Although there have been reports that women develop constipation following hysterectomy, previous studies were either retrospective or uncontrolled. The aim of this prospective, controlled study was to assess whether constipation develops after elective hysterectomy. Women undergoing elective gynaecological surgery were compared to matched non-surgery controls at enrolment and 3 and 12 months after surgery. The subset of women who underwent elective hysterectomy was the study group for the present report. Fifty-eight of the 132 elective surgery patients underwent hysterectomy and were compared to 123 controls. There was no difference between the groups at any follow-up point in functional constipation (P = 1.0), frequency of stools (P = 0.92), stool consistency (P = 0.42), straining (P = 0.43), feeling of obstruction (P = 0.6) or need to manually evacuate stool (P = 1.0). Significantly, more hysterectomy patients without baseline pain did develop abdominal pain at 3 or 12 months than non-surgery controls (16.7%vs 3.6%, P = 0.008). We conclude that there was no significant change in bowel habit or stool characteristics in women undergoing hysterectomy even though many developed abdominal pain. This prospective, controlled study challenges existing data regarding the effect of hysterectomy on constipation.
- Elective surgery
- Functional gastrointestinal disorder