So You've Been Told You Need a Hysterectomy?If you've been told you need a hysterectomy you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed. This is normal!
This is the time to dig in, do some research, listen with both ears and consider your options.
Where do you begin?
Explore these questions:
Exploring these questions for yourself is key to moving forward with a plan for a healthier future. Your peace of mind and your health depends on it!
FibroidsFibroids are abnormal growths of the uterine muscle that are generally benign. They are usually discovered during a routine pelvic exam.
Non-symptomatic fibroids may require no treatment or surgery. Rather, the doctor may require frequent check-ups (usually every 6 months) to monitor.
If symptoms are present, fibroids are usually associated with pressure, irregular uterine bleeding, abdominal enlargment or pain.
For most women with symptomatic fibroids the decision to treat the uterine fibroids is based on issues of quality of life
Depending on the size and placement of the fibroids, treatment may involve surgery or hormone therapy or both.
Treatment Options for Fibroids
Each day brings news of new treatments for Fibroids which are not addressed here. Explore your treatment options thoroughly.
EndometriosisEndometriosis is a condition in which endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus, usually in the pelvic cavity. It is not a malignant or premalignant condition.
Symptoms of endometriosis are characterized by pain: pain with menstruation, pain with sexual intercourse and increasingly severe pelvic pain.
The intensity of suffering caused by endometriosis varies from woman to woman. For most women, a hysterectomy is not necessary to treat endometriosis and its milder symptoms.
Treatment Options for Endometriosis
Each day brings news of new treatments for endometriosis which are not addressed here. Explore your treatment options thoroughly.
Uterine Prolapse and Related IssuesMuscular weaknesses in the pelvic area can result in protrusion or herniation of the uterus, vagina, bladder and/or rectum. Childbirth and aging can lead to a weakening of these muscles that provide pelvic support.
Non-Surgical Treatment Options for Prolapses
Surgical Treatment Options for Prolapses
Prolapse repairs may be done with or without a hysterectomy.
Abnormal Uterine Bleeding
Abnormal or dysfunctional bleeding occurs for hormonal reasons, because of polyps, endometrial hyperplasia, and for other conditions including fibroids, adenomyosis, pelvic infection and uterine or cervical cancers.
Bleeding can be an inconvenience or interrupt your daily activities and may be associated with pelvic pain and uterine cramping.
Non-Surgical Treatment Options
A hysterectomy is used to treat abnormal uterine bleeding only when other approaches have failed.
Each day brings news of new treatments for excessive bleeding which are not addressed here. Explore your treatment options thoroughly.
Pelvic Pain, Infection, AdhesionsChronic pelvic pain is a symptom, not a disease, and is a very common symptom. Approximately 10 percent of all women visiting their doctor complain of pelvic pain. This pain may be caused by a variety of conditions including pelvic infection, endometriosis, adenomyosis and pelvic adhesions (from a previous surgery). Other conditions that may cause pelvic pain but are unrelated to gynecology may be irritable bowel syndrome and interstitial cystitis (Discussed below).
A diagnostic laparoscopy provides insight into the cause of the pelvic pain with the most common findings endometriosis and adhesions as the problem.
Pelvic Infection/Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is an infection of the pelvic area and is difficult to diagnose but is usually cured with antibiotics.
Pelvic Adhesions can usually be treated with laparoscopy.
Non-Gynecological Causes of Chronic Pelvic Pain
Interstitial CystitisInterstitial cystitis is a chronic, and often severe, inflammation of the bladder wall, the cause of which is unknown. Primary symptoms are urinary frequency, urgency, and, for some, severe lower abdominal or perineal pain. However, IC patients rarely test positive for infection in standard urinalysis and urine cultures.
In some cases, women wiith pelvic pain that is unexplained, a doctor may recommend a hysterectomy assuming her pain is gynecological when in fact her pain may be from undiagnosed Interstitial Cystitis.
Unexplained pelvic pain should be explored to determine the cause before a hysterectomy is scheduled.
CancerCancer is the most compelling reason for a woman to have a hysterectomy. A hysterectomy is usually performed to treat gynecological cancers: uterine cancer, cervical cancer and ovarian cancer.
Cervical Cancer is easily detected in early stages from a pap smear.
While hysterectomy is the usual treatment for all gynecological cancers, with cervical cancer, there are other treatment options including cryosurgery, LEEP, cervical conization and carbon dioxide laser. These options depend on your particular cervical cancer's progress/stage.
Beyond the hysterectomy as a treatment for gynecological cancer, chemotherapy and/or radiation may also be necessary.