Healthy Living

Sacrificing uterus may be the only option in some cases!

Sacrificing uterus may be the only option in some cases!

Dating back more than 4,000 years, hysterectomy was used as a treatment for women with "hysteria" — a broad diagnosis that covered symptoms like anxiety and depression. Now the surgical procedure is used for a number of benign and malignant conditions, not all are absolutely necessary. Alternatives are out there for about 90 percent of hysterectomies (surgical removal of uterus).  Fibroids, for example, may be treated using a non-surgical procedure called uterine artery embolization that cuts off the fibroids' blood supply. Another option is myomectomy, which removes fibroids but spares the uterus. For heavy bleeding, an ablation procedure — which freezes or burns the uterine lining — may be a treatment option. Often uterine prolapse responds to Kegel exercises, and endometrial hyperplasia and early endometrial cancer can be treated conservatively with strong progesterone IUD, In certain cancers partial or complete removal may be the only option. Unnecessary hysterectomies put women at risk needlessly. While hysterectomy is the right choice for some women, for others, less-invasive alternatives may be the right choice. You may be able to keep your uterus intact.

What is necessary to know before final decision to hysterectomy

Many think that a woman will go into menopause afterward the surgery. You won’t have periods, and can’t get pregnant after your uterus is removed. However, if ovary is not removed, menopausal symptoms like hot flashes will not occur.  Ovaries are the source of the female hormones estrogen  and progesterone. These are critical for both sexual health and bone health. Losing both ovaries means these hormones are also lost abruptly, a condition known as surgical menopause. This sudden loss of female hormones can cause strong symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes and loss of sex drive. After the ovaries are removed, estrogen therapy can help relieve uncomfortable symptoms of menopause. 

How soon you can have sex after a hysterectomy? It really depends on the type of hysterectomy: partial, total, or radical. Waiting two to four weeks to get back to sex is generally okay, with your doctor’s go-ahead, if your cervix was not removed along with your uterus, and 6-8 weeks f cervix was also removed. Let it be understood that endometriosis — a condition that can be marked by severe menstrual cramps, chronic pain, and painful intercourse — is not cured by removal of the uterus. Ask your doctor about minimally invasive surgery, also called laparoscopic or robotic-assisted hysterectomy. This newer type of surgery requires general anesthesia but only uses tiny incisions, causes less blood loss, and comes with shorter hospital stays. 

 In some cases, after genetic testing, women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 choose to have a preventive surgery. This removes both ovaries, called prophylactic oophorectomy, and can be done either alone or at the time of hysterectomy. Studies show that surgery lowers risk of dying from ovarian cancer by 80 percent.

Vaginal, laparoscopic-assisