Women's experience of hysterectomy in the West of Ireland

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Joyner, Allison
Issue Date
BA Counselling and Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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Hysterectomy is one of the few operations where the majority of surgeries involve the removal of a healthy organ. By age sixty, one in three Irish women will have had a hysterectomy. This study looks at the experience of women from the West of Ireland who have undergone a hysterectomy; the consequences in their lives and the dynamic which existed between them and the Irish Health Care system. Thirty-one women, self-selecting, from the West of Ireland participated in the study by completing a comprehensive, confidential questionnaire designed to examine their personal experiences before and after the operation, consequences of hysterectomy in their lives, their level of knowledge and information regarding the hysterectomy, their support systems and their personal view of the 'ideal' care and information women should preferably receive. Results show that hysterectomy has a major impact on most women's lives. Unfortunately, this is not well understood or acknowledged, in particular by the health care system. Women do not receive adequate information or follow-up care. Unpleasant elements of patriarchy still exists within the medical profession which leave some women feeling distressed and make recovery more difficult to move through. The women who have the quickest and least complicated recoveries are those who were well informed, had a good relationship with their doctor, had good support systems in place with family and friends and who had no regrets about the operation.