadness, women can undergo various types of feelings or emotions after removing the uterus.

Depression after hysterectomy: Why does it occur?

Loss of fertility

Losing the ability to become pregnant and have children is hard for many women. This is more often seen in women in their child-bearing age and those who do not have children. They feel major changes in their body.

According to clinical studies, depression after hysterectomy is more common in women who have their uterus, as well as ovaries, removed. The belief that the surgery robbed her of her femininity is the major cause of sadness in women.

Hormonal Imbalance

Experts believe that hormonal disruptions are possibly the causative factor of emotional turmoil in patients undergoing hysterectomy. This is because the hormonal imbalance affects beta-endorphins (the natural hormones responsible for feelings of emotional well-being).

Endorphin or beta-endorphin levels are affected by the ovarian hormones estrogen and progesterone. Once they remove the ovaries, the level of ovarian hormones decreases, which in turn may affect a woman’s emotional and mental stability.

Weight gain

Sudden weight gain during the first year after a hysterectomy makes many women feel fat and unattractive. They often feel depressed after a hysterectomy when all their weight loss efforts have no results.

A family history of depression

Some women are more likely to develop depression than others. The woman’s personal history or family history is a major risk factor for post-hysterectomy depression.

Loss of sexual function

Another cause of sadness and depression after hysterectomy is a loss of sexual function and sensation. After a hysterectomy, a woman cannot undergo uterine orgasm. Many a time, one-third of the vagina is also removed during a hysterectomy. This can cause pain in the vagina, leading to painful sex. Loss of vaginal lubrication after the surgery can affect sexual function.

How do you deal with post-hysterectomy depression?

The incidence of post-hysterectomy depression is quite common. According to a new study, as much as 4 to 6 percent of women will suffer from depression or anxiety after this surgery, with an increased risk for women who have this surgery before the age of 35. In most cases, the condition resolves itself within two to four weeks. However, if it persists for a longer duration, it can affect the quality of your life.

depression after hysterectomy

The following 5 VITAL STEPS may help you cope with your emotions.

#1. Have a good night’s sleep

Research shows that insomnia can lead to depression plus a reduced quality of life. The first step to dealing with depression after hysterectomy is getting enough sleep. Get a regular sleep schedule and go to bed at the same time every night. Give yourself some time to unwind. It is recommended to close all electronic devices for at least one hour before going to bed. When getting ready for the night, do breathing exercises or spend half an hour reading a book before trying to get to sleep.

#2. Practice meditation

Ongoing research suggests that meditation affects certain parts of the brain, often associated with depression. The medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) goes into overdrive in depressed people. You can better reject the negative feelings of stress and anxiety through meditation.

Meditation appears to be a promising treatment for women battling depression. You can try different types of meditation and see what best works for you. Mindfulness meditation, breath awareness meditation, body scan meditation, and yoga are just a few popular examples you can try.

#3. Focus on positivity

A cognitive approach is trying to stop your negative thoughts. You may be able to handle depression symptoms better by focusing on the positive side of the surgery. For whatever reason, you got the uterus removed; it has relieved the pain and other symptoms associated with the problem. Look at the brighter side, and you can handle the symptoms better.

#4. Exercise

Everyday exercising may help to alleviate depression after hysterectomy by:

  • Releasing feel-good chemicals in the brain that can improve one’s sense of well-being.
  • Taking your mind off negative thoughts often fuels depression.
  • Boosting your self-confidence when your appearance improves (Lose weight, feeling fitter)
  • Socializing with others through group activities. (Zumba, yoga class)

Be physically active for at least thirty minutes a day, even if it is the last thing you feel like you want to do. Talk to your physician or surgeon about the types of exercises that you can do after surgery.

Read also: How to get started with exercise after hysterectomy?

#5. Talk to friends and family

Talk to your partner, friends, and family if the symptoms persist. Confiding about your symptoms helps in dealing with them in a better way. You may also consider joining a support group for women with a hysterectomy or our private Facebook community.

Depression after hysterectomy is a real problem for many women undergoing surgery. However, it is important that you handle it and return to your normal daily activities. If you notice any of these symptoms after the surgery, talk to your physician and get your symptoms evaluated. She may prescribe you medications or therapy to deal with the symptoms.

