What Every Woman Should Know About Hysterectomies

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HysterectomiesHysterectomy, or the removal of a woman’s womb, can be a physically and mentally traumatic procedure. Although, often the conditions that lead to a hysterectomy may not be life threatening, hysterectomy is not always an elective surgical procedure. Usually, though, you have ample time to consider all benefits, risks and alternatives available before proceeding with the surgery.

Risks

After the surgery, one can no longer have children.  Some Hysterectomies include removal of the ovaries with the uterus.  Ovaries produce essential female hormones, the removal of which has the potential to cause osteoporosis and abrupt menopause. Symptoms include hot flashes, insomnia, depression, fatigue, and vaginal dryness. Hormone replacement therapy reduces the symptoms, but this is not meant for all women.

Benefits

Facing critical illnesses like cancer or hemorrhage of the uterus, Hysterectomy can be used to save the person’s life. It is used to relieve chronic pains, discomfort, and alleviate the general well-being.

Fibroids

Affecting a majority of women, the symptoms of this disease include heavy bleeding, chronic pain and discomfort, spread over the lower abdominal area. There are treatments to temporarily shrink the tumors but these are expensive and have serious side effects. Hysterectomy may not be your best option, in some cases myomectomy is an option. This is a type of surgery that removes the fibroids while preserving the uterus. This is helpful for women who have future plans of conceiving.

Prolapse

As a women age, her pelvic muscles weaken, and her bladder and/or rectum would sink downwards with the uterus causing problems of controlling bowel and bladder movements, and in extreme cases, protrusion of the organs through the vagina. By removing the organ that is falling down or out, prolapse symptoms are alleviated.

Endometriosis

This is a condition in which endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus, usually on the ovaries, bladder, fallopian tubes, and the uterine wall. This causes pain, scarring and discomfort especially during the times of bleeding while menstruation.

Abnormal Bleeding

This is one of the main reasons why women go for a hysterectomy. Heavy bleeding causes pain, loss of energy and great discomfort. The amount and timing of the menstrual flow differs from women to women. Fibroids and hormone changes are the main reasons of abnormal bleeding.

Options for Less Invasive Hysterectomy Surgery

The most common alternative to open hysterectomy surgery is the laparoscopic hysterectomy surgery where the doctor removes the uterus with the aid of an operating telescope. Three small cuts are made on the abdominal wall and the instruments are inserted. The uterus will then be removed through the vagina in the operation which will not last for more than two hours. Due to how less invasive and how fewer cuts are made, this is often a great alternative with a much shorter recovery period.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor

  • Why do I need a hysterectomy?
  • What organs will be removed? Why?
  • Are there alternatives for me besides a full hysterectomy?
  • What are the advantages of laparoscopic hysterectomy surgery?
  • What will be the physical and emotional effects of a hysterectomy?
  • What are the risks and benefits of each?
  • What are the processes of surgery and recovery?
  • Will I need any special care after my hysterectomy?
  • How soon can I go back to normal routine?

Considering how serious a procedure hysterectomy is, make sure you are comfortable with everything before going forward and scheduling your surgery. Although you can’t have 100% assurance that there won’t be complications, there are ways to fully understand the risks and benefits. If needed, bring this post along with you to your appointment to help you keep track of things to know and ask.