Hysterectomy to treat depression – Deborah’s story

I have had problems with my periods all my life. My first period lasted 10 days, and I soon got into the routine of 2 weeks of bleeding, and 2 weeks of crying. My Mother took me to the Doctor, and I was on the pill at the age of 14. This helped a lot, but I still had painful and heavy periods, but at least they only lasted 5 days, and the PMT wasn’t as bad. Came off the pill at 19 due to DVT scares, and carried on suffering. Doctors didn’t believe I had heavy periods as I was never anaemic.

The first time I had a Doctor agree was when I was getting the coil fitted, and she refused to give me the copper one as it increases your bleeding, and she felt I already bled too much.

I didn’t get on with the coil, and when discussing options with my GP, I asked to be sterilised. I have never wanted children, and managed to persuade a gynaecologist to sterilise me. During the procedure, I was found to have a dermoid cyst on my left ovary. I was advised I needed to have it removed, but it would make no difference to my cycle.

I had a laparotomy, and tried to persuade the consultant to do a full hysterectomy, but as I was only 28, he refused. My periods did change, and were lighter and shorter.

I still had pain during my periods, and PMT just seemed to get worse. I would be angry with everyone, cry all the time, and have major problems with my memory. I was diagnosed with depression, and over the next 5 years took anti-depressants. I got some relief, but also got scared with thoughts going through my head to harm myself, normally 2-3 days before my period. I was diagnosed with PMDD, basically severe PMT, but not offered any solution.

I found a gynaecologist who specialised in cyclical depression, and eventually had to pay to see him privately. I told him I wanted a hysterectomy, and he agreed, writing a stern letter to my GP asking for it to be arranged on the NHS. I had to see another gynaecologist, and have a scan which showed significant fibroids before they agreed to it.

Because of my previous surgery, I had severe adhesions, and was in theatre for 5 hours. I also had multiple fibroids, and a polyp, and my uterus was the equivalent of a 12 week pregnancy.

Despite some post op complications, I have never looked back. I am 5 months post op, on HRT, and off my high dose of anti-depressants, and feel like I have got my life back. My surgeon said it was unusual to do surgery for predominantly psychological reasons, and I responded by telling him he has already changed my life. I know it will take a year to fully recover, but I can’t believe how great I already feel.

Surgery will not be the best answer for everyone, but I just wanted to encourage others to not suffer in silence. I am 41, and am angry that I feel like I lost my 30’s to depression, but I am determined to start living again, and a hysterectomy has given me that chance.

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in my own words book coverNow available on our online store and all other online book store’s. In My Own Words: Women’s Experience of Hysterectomy is full of many other real-life stories from women the world over.

Other people’s stories help women feel less isolated. They show that they aren’t going mad, missing the point or stupid.

7 comments

  1. I have just had a sub total hysterectomy due to a haematometra caused by my ablation. I also had my right ovary removed due to multiple cysts. I had previously been diagnosed with endometriosis and had laser treatment, but it was effective short term. I asked for a hysterectomy, but was told it would be a last resort and was offered the ablation instead.
    Interestingly, I have had a history of depression and anxiety, which looking back may have been PMT related.
    Like Sarah, I had 2 years of back pain, which physio could not cure and only on insistence on a referral to my specialist, was diagnosed as being gynae related. I agree with Sarah to detailed research on ablations, as at the time I only saw the good side of it.
    After 2 years of strong painkillers, I have stopped taking them, I am 3 weeks post op. I hope my physical and mental recovery go hand in hand.

  2. I had a hysterectomy over 2 years ago. My mood has dropped so low and I can’t seem to get it back up . I had a hysterectomy because I had fibroids but mainly because of bad pmt … I have been put on hrt and wondering if this will give me the same symptoms of pmt . I am at my wits end and don’t know what to do anymore x

  3. Ladies is very reassuring to read how others have had a similar experience to myself. I had a BSO total hysterectomy on 9th July. Be gone evil ovaries! 4 weeks post op and I’m feeling good. Slow but able to potter about ? Already my mind feels clearer. Trying to figure out if that’s because I’ve been off work for 4 weeks or because of hormonal changes. PMDD was sheer hell for years. I had the hysterectomy because of fibroids and heavy bleeding. I wasn’t allowed it for the psychological trauma that is PMDD. Aged 47 and looking ahead with hope!

  4. I am having a hysterectomy on the 8th June for PMDD. Thank you for sharing your story the more that know about this terrible illness the better. I am glad your life is so much better I am looking forward to the same. I do think it is difficult to get a hysterectomy and health professionals need to be educated on the condition and the fact we don’t ask for a hysterectomy lightly.

  5. Deborah’s Story is not that dissimilar to my situation…. I had PMT from the age of 14, PND at 25 on and off anti depressants for many years suffered from panic and anxiety unwanted thoughts esp self harming, agoraphobia and claustrophobia at my worst which has been the past 8 years. I too will be having a total hysterectomy in June at the age of 50, it has been a long road of wasted years and many battles but reading Deborah’s story it has given me so much hope that I too will be looking forward to a brighter future.
    Tracey

  6. Hi Deborah,
    My story is exactly the same as yours! I am 40 years old and I had my hysterectomy 6 months ago after years of problems. I also had a large dermoid cyst removed but with very heavy periods (and depression) they would not perform a hysterectomy so advised me to have an endometrial ablation. This is when my hell started! After a few weeks my bleeding stopped completely which was amazing but about three months after the procedure I started to have constant back and pelvic pain. Then a heavy dragging pain inside making it painful to sit down. I went to my go who said I had a urine infection and sent me home with antibiotics (which didn’t work) I was then sent to the hospital where a horrible doctor asked if I or my husband had slept with other people as it was probably an STD!!! They took a load of samples and I went home in tears with more antibiotics 🙁 In all this time my pain was getting worse and I noticed I was becoming severely depressed 10 days before my ‘period’. I finally went to see a gynae consultant who confirmed I had PID which was caused by the ablation (post ablation syndrome) and also severe PMS (not depression as I had been told for the 12 years after my sons birth!) my only option was a hysterectomy. Unfortunately I had to be sent home on the day of the op as the infection had spread to my kidneys and I was having problems with my liver due to the copious amount of antibiotics I had been given….. Three weeks later I had the op with a low grade fever so was advised my recovery would not be easy. My uterus was so infected and engorged it was three times its normal size and was covered with scar tissue from the ablation. I would advise anyone who is offered an ablation to treat heavy periods to think very carefully as I was never told the risks so do plenty of research!
    My physical recovery has been long but my mental recovery has been amazing! I could not take HRT for a while due to liver problems so I had night sweats but apart from that I have not felt so happy in years 🙂 I am now on HRT and its trial and error at the moment, but I now feel I have a future to look forward to after being in a hormonal hell for my entire thirties!
    My hysterectomy was done so quickly in the end that I did not have a chance to physically or mentally prepare! So the best advice I would give to anyone is to ask lots of questions and take family with you to your appointments as it can be a lot to take in. Good luck to all those ladies that are either waiting for their operation or on the road to recovery. There is a light at the end of the tunnel x

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