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  1. HI, I am Prads, I had a total hysterectomy just 8 weeks ago. First 2-3 weeks were all good. Moral high but gradually I started feeling low and lagged behind. I was the axis of the family and was nicely and happily balancing my family and my high profile job. I had this feeling that as I am not able to take care of my kids, my loving husband, they have started ignoring me,. I felt totally lost and lagged behind and what not.
    One morning after almost a sleepless night I realized that I am making my life along with theirs a hell. I am lucky to be born in a country where Yoga and Pranayama ( breathing exercise) is a part of daily routine. I have started my regular exercise routine of 40 mins walk and twenty minutes of yoga and Pranayama ( breathing exercise). I am quite normal now. Deep breathing exercise is magic. I am back to work, back to my loving family and back to life.
    Yoga and Pranayama really works. Be happy and be strong girls. This is a new beginning. we are all back to our pre ‘Cycle’ carefree days. Enjoy to the fullest.

  2. I had a hysterectomy 5 years ago I feel like I have been robbed. I had no choice, I had a womb prolapse. Now I feel like nothing on earth wish I never had it done. Nothing was explained in how you would feel after. Now all they want me to use is Overton cream which I don’t feel like using that every night. I don’t want to see the Gynaecologist every year, thats no fun either. I feel like I have no life left, I have just had enough of everything.

  3. I am one year since my surgery I had everything removed and at first I was doing well my dr put me on estradiol and I felt great now I feel like it stopped working I am so depressed I feel out of control

  4. Hi everyone,
    I’m starting this by saying- hang in there everybody- I’m not suggesting anyone do what I’m doing, I’m in no way qualified to even make suggestions- this is my story and I know I ’m not the norm- I ramble so you have my apologies-
    I am 41 years old and I had a total hysterectomy 12 weeks ago. My doctor and I chose The no hormone replacement therapy route because I have a strong family history of breast cancer, my mother and aunt both had it. Thank God they beat it – they are both very strong ladies. Anyways, I had a polycystic ovarian syndrome, which is very very common and was not the reason for my hysterectomy- I had other issues too. Since my period began at age 15 I had experienced terrible mood swings, facial and body hair, hot flashes, acne, made terrible decisions- some of them with lasting scars. These occurred at regular intervals and made life difficult for those who loved me. I can pinpoint times in my life that have been particularly turbulent to hormone fluctuations and my menstrual cycles. I often felt out of control and embarrassed and compared myself to “normal”- as if I wasn’t. Depression was a normal state for me for years. If I wasn’t upset and making everyone’s life difficult, I was cleaning up the mess my behaviors had caused or feeling guilty.

    Fast forward to now- Uterus gone- ovaries gone- I feel depressed sometimes-but not in a way that’s unmanageable- because everyone feels sad from time to time- we’re all human and we’re still women. The problem I’m having now is this abdominal weight gain. I was always envious of women who had pear-shaped or hourglass figures- or even any curves- polycystic ovarian syndrome made my torso very straight- smaller hips and breasts- no real curves. I felt undesirable to men- I now feel even less desirable bc I have this spare tire around my waist. My metabolism was high enough before my surgery to at least keep a straight figure- but now I’m getting this spare tire around my belly- I heard that 40 is the phase in our lives where we just stop giving a crap about what other think- when does this start? I know I have to put down the Twinkie and walk away from the sweets- which is hard- especially at my house. My knees hurt- and I’ve also heard that after a hysterectomy your body stops producing as much joint lubrication. I’ve heard that I can take hyaluronic acid and that should help. I will be trying this out. My skin has benefitted the most from the hysterectomy- I had the worst acne- cystic- and have scars. But that’s ok- I’m glad that my skin is clearer now, and it gets better every day.

    Here’s my point- I’m realizing that I’m in a different phase of my life now- I try not to compare myself to “normal” – or younger women- I’m moving into this new phase of my life whether I like it or not- when I get agitated I try my best to pause-( this was NOT an option before my surgery. My life was ruled by my cycles.) The first time I had a hot flash- post surgery- I was actually relieved. I’d been having them for years throughout my entire menstration it was a relief to know that is what they were. The hair growth is no shock either- I’ve been plucking those chin and body hairs for decades.
    I’m hoping someone out there has had the same experience as me. And that’s why I’m writing this.
    It have to believe it’s gonna get better for us ladies because Women have done this for years and they’re ok. I am grateful for my hysterectomy today. When I start feeling blue- I make a gratitude list-were still on this side of the dirt let’s make the most of it, right? If you’re like me and had your hysterectomy early think of all the time and money we’ve saved not cycling. Not to mention sparing my relationships from my extreme dramatic mood swings. I just wanted to reach out to anyone who reads this and is having a hard time and tell them that no matter what you look like, reproductive organs or no, you are beautiful. Stop comparing yourself to other women. There is no norm. If you’re feeling moody- that’s ok. We lost part of our bodies. There’s a real tangible loss here not to mention One of our bodies main controlling components (hormone regulation) is offline now. If there is a normal to this completely abnormal event- we are it. I’m ok. I’m ok with not being ok too. Acceptance is the solution to all my problems today. I hope someone gets something out of reading this.

