When is a hysterectomy necessary?
A hysterectomy is the usual treatment for women with uterine, ovarian, or cervical cancer; severe endometriosis; fibroid tumors that are causing bleeding and other complications; or heavy, uncontrollable vaginal bleeding. It may be necessary as treatment for prolapsed uterus, in which the uterus protrudes through the vagina; pelvic inflammatory disease; and endometrial hyperplasia, which is a potentially precancerous condition. It has also been used as a permanent sterilization procedure to prevent pregnancy.
Up to one in five women will undergo a hysterectomy during their lifetime so it is a relatively common operation. 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. However, most hysterectomies are performed in women who do not have cancer but where bleeding or pain from the uterus is causing them so much difficulty that they wish to undergo surgery. In such cases, a hysterectomy is only appropriate for a woman who does not wish to have children in the future.
A hysterectomy is usually an option for women with fibroids, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease or heavy periods with no explanation. If a woman has a prolapse of the uterus, then a hysterectomy may be performed as part of the prolapse repair operation. Heavy or very painful periods. In some women, day-to-day life is made difficult because of heavy periods. Sometimes the heavy bleeding can cause anaemia. Various medicines may help to ease heavy periods. But, if they don't work, hysterectomy is an option.
Fibroids are swellings of abnormal muscle that grow in the uterus. Fibroids are common and don't always cause problems. However, in some women they can cause heavy or painful periods. Some fibroids are quite large and can press on the bladder to cause urinary symptoms. Prolapse is where the uterus, or parts of the vaginal wall, drops down. This may happen after the menopause when the tissues which support the uterus tend to become thin and weak. Endometriosis is a condition where the cells which line the uterus are found outside the uterus in the pelvis. This can cause scarring around the uterus, and may cause the bladder or rectum to 'stick' to the uterus or fallopian tubes. Endometriosis may cause only mild symptoms, but some women develop painful periods, abdominal pain, or have pain during sex. Hysterectomy may be advised if you develop cancer of the cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries. For most of the conditions mentioned above (apart from cancer), hysterectomy is usually considered a last resort after other treatments have failed. The decision to have a hysterectomy should be shared between you, (your partner), and your doctor or gynaecologist.
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.