What Is a Hysterectomy?
Many women undergo a hysterectomy before they reach the age of 60. In the United States, especially, it is the most normal non-pregnancy-related surgery. A hysterectomy will end your monthly period if you have not reached menopause yet. You will also not be able to become pregnant. Losing female hormones will cause you to enter into surgical menopause if you have your ovaries removed.
Why do women have hysterectomies?
Several factors may determine when a woman needs to have a hysterectomy. How the procedure is performed and how patients prepare for the operation depends on these factors. Some of the reasons why women may need hysterectomies include consistent pelvic pain, chronic pelvic inflammation, and heavy bleeding. But, there are other reasons why patients may choose this operation too.
Endometriosis is a benign condition that affects a woman’s uterus. In this case, the lining inside of the uterus grows outside of the uterus. But, it can also grow on other nearby organs. Endometriosis can cause painful menstrual cycles, fertility loss, and irregular vaginal bleeding.
There are several types of cancer in this area. There is endometrial cancer, cervical cancers, uterine sarcoma, cancer of the ovaries or fallopian tubes. A hysterectomy may be recommended to treat these cancers. Hormonal therapy and radiation may also be used.
Heavy bleeding during menstruation is also a reason to have a hysterectomy. This condition may be due to bleeding disorders, fibroids, cancers, adenomyosis, and other conditions. Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growths in a woman’s uterus. These can cause heavy bleeding and excessive pain.
The different types
The doctor can discuss the different types of hysterectomy with the patient. A total hysterectomy will remove the cervix and uterus. This procedure can also combine with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. The procedure is for women who have uterine, cervical, ovarian, or fallopian tube cancer. It is also for recurrent pain in these areas.
Combining this surgery with prophylactic bilateral salpingectomy includes the removal of the fallopian tubes. It is a measure against the possible onset of ovarian cancer. A partial hysterectomy leaves the cervix intact. Some women prefer this for the purpose of sexual activity. The patient must have regular cervical screening after this procedure.
Radical hysterectomy is the most extensive type of this surgery. Here, the doctor will remove the upper part of the vagina, uterus, and fallopian tubes. The doctor will also need to remove the lymph nodes in the area. The pelvic ligaments also need surgical removal.
Alternatives to hysterectomy
The doctor may recommend alternatives to hysterectomy if the patient is not sure about this type of surgery. Endometrial ablation and a levonorgestrel-releasing IUD are common ones on the list. The former removes the lining of the uterus, which helps reduce bleeding during menstruation. The latter releases the hormone in the uterus, which prevents pregnancy. Hormone therapies can also take the place of this surgery. Combining oral contraceptive pills is part of these therapies.
Preparing for a hysterectomy through treatment comprehension
Learning more information will help patients prepare for a hysterectomy. They can also look for a second opinion or possible alternatives. Patients need to fully understand their condition and the options available to them. In some cases, a hysterectomy can be a life-saving treatment. In other cases, it can be a huge relief for pain, inflammation, and irregular bleeding when alternative treatments have not worked.
How is a hysterectomy performed?
An OBGYN cuts into the abdomen or vagina to perform a hysterectomy. The doctor will use an instrument called a laparoscope. This helps the OBGYN to see inside the abdomen when performing a vaginal hysterectomy. The type of surgery performed depends on the reason for the operation.
Recovering from a hysterectomy
The length of time spent in the hospital and the recovery time depends on the type of surgery: whether it was abdominal, laparoscopic, or vaginal. Most patients stay in the hospital for two to four days. The longest recovery time comes from an abdominal hysterectomy. It can take four to eight weeks to recover from. Otherwise, women can generally return to day-to-day activities in one to two weeks.
Learn the facts
If you have to have a hysterectomy for any of the reasons listed above, it is recommended that you learn the facts. Make sure you know of any alternative treatments and understand the recovery time. Knowing why you need the surgery is a crucial step to preparing for the hysterectomy. If you have any questions, reach out to a doctor. An OBGYN or surgeon can explain the benefits and any potential risks.
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