Australian Health Review Australian Health Review Society
Journal of the Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association

Women's subjective experience of hysterectomy

Paola Ferroni and John Deeble

Australian Health Review 19(2) 40 - 55
Published: 1996


This paper presents data on the experience of hysterectomy from a sample of 656women aged between 30 and 50 years recruited from patients of a random sampleof 50 general practices in Perth. Respondents were identified as women who:? had undergone hysterectomy for reasons other than cancer? were affected by gynaecological conditions? had neither gynaecological problems nor had undergone hysterectomy.Respondents voluntarily completed a self-administered questionnaire which covereddemographic information, general health, gynaecological problems and hysterectomy,sexual activities and family relationships. Formal measures of depression and self-esteemwere included.The main concern was with the psychological and social outcomes ofhysterectomy rather than its physical results. The findings showed that of 107women who had undergone hysterectomy, only two had negative comments aboutthe outcome. There were significant effects on both work and sexual relationshipsfor women in the gynaecological condition group, with 52- per cent reporting adverseeffects on work and 46- per cent believing that their sexuality was affected. Fewwomen regarded the uterus as ?essential to femininity or womanhood? and very fewsaw it as affecting sexuality. Women in the hysterectomy group reported that theirsatisfaction with sexual activity had improved, whereas those with gynaecologicalconditions believed that it had deteriorated. Depression and self-esteem scores weresignificantly worse for women with gynaecological conditions.

© AHHA 1996

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