Overview: Stats & Facts
Hysterectomy: Surgical Removal of the Uterus
By the age of 60, one in three women will have a hysterectomy.
A hysterectomy is carried out to treat various problems associated with periods, pelvic pain, tumors and other related conditions. The problem you are experiencing will determine what type of operation is required and whether the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and cervix will also be removed. Before you decide what to do, it is important that you understand why your doctor has suggested this surgery and what your options are. If you are still having your periods, a hysterectomy will stop them and you will no longer be able to get pregnant. Since this is a major operation, your doctor may suggest other medical treatments that should be tried first. You may also decide not to go ahead with the operatio and live with the problem, but sometimes, there is no alternative. Some conditions which have no alternatives might include cancer, unbearable pain and bleeding.
Your Doctor Might Suggest a Hysterectomy for Various Reasons
Uterine Fibroids (myomas)
These are non-cancerous tumors of different sizes that usually shrink after menopause. Fibroids are common and normally don’t need treatment unless they cause symptoms. However, larger fibroids can press against the pelvic organs and may cause bleeding, pain during sex, anemia, pelvic pain, or bladder pressure. This is the most frequent reason for a hysterectomy.
When the tissue lining the uterus grows outside of the uterus and onto surrounding organs, it can cause painful periods, abnormal vaginal bleeding, scarring, adhesions, and infertility (difficulty getting pregnant). It is the second most common reason for women to have a hysterectomy.
The uterus moves down into the vagina because the tissues that hold the uterus in place weaken. The condition may lead to urinary incontinence (problems holding your urine), pelvic pressure or difficulty with bowel movements. Childbirth, obesity, persistent cough or straining, and hormonal changes (loss of estrogen after menopause) are typical causes.
There are many causes and symptoms (ex: painful periods and intercourse) of pelvic pain, and not all can be successfully treated with a hysterectomy. That is why it is important to carefully diagnose the problem and try other treatments first. Endometriosis, fibroids, adhesions, infections or injury may be a few causes of pelvic pain.
Abnormal Uterine Bleeding
Common causes are hormonal imbalances, fibroids, polyps, infections of the cervix and cancer. Related symptoms may include heavy or long periods, bleeding between periods or bleeding after menopause. Other surgical or medical approaches can treat the condition successfully – discuss your options with your doctor.