I Had A Hysterectomy At 32 And It Changed My Life In Surprising Ways

I spent most of my teens wishing away my period. In my 20s, I prayed for it to show up. I would’ve never guessed I’d be having a hysterectomy at 32 but it happened and it taught me some pretty interesting lessons.

  1. Life after a hysterectomy doesn’t suck. A major surgery that removes most of your reproductive organs is a big deal. I was so scared that I would feel like less of a woman and that my relationship would end. After all, who wants a woman with a black hole for a vagina? But pretty quickly, I realized that post-uterine life isn’t all bad. In fact, it can be pretty damn good. Above and beyond the most obvious perk? No more Shark Week for life.
  2. Night sweats are the worst. They pretty much started the first night after my surgery. One minute I was cozy under my blankets, the next minute I was peeling off my clothes and changing my sheets. I felt gross and I was exhausted. It was like having a newborn again, except, you know, the exact opposite.
  3. Sleeping naked is the best. When I got my surgery, I had a live-in boyfriend, now my husband. In order to regulate my temperature, I started sleeping naked. What at first was just a way for me to stay cool turned into a way to reconnect with my guy. After a long period of imperfect sex before surgery, just touching each other, even non-sexually, was a huge improvement.
  4. My vagina was like the Sahara. Those same hormones that forced perspiration did exactly the opposite to my v-zone. Day to day functioning was uncomfortable and intimate moments were worse. My doctor hooked me up with some cream and a not-so-secret weapon: lube. Never one to need it in the past, having a hysterectomy had me singing it’s praises like I was a soloist in a Southern Baptist choir.
  5.  Sex hurt in the beginning. This was probably my biggest fear pre-surgery. Thirty-two is too damn young to lose your mojo forever! Those first few times, I thought I’d made a huge mistake. I remember crying after one experience, “What did I do?” But then, my husband made it his mission to relearn my body. If he didn’t get it right, he felt like he hit a steel wall and I was crying in pain. Tears = the biggest buzzkill. This discovery of the new things I now needed to be completely sexually satisfied resulted in a second honeymoon period for us.
  6. Then, it got really, REALLY good. We hit our sexual stride after my hysterectomy. We didn’t have to worry about protecting against pregnancy or anything else. Our sole mission was pleasure, our own and each other’s. We were also more open with each other and our relationship became stronger, which led to better, more frequent sex. A procedure I thought would strip me of my femininity and sexuality did exactly the opposite.
  7. My budget got bigger. One thing I hadn’t anticipated was the money I would save not having to buy feminine hygiene products. Seriously, why are these things so expensive? This industry has us by the proverbial balls. They’re necessary and the companies who make them know this and jack up their prices. It’s nuts, but I digress… Without having to buy box after box every month, I had cash to spare, which I immediately spent on lingerie for all the uninhibited sex.
  8. I got my sexy back. Maybe it’s all the sex or the fact that I feel better, but my confidence has improved. After my surgery, I felt like a badass warrior. Maybe the hollow place where my uterus had been gave me a false sense of weight loss. Who knows and who cares. I took a risk by having surgery. Now I take risks in fashion, rules be damned. Plus size and in a bodycon? Bring it on.
  9. I appreciate the things I couldn’t do before. When I was in college, I went on a trip to Mexico with a friend. The resort was gorgeous, with unlimited drinks and lots of shirtless men. I spent most of that trip with cramps from hell and fearful of attracting sharks when I ventured into the water. Post hysterectomy, I can go anywhere and in any body of water on a moment’s notice, without fearing predators will eat my limbs.
  10. I became an advocate for myself and my body. This surgery is the last resort for most women, let alone a woman in 30s. For me, I knew it was the only way I could live my best life. I fought doctor after doctor who told me I didn’t have a medical issue but a mental one. I was told I was being dramatic and crazy. It took six doctors before anyone would listen. I got very good at fighting for myself and my needs and not caring what others thought. I’m a better partner, mother, friend and employee today for it.
A lover of words and chocolate, Melissa lives in Connecticut with her husband and two kids.