A woman in a hospital gown nervously sits on the edge of a bed in a doctor's office looking at a slow, warm glow emitting from a slightly ajar door. Behind her are anatomical posters of the uterus and large intestine.

Will My Hysterectomy Help My IBS?

I am less than one week away from having a hysterectomy. I tried everything else I could and I cannot live anymore with the heavy bleeding and extraordinary pain that comes with my period and the other complications, including bowel and bladder issues.

My endometriosis and adenomyosis created too much pressure

In addition to having endometriosis, I also have something called adenomyosis. Adenomyosis is similar to endometriosis and they often go hand-in-hand though technically it is its own disorder. It is when the endometrial tissue actually penetrates the uterine muscle, invading the inner layers. When adeno becomes significant enough (as mine has), it can cause a lot of problems.

Add to that that I also have several fibroids, and my uterus is literally weighing me down. As I mentioned in a previous post some months ago, I have a tipped uterus, which already leans on my bowels. But the added complication is that my uterus is also swollen and heavier due to both the presence of adenomyosis and fibroids, likely further compounding my intestinal issues with the added weight and pressure it causes.

Surgery might improve my IBS and GERD

Recently, when I went to a gynecologist to discuss my digestive issues, including IBS and GERD, and I told him I was having a hysterectomy, he cautioned that I might want to wait a couple of months before moving forward with tests or treatments with him. It was his belief that I might experience at least some relief, potentially even significant relief, to both my digestive issues after my hysterectomy.

While I wasn't surprised to hear his thoughts that my IBS might improve even more after the hysterectomy due to the close proximity of my uterus leaning on my bowels/colon, I was somewhat surprised he thought it would benefit my GERD as well. He told me if the uterus is causing pressure on my lower GI, that then can cause air and food to move more slowly through my digestive tract and become "backed up" – in turn also instigating or exacerbating GERD. This made me feel even more relieved to finally be taking this step in my medical journey.

There is a chance my IBS will still be a problem

Of course, on the other end of things, there are people who have a hysterectomy who may experience IBS flares (especially in the short-term) or the surgery may itself instigate IBS.1 Yet, with me, I feel like the benefits outweigh the potential harm. If I were to leave my uterus alone, the growths would continue to enlarge and in turn, put more pressure on my intestines and further compound my IBS.

I'm ready for the next step

Nevertheless, I made sure to get a top-rated surgeon for this kind of procedure to minimize my chances of fallout. Luckily, I am having the procedure laparoscopically (with small incisions and abetted by lasers), rather than a laparotomy (where they full-on cut you open – a much more involved and traumatic procedure and necessitates a much longer recovery period). I am also keeping my ovaries and cervix to also lessen complications (in the latter instance, or prolapse).

I am also making sure to take it really easy afterward, taking off of work for nearly two months while I recover and letting myself relax and heal.

Have you ever had a hysterectomy? Did it help or hurt your IBS? Please feel free to share your experiences in the comments section below!

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