    1. Thank you so much for your blog. I am just 3 weeks post op. Having a little rough time with this emotionally and physically.
      I am a very active person and this 6 weeks of doing nothing is killing me. I had to slow down a bit because of the pain.
      I am fighting through this and I thank you for writing this.

    2. Thank you! I needed to read that I’m not alone. I’m working on Accepting and being grateful for my life with my family.

  5. Hi Ladies
    I’m 3 weeks post op. I was feeling great , walking and moving making great progress… then last week felt a little weepy and some hot flashes but now Boom! Anxiety, low in mood, exhausted, extremely weepy … basically like I’ve run into a brick wall. I went to a health store today and was advised to take magnesium, sage tablets and some sage based drops all for anxiety and flushes… I’m also taking vit D…. I’m eating lots of healthy foods and drinking water! I’ll let you know regarding the sage and magnesium but if I don’t feel better I may need something from the docs! It’s tougher than I ever thought… mentally. I really hope I can combat this as it’s not a good feeling at all! Good luck ladies… we can do it we are strong! Well … that’s what I’m telling myself! X

  6. Hi I had a hysterectomy 11 months ago. I had my ovaries removed and have felt the worst anxiety and depression. I have suffered with depression for years but feel this has made it worse. Don’t know what to do as have tried different doses of HRT and nothing seems to work. I feel I have no quality of life anymore.

    1. Zelda, I too am feeling the same way. I am glad I am not alone. I had my ovaries out in November. I had a partial hyster in 2010. I felt great for the first month. No hot flashes, slept great and a positive attitude. Fast forward 30 days to this month. I sleep 3 hours a night and have to drag myself out of bed to a job I used to love. As soon as my work day is done I go straight to bed and just lay there. Prior to the surgery, I went to the gym 3x per week. I do not think I have smiled in a month and I am terribly depressed. I did get a prescription for Premarin and that has reduced the flashes to only 4 or 5 times a day. I plan on seeing my Dr. next week to see what she can recommend. I will post what she says.

    2. Update…..
      Premarin seems to be doing wonders. 0.3 mg. I rarely get a hotflash during the day. I am not nearly as tired after work. I am also taking Magnesium and Synergy B brand B complex with L-Theanine. I take them at around 7pm. I have been falling asleep within 30 mins of going to bed and although still waking up every few hours I fall back asleep very quickly. I am still not 100% but much happier than I was.

  7. I had a total hysterectomy 2 1/2 years ago. I was very depressed. Every 2nd week of the month I gave my husband hell. Until he told me,” Every time i get happy again. You trip out every month” I had to look into that. After I realized that was true. I asked him to forgive me. I started praying for sanity. Every month after that everytime I had a bad thought, I replaced it with happiness. After all, the hysterectomy saved my life. I can work again, I can go to the store without having an accident( bleeding from the fibroids) I can live life happy. Anyway, im excited about life. So recognize your pattern, change it. My husband and I are happy now. I thank GOD he said that to me.

  8. Due to a massive lung embolism, I had a hysterectomy a year 3 months ago during Childbirth. At first, I felt very ok. Strong and alive., but as time came by with the stress of nursing, relocating into a totally new environment. Am an African married to a german. Our 2 year as a couple. Things have now taken a different turn. I feel hopeless and lost. I can’t seem to concentrate on anything.. have lost every sense of happiness in me! Only seems to hold on to my young child now. Can anyone help me understand if this a sign of depression?

    1. Yes it is. You may want to talk with you primary care doctor to see how they can help. It can also be postpartum depression.

  9. Hello-
    I’m glad I found this page. I’m 10 weeks post total hysterectomy (kept ovaries). I’m 44 years old and have a daughter. I thought I was doing well, but having issues in parts of my life. I don’t think I’m depressed, but may be, and definitely have mood swings from time to time. It helps knowing that I’m not the only one feeling a hormone imbalance. Thank you all for sharing your stories. I pray that all of you receive the help you need, and able to work your way through your situations. Please stay strong, because you are stronger than you think you are right now.

