Yesterday, a patient came to me frustrated. She went through a partial hysterectomy last year and has gained over 20 pounds since. She didn’t make any changes in her diet or workout routine, but she was getting heavier every week.
I totally understand her frustration. Do you know many women go through the same? But what we need to understand is that gaining weight is just one of the undesired bonuses you get after a hysterectomy. But the good news is, you can get back control once you know the tricks on how to lose weight after hysterectomy.
So, here I am to help. If you are about to undergo a hysterectomy surgery or already are dealing with weight gain, do give this article a read.
What Is Hysterectomy?
Hysterectomy, in simple terms, is the operation to remove the uterus from the body. The surgery may or may not include the removal of ovaries and fallopian tubes at the same time.
Hysterectomy has been tagged as one of the most commonly performed surgical operations, and the patients are primarily between 40 to 50 years old.
According to a statistic, one out of nine women undergoes this surgery in her lifetime. Approximately 600000 hysterectomy operations are performed every year in the United States alone.
The hysterectomy surgery might lead to a hormonal balance shift in the woman’s body. As a result, the patient experiences symptoms like weight gain, rapid weight gain, weight loss, etc.
Hysterectomy is the better or the only treatment if you are suffering from any of the following diseases,
The muscles and connective tissues of the uterus walls might exhibit a non-cancerous growth, especially during the childbearing years. This unusual development in the uterus is called fibroids, and it is the most common reason for a hysterectomy.
Chronic back pain, pelvic pain, heavy periods, and prolonged bleeding are some of the symptoms of uterine fibroids. The exact reasons behind this phenomenon are yet to be discovered. However, experts often make the family medical history and obesity responsible for this condition.
In endometriosis conditions, the tissues similar to the womb lining start growing outside the uterus. In most cases, the unusual tissues grow in the lower pelvic region, ovaries, and fallopian tubes, but they can be anywhere else.
Endometriosis can affect women of any age, though the majority of the patients belong to childbearing age. The condition is painful and often leaves a heavy impact on the patient’s life.
What happens if the pelvic floor muscles and ligaments grow weaker and can not provide enough support to the uterus? The uterus might slip down into or out of the vagina. This poor pelvic support condition is called uterine prolapse.
Other Health Conditions
- Abnormal uterine bleeding
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Reproductive organ cancer
- Pelvic infection
- Delivery complications
Weight Gain After Hysterectomy: Why & How to Reverse It
Hysterectomy surgery often demands the removal of both ovaries and fallopian tubes along with the uterus. Of course, the professionals try to spare at least one ovary, especially for the women who haven’t hit menopause yet.
Hysterectomy with the removal of ovaries, especially if the woman has not reached menopause, leads to faster weight gain. Let’s discuss the causes and remedies for this sudden change in detail.
What Causes Belly Fat After Hysterectomy?
The removal of fallopian tubes and ovaries with the uterus causes a hormonal imbalance in the body. The patients are likely to suffer from the following uncomfortable symptoms due to the surgery triggered hormonal shift,
- Sleep Disruption: The drop in estrogen level makes it more challenging to fall asleep fast. Patients might experience shorter sleep cycles and night sweats.
- Fatigue: Shorter sleep cycle often leads to reduced energy and fatigue. Hence, women tend to exercise less after hysterectomy and gain weight.
- Slower Metabolism: Fatigue and sleep cycle disruption cause slower metabolism. It is one of the main reasons for weight gain.
Experts believe that this trio of symptoms more or less justifies the trouble losing weight after a hysterectomy.
A few more signs also indicate that a woman will fatten after a hysterectomy. Women with obesity, frequent weight fluctuation, and an active lifestyle before the surgery often experience weight gain as a hormonal shift.
How To Lose Weight After Hysterectomy
Losing weight can be challenging after a hysterectomy, but not impossible. The following tips might help prevent weight gain and feel the best version of yourself. Thousands of women have already benefited from these hacks, and they are worth trying.
1. Take An Appointment With The Practitioner
Gaining weight is more than common after a hysterectomy. You can consult your practitioner about the changes and discomfort you are experiencing. He will prescribe you as he sees fit.
In most post-hysterectomy surgery cases, a healthy lifestyle is the only way out to lose weight. Do not get into a strict diet or extreme workout routine without asking the expert.
2. Carve Your Diet Plan
If you want a quick result, there is no other way than to make dietary changes. The women who have successfully reversed their post-surgery weight gain support this claim. They have commented that meal planning makes it more efficient and less time-consuming.
So, what is the best diet after a hysterectomy? Here is what the professionals suggest,
Cut Calories: Replace high carbon meals with low carbon ones. Foods with high fiber and water should be your priorities. You can focus on low-calorie, high fiber items like fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, etc.
Choose Protein: Lean proteins are always recommendable when you attempt to lose weight. Such sources are fish, skinless chicken breasts, etc.
Soy Can Help: Many women avoid soy as they think this innocent item increases the risk of breast cancer. They are not entirely wrong, but the belief is not applicable for foods with soy. The American Cancer Society has cleared the doubts and declared soy-containing food safe.
Fortunately, soy-containing items like tofu, edamame, and soy milk can leave an estrogen-like effect on the body. Hence, this food might prevent weight gain after a hysterectomy.
Bad Food Habits: Do not fall for junk foods. Your temporary satisfaction will be the permanent obstacle in achieving the health goal. Again, be more careful with alcohol consumption and smoking.
3. Boost The Progress With Regular Workout
You can not jump back to your daily workout routine right after your hysterectomy surgery. Your body needs time to heal. After a few days or weeks, ask your practitioner for permission and start slowly.
Low impact body movements are a great spot to start. Unleash your full potential once you feel fully recovered. High-impact cardio and regular strength training will help you lose weight within the minimum time frame.
4. More Attention To Mental Health
Short sleep cycles or sleep disruption causes fast weight gain after a hysterectomy. Hence, you have to work on your sleep. Make sure you get 8 to 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.
Moreover, stress or anxiety is also an obstacle in the weight shredding journey. You can practice meditation, deep breathing, or other techniques to calm your mind.
5. Consider Hormone Therapy
Women at a premenopausal stage experience faster weight gain after the hysterectomy. It all occurs due to the low-estrogen effect. Here comes the hormone therapy to the rescue.
Hormone replacement therapy or HRT simply effectively reverses the unexpected symptoms of hysterectomy. You can call it entering the surgical menopause stage. The procedure will restore your hormonal balance without making you suffer more.
Weight Loss After Hysterectomy: The Myth
Women do not lose weight after a hysterectomy. You can give me counter logic and live examples of people who have shredded pounds after the operation.
Yes, some women feel light after the surgery, but it is not because of the hysterectomy. Instead, the side effects of the procedure might lead to weight loss.
See, feeling nausea and appetite loss are common after getting the heavy dosage of anesthesia. The phenomenon often leads to temporary weight loss.
Again, hysterectomy treats several types of cancers including, cervical cancer, endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer, and uterine cancer. In many cases, the patients go through chemotherapy while preparing for hysterectomy.
You already know how painful and awful the effect chemotherapy leaves on a body. It causes vomiting, and the patient experiences a noticeable change in body weight.
You need not worry anymore about how to lose weight after hysterectomy. A slight modification in the lifestyle with the proper medical guidance can be your savior. Other side effects like bleeding, constipation, low libido, etc., are also common after hysterectomy. Always consult your practitioner if you witness any abnormal changes in your body and health.