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Gynecology

Hyterectomy and weight gain

01/04/2010

Question:

Three weeks in recovery from a partial hysterectomy (Uterus only)and I was not told by my doctor that weight gain would be an issue. I now have read 100+ articles online from women who have said they have gained large amounts of weight since their hysterectomy (partial or full) and they cannot get the scales to move no matter how much they try. Some have went from running 3 miles per day to running 5+, starvation, diet pills, and their usual healthy eating you name it but the scary thing for me is, I just turned 40 and I am on medications that have put an extra 15 lbs. on me over the last 4 years, but it`s been manageable. I am used to being 135 but now I am around 158. People are dying for help and answers. Any thing you can tell me that will give me hope?

Answer:

Your question about weight gain after hysterectomy (you had a complete hysterectomy if your entire uterus was removed even if your ovaries were retained) is a very common question. As far as articles go, there are a few well done studies that have looked at this issue. In one study that asked women to report their weight change and hysterectomy status over 6 years didn't show a statistically significant difference in weight difference in women who had undergone hysterectomy or not. In another prospective trial, there was an increase in weight, but only an average of 1.5 lbs the first year. The biggest predictor of weight gain was heavy weight before surgery and a history of weight fluctuations prior to surgery. Typically, weight gain after surgery is common regardless of the type of surgery. This occurs because of the months of relative inactivity as one recovers. What you are reading is the reports of women who individually reporting that they are gaining weight. Typically the only women to post about weight problems after surgery is those who gain weight. Rarely is someone going to take the time to post about losing weight or maintaining their weight after surgery. While metabolic changes occur with aging and could be leading to your weight gain, if you think it seems to be more than typical, you should have a complete physical and work up for other causes of weight gain like an under active thyroid gland. Thank you for your excellent question.

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Response by:

Thomas  A deHoop, MD Thomas A deHoop, MD
Formerly Associate Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology
Director, Medical Student Education
No longer associated