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All about hysterectomy hysterectomy benefits hysterectomy procedure hysterectomy results risks of hysterectomy abdominal hysterectomy vaginal hysterectomy radical hysterectomy hysterectomy alternatives effects of hysterectomy on sexuality recovery after hysterectomy

What are the alternatives to hysterectomy?

A hysterectomy is only one way to treat problems affecting the uterus. For certain conditions, however, hysterectomy may be the best choice. The conditions that prompt a hysterectomy can often be treated by other means. It is recommended that women consider hysterectomy as a procedure of last resort, when all other treatment options have failed. Other options include:

  • Drug treatment - medications may be given to reduce or stop heavy bleeding. This is generally used in the short term to provide symptom relief and to allow women time to explore and consider other treatment options.
  • Endometrial ablation - this involves the removal or stripping of the lining of the uterus, which is shed each month as a period. This procedure requires admission to hospital as a day patient. An anaesthetic is used. Endometrial ablation can successfully reduce or stop heavy bleeding in 85 per cent of cases. It is not recommended for women who wish to become pregnant.
  • Uterine artery embolization - One option for treating fibroid tumors is uterine artery embolization, a procedure that involves blocking the blood supply to the tumor. Without blood, the fibroids shrink over time, which can reduce painful and uncomfortable symptoms, such as heavy bleeding or an enlarged abdomen.
  • Conservative treatment of fibroids - the size, number and position of the fibroids will determine the treatment options offered. Fibroids can be 'shrunk' using medication or by surgery, which burns them away. They can also be starved of a blood supply required for growth, or they can be individually removed through surgery, leaving the uterus intact. Sometimes a combination of these treatments may be advised.
  • Surgical removal of endometriosis - this involves cutting or burning out tissue deposits and adhesions from such areas as the ovaries, bladder, bowel, uterus, pelvic walls and ligaments which support the uterus. Hormone therapy may be used before or after surgery.
  • Removal of adenomyosis - localised disease can be excised (cut out) or diathermied (burnt off), leaving the uterus intact. This procedure is recommended for those women who wish to become pregnant. It has a 50 per cent success rate - that is, adenomyosis recurs in approximately one half of cases.

More information on hysterectomy

What is a hysterectomy? - A hysterectomy is an operation to remove a woman's uterus (womb). A total hysterectomy is the most common operation and this means removal of the uterus and cervix.
When is a hysterectomy necessary? - A hysterectomy is nearly always necessary if a diagnosis of cancer of the cervix or cancer of the uterus is made and is usually recommended if there is ovarian cancer.
What are the hysterectomy procedures? - In a total hysterectomy, the uterus and the cervix are removed. This is the most common kind of hysterectomy, usually performed for uterine and cervical cancer.
How will the patient feel after hysterectomy? - The emotional response after a hysterectomy varies depending on the reason for the operation. For some women there is a sensation of loss, Strong painkillers are prescribed for the first few days following surgery.
What are the risks of hysterectomy operation? - Hysterectomy is generally very safe. Such complications of hysterectomy include blood clots, infection, excessive bleeding or an adverse reaction to the anesthesia.
What is abdominal hysterectomy? - The advantages of an abdominal hysterectomy are that the uterus can be removed even if a woman has internal scarring (adhesions) from previous surgery or her fibroids are large.
What is vaginal hysterectomy? - With a vaginal hysterectomy, the surgeon makes an incision near the top of the vagina. The advantages of hysterectomy are that it leaves no visible scar and is less painful.
What is radical hysterectomy? - Radical hysterectomies are performed on women with cervical cancer or endometrial cancer that has spread to the cervix.
What are the alternatives to hysterectomy? - It is recommended that women consider hysterectomy as a procedure of last resort, when all other treatment options have failed. Other options include medications, endometrial ablation, uterine artery embolization.
Will hysterectomy affect sexuality? - Every person reacts differently, and reactions are a combination of emotional and physical responses. Loss of hormones can cause vaginal dryness and make sex uncomfortable.
Recovery after a hysterectomy - Recovery after a hysterectomy takes time. Increase your activity gradually every day, when you feel capable and aren't in pain.
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