Every year in the United States, nearly 500,000 women undergo a hysterectomy to address a life-threatening or health-diminishing condition. A hysterectomy removes part of the uterus or the entire uterus and cervix; in some cases, it may remove the structures around the uterus (i.e., ovaries and fallopian tubes).
Hysterectomy is the second most common female-specific surgery in the US, after cesarean childbirth (c-section). It’s so common that about one in three American women aged 60 and older has had a hysterectomy.
As women’s wellness experts specializing in hysterectomy treatment at New Beginnings OB/GYN in Shenandoah, Texas, our skilled team performs hysterectomy procedures using minimally invasive laparoscopic methods and advanced, robotic-assisted techniques whenever possible. Read on as Dr. Christina Parmar and Dr. Rania Ibrahim explain when a hysterectomy may be advisable.
A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus and often the cervix to treat a serious gynecological medical condition. In some cases, the procedure also involves the removal of surrounding organs and tissues, such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the upper vagina.
Following a hysterectomy, you no longer have menstrual periods and can’t become pregnant. If you have your ovaries removed also in the procedure, you enter menopause immediately. This condition — known as surgical menopause — can cause severe menopausal symptom onset that requires you to start hormone replacement therapy (HRT) after your operation.
The circumstances that lead to a hysterectomy treatment recommendation fall into two basic categories: Medical emergencies where uterus removal is a life-saving measure and serious gynecologic conditions that the procedure can improve or even cure. In other words, our team may recommend a hysterectomy to:
A hysterectomy improves a woman’s life, not saves it in most cases. Let’s look closer at each scenario:
A hysterectomy can be a necessary, life-saving treatment when it’s required to address the following:
While conservative care measures (i.e., radiation, chemotherapy, surgical removal of cancer cells, immunotherapy) may be a viable treatment approach for precancerous cells as well as some early-stage reproductive cancers, your provider typically recommends a hysterectomy as the first line of defense in advanced cases, especially those that pose a grave danger to your life.
Most hysterectomies are elective procedures — meaning you decide whether it’s the correct treatment approach for you, and you have time to weigh your options and make an informed decision.
In many elective cases, your provider only recommends a hysterectomy after conservative treatment strategies haven’t provided effective relief from a gynecologic problem, such as:
These noncancerous growths can cause chronic pelvic pain, heavy periods, and abdominal distension. If taking hormonal birth control or having a minor procedure (myomectomy) to remove problematic fibroids doesn’t alleviate the problem, a hysterectomy is often the next best step. Fibroids are one of the most common reasons for an elective hysterectomy.
This condition causes tissue like the uterus lining — which thickens with blood and sheds each month — to grow outside the uterus. Endometriosis can cause severe pelvic pain and abnormal uterine bleeding between periods.
When hormone therapy or medical procedures to remove endometrial implants don’t provide adequate relief, a hysterectomy may reduce or eliminate symptoms. However, since it’s still possible for endometriosis to recur even after the uterus is gone, it’s critical to weigh the pros and cons of having a hysterectomy before deciding.
Uterine prolapse occurs when weak pelvic floor muscles allow the uterus to slip into the vagina, causing pelvic pressure, urinary incontinence, and bowel problems. Uterine prolapse is most common in women who’ve had multiple vaginal births, are very overweight, or have gone through menopause.
Severe prolapse that doesn’t respond well to standard treatments like pelvic floor exercises or minimally invasive pelvic floor repair surgery may get treated with a hysterectomy.
This condition occurs when the lining of the uterus grows into the organ’s muscle tissue, thickening the uterine wall and causing heavy or painful periods.
Although adenomyosis often resolves following menopause, severe symptoms before this transition may require treatment. If hormone therapy and pain medication don’t alleviate your symptoms, a hysterectomy may be your next best option.
If you’re weighing the pros and cons of having an elective hysterectomy, we can help. To get the answers you’re looking for, call or click online today and schedule a visit with our skilled team at New Beginnings OB/GYN in Shenandoah, Texas.