    1. I’m 7 months post op. I had been ill for 11 years constant bleeding so they eventually gave me a hysterectomy I thought everything would be fine after but recently I’m still in a lot of pain I’m still under the hospital and everything is getting me down. I use to love going to work now I hate it. I don’t sleep and it takes me all my time to get out of bed to go to work. I was worried there was only me feeling like this I’m only 37 and I’m glad I found this sight so I know I’m not alone

  10. I had a total hysterectomy on 02/13/17. I suffered at first with severe neck pain and vision changes. Now I’m dealing with sever anger and crying spells. I have tried a few meds but they make me feel like a zombie. I do yoga daily and eat healthy. But the depression is so overwhelming. I went from being a super active 39 yr old to a depressed, sad woman in the blink of an eye. No energy.

  11. I am almost 8 weeks post hysterectomy due to a very large fibroid. I kept my ovaries. I also had an ovarian cyst and my appendix removed. I am so severely depressed I cry uncontrollably at times, can’t sleep and have intense anxiety at night/early morning. I’m glad I found these comments so I don’t feel alone. I was not expecting this at all. I am 50, and I was possibly in perimenopause, not sure. Will this stop on it’s own? I also have a very stiff neck and leg/body pain, and nooo energy. Oh, and nausea. I’m afraid I’ll never feel normal again! I don’t feel ready to go back to work yet at all, but am out of sick days. Thank God I see my doc on Monday. Any advice is appreciated. Everyone told me I would feel better after this! Not the case, at least not yet.

    1. My complete hysterectomy was oct 18 2017 and I’m having same exact symptoms. I had my ovaries removed. I was never told this was common after surgery so I assumed I was just going crazy. I was put on estradiol patch to help with extreme hot flashes at night. It did help the hot flashes but the anxiety, panic attacks, and depression have been severe. I am now on lexapro and Xanax ! Never had to take meds for anything like this before. I too had to go back to work out of sick days. It’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever been through. I’m praying for anyone experiencing this and praying the lexapro helps me. You may need to talk to your doc about anti anxiety meds. Praying for relief for us all.

  12. Had my hysterectomy in may 2017 felt great at first but the last few weeks ive changed terrble mood swings feeling lost empty and always crying for the smallest of things.
    Ive only been married 9 mths but not had chance to enjoy it with lots of stress’s from both sides of our families.
    My husband is under so much pressure and i cant open up to him.
    Im so negative.
    And feel needy

  13. Hi lady’s! I would really like to be a part of this group and connect with you! I had my hysterectomy on June 6, 2017. A large hole was cut in my bladder during procedure and I had to wear a catheter for 15 days! It’s been 11 weeks so far and I’m noticing so much depression right now! It’s been going on for about 4 days now (this is the same time I should be on my period). I have uncontrollable crying, I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, my body is exhausted. I DONT want to be on meds. Does it get better? How do you ladies coop? Please help, this isn’t me or who I want to be…. thanks.

  14. Hi Maxine. Had my full hysterectomy in February 2017 anxiety and depression has set in .don’t know what it is to feel normal again. what is a good medicine to help me .I just want to feel again. Free please keep me in your prayers as I keep you all in my prayers

  15. Hi, my name is Jill. I had a hysterectomy almost 3 years ago and have been struggling with depression this whole time. Depression runs in my so I guess I was doomed from the get go. I’ve been to the Drs about my depression and I’ve tried 3 different meds. My biggest problem is I only get severely depressed once a month for about a week long. I am almost convinced it has to do with my ovaries and when I normally would have my monthly period (since i still have my ovaries). I’ve only had 3 really bad episodes were taking my life was a priority for me, the rest of my episodes have been managed ok. Still really sucks though. Any advice how to get this under control? 🙁

    1. Hiya I had TAH 4 years ago and I get depressed really bad once a month also for about a week (the time my period would av been) and feel like sm one has died and lost and crave for a baby so so much at this time and can’t be around babies xxx

  16. I had my uterus and ovaries removed, A/P prolapse repair, mesh bladder sling, and cyste removal on 5/25. I was only in the hospital 1 day but had complications. Recovery has been hard. Starting post op week 6 and pretty depressed. Still hurting, but resting after exercise and using ice I never though recovery would be so hard. I look fine from the outside so most don’t understand what I’m dealing with. I’m 54 and now on bio-identical estrigen therapy.

