What is a Hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy is surgical removal of the uterus.
In most cases, this also includes the cervix, since the cervix is part of the uterus. It’s possible and common to remove the ovaries at the same time, but in most cases it’s not a necessary part of the surgery. This means that having a hysterectomy (without removal of the ovaries) will not put a woman into menopause, cause hot flashes or cause any hormonal changes. A hysterectomy is just removing the organ that bleeds and carries pregnancies.
Removal of both ovaries will cause menopause, which can lead to hot flashes and night sweats. Depending on a woman’s age and symptoms, she may be able to take hormone therapy to reduce these symptoms. A hysterectomy can be done laparoscopically (through 3 tiny incisions on the belly), robotically (4 tiny incisions), abdominally (through a c-section like incision), or vaginally. This approach is decided by your doctor depending on multiple factors such as prior surgical history, size of the uterus, reason for the hysterectomy, etc.
The recovery for most hysterectomies is one night in the hospital, 2-4 weeks of feeling quite sore and tired, and another 2-4 weeks of feeling just worn down.
Who should consider a Hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy is most frequently performed because of heavy or abnormal periods that do not respond to less invasive approaches. Sometimes the uterus can grow benign tumors called fibroids, which lead to symptoms of fullness and bulk in the lower abdomen, heavy periods and sometimes pain during sex. Fibroids are often treated by a hysterectomy. Pain, endometriosis, prolapse, uterine pre-cancer or cancer are other common reasons for surgery. The surgery is a common surgery and relatively safe. We always try to find the safest option for treating your symptoms which means, when possible, trying less invasive methods first.
If you are having trouble with your uterus, schedule an appointment to talk with your doctor!
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