Hysterectomy: What Do Women Need and Want to Know?


Address for correspondence: Pamela K. Pletsch, RN, PhD, Associate Professor, School of Nursing, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, P.O. Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53201. E-mail: PAMELA@CSD.UWM.EDU.



The purpose of this article is to describe women's experiences of hysterectomy and to identify their fears, concerns, and met as well as unmet health care needs.


Narrative data of women's hysterectomy experiences were collected via a written survey.


Data were collected from women living in southeastern Wisconsin.


Participants were 102 women who had undergone hysterectomy within the previous 2 years. The mean age of the women was 43 and mean time since hysterectomy was 13 months. Eighty percent of the women had undergone both hysterectomy and oophorectomy, and 78% were taking hormone replacement therapy.

Main Outcome Measures:

A questionnaire of women's hysterectomy needs and a demographic questionnaire were used to collect data via mail. The data from three open-ended questions were content analyzed.


Seven themes about womenf experiences of hysterectomy were identified: (a) positive aspects, (b) hormone replacement therapy, (c) insufficient information, (d) changes in sexual feelings and functioning, (e) emotional support, (f) psychologic sequelae, and (g) feelings of loss.


Women wanted treatment choices, a part in decision-making, accurate and useful information at an appropriate time, provider support, and access to professional and lay support systems. The essentials for hysterectomy care are outlined and include the characteristics of care that women desire, the informational content that women want, health care systems that support patient satisfaction, and the outcomes women want.