  17. I had a full hysterectomy almost a year ago. Just have my ovaries and thats it. I had fibroids so big the operation had to happen. I do not have any children. I was at peace with the decision of having the operation. But about 4 months after the operation everything hit me. I was devistated. Felt totally ripped off, still do. Im to get married this year but no kids for us.. I dont have a great support cirlce so I went to a phycologist, and just talked it through. Went on anti-depresants (low dose) and now Im ok. Im not the same person as before the operation but i’m 80% there. Go walking every day. Just try and take care of myself as you wood a child.
    I try to just think it wasnt meant to be for me to be a mother. Perhaps there is something else Im meant to do just around the corner. I really try to be positive and think of all the good. Keeping the negative thoughts out is a must if you can. I honestly had no idea before the op that my emotions would be as screwed up as they were.
    I wish you all the very best and remember to take care of you in every way!!

    1. You have a mother’s heart. Adoption is amazing. I had one miscarriage at 20 and never had another pregnancy. Was still hopeful in 2nd marriage at 38. By 40 still no pregnancy. I always wanted children and now it looked hopeless. No money to spend on ivf. However God had other plans….We adopted a baby girl from Birth and she is the greatest joy. She’s 11 now. I had a hysterectomy last Feb.2017 I also have a 4 year old that we got a 4 months old. Lots of babies out there without mommas. Had I had kids when I was younger, I probably wouldn’t have wanted them later in life.
      Many blessings and hope to you!

    2. I am 2 weeks post hysterectomy due to fibroids as well, I have no children either and finally have met a man that I could of seem having a child with, I’m 39. I’m sad. I can’t sleep I can’t do much still which is really hard for me but that will change in a few weeks I hope. I’m just so sad.. thank you for your post it made me fell not alone.

  18. I am glad to see I am not alone in this. I had a hysterectomy just before Christmas on Dec 13th 2016. I went through severe anxiety because I am the kind of person that needs distractions to keep my anxiety at bay. The fact that all you can do is sit there and heal for 4-6 weeks plays mind games with you. It has been 6 months and the anxiety is better but I want my strength and stamina back too. I also feel depressed about what I have been through in the past 6 months. I just need to remember where I was and how far I have come.

  19. hi my name is Sarah I had a hysecteromy on January 18 2017 and I have depression and anxiety always feeling scared and it’s messing up with my thinking … i want to know how long this will last and how can I overcome this

  20. It’s 8 weeks post op since my cystocele and hysterectomy and I have cried every day since. Even thought about getting in the car driving into the sea, which is 10 minutes from where I live.
    I’m 62 and past the menopause so why is this affecting me so badly? I am sure it will pass but is this normal and how long does it go on for?

    1. Even after menopause, the ovaries continue to produce small amounts of male (androgens) and female hormones. So if they removed your ovaries, the hormonal changes in your body may be responsible for your feelings of unexplainable sadness. But please, if you have suicidal thoughts go and talk to someone, like your doctor for instance. There are medications that can help you get through this bad period.

  21. My cousin had this surgery.They removed both ovary and uterus…Now she went to almost complete depression..Feeling very sad to see her in this situation..She thought of taking estrogen tablet..what to do?

  22. Had my surgery May 10 and I can’t seem to get back to normal. I have anxiety attacks almost every night. I feel off balance emotionally. I don’t know what to do.

    1. Hi Baker, my name is Elizabeth I had this surgery five weeks ago and I started feeling depreseds.My first recommendation; Go out walk listen to music, practice meditation, ask your doctor for medicine. I took a small dose for panic attacks and anxiety. Find help. Eat healthy and eat less sugar. You are gonna be ok. Good luck

    2. I am having the same problem Baker 9. I still have my ovaries. I’m slowly regaining my strength and able to do all the things I used to. I just have to sneak in a nap during the day. But the heart palpitations at night are so severe. I have started taking Valium to sleep. You’re not alone in this I guess.

  23. I had my hysterectomy on September the 8th 2016 and now I have depression. Just wondering how long it will last

    1. Hi Anna , I had hysterectomy five weeks ago , the only thing is help me is meditation and go out and listening music . try to eat healthy and vitamins and less sugar . Everything is gonna be ok. Good luck . Remember we are strong creatures and we are not less because we don’t have uterus .

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