A hysterectomy is a type of surgical procedure in which a woman’s uterus is removed. In some cases, the ovaries, cervix, fallopian tubes or other structures can ve removed as well. It stands behind the Caesarean section as the second most common female surgery in the United States. A hysterectomy can be recommended as a treatment option for uterine fibroids, endometriosis, some gynecological cancers, as well as other problems.
If you have a hysterectomy, you are one of the 20 million American women who have had the same surgery. The Centers for Disease and Prevention reports that around 600,000 hysterectomies are performed annually in the United States. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, about a third of all women will undergo a hysterectomy by the age of 60. In this article, we gathered the five most common reasons to consider a hysterectomy
Uterine fibroids are growths that develop in the wall of the uterus. Despite the fact that they are noncancerous, fibroids can lead to certain health issues, from pain (especially during periods) to abnormal bleeding and swelling of the abdominal area. If fibroids grow too large, they can affect the function of the bladder or intestines and cause back pain. In some rare cases, uterine fibroids can interfere with pregnancy. However, a hysterectomy is not the only fibroids treatment, so be sure to discuss your options with your doctor.
Uterine prolapse is the condition in which the muscles and ligaments that hold the pelvic floor become too weak to support the uterus, allowing it to literally lower or even protrude from the vaginal opening. This condition can lead to problems with the intestines or urination. Uterine prolapse is most often seen in women who have reached menopause and who have had one or more vaginal childbirths at a young age. However, this condition is not an emergency medical situation and is a good example of the condition that can be treated with less invasive methods.
If uterine prolapse is mild, Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles can cause them to be strong enough to support the uterus. It is also beneficial for many women to wear a pessary. A pessary is a rubber disc resembling a diaphragm and adapted to hold the uterus if the weakened pelvic floor can’t provide the necessary support.
Endometriosis occurs when the endometrium (or uterine lining), which covers the walls of the uterus and becomes thick with tissues and blood vessels every month in preparation for pregnancy, begins to grow outside the uterus. This endometrial tissue can grow on the pelvic organs such as the ovaries, Fallopian tubes, intestines or bladder. The condition often results in severe bleeding that has nowhere to go, scarring and adhesions, which can lead to painful sensations and permanent damage.
If you have endometriosis and your doctor recommends you perform a hysterectomy, you should know that it is not a cure for endometriosis. Even when the uterus was removed, endometrial tissue may continue to grow in the pelvis. That’s why it is recommended to consult a doctor who specializes in treating endometriosis.
Adenomyosis is a condition in which the endometrium starts to grow inside the walls of the uterus. The uterine walls become thicker and this leads to severe pain and bleeding. Despite the fact that adenomyosis is considered a benign condition, the constant pain and severe bleeding it causes can negatively affect a woman's quality of life.
Cancer or precancer of the uterus, ovary, cervix, or endometrium requires timely and proper treatment. Chemotherapy and radiation are considered the most common treatment options for these conditions. However, a hysterectomy may also be recommended, depending on the stage and type of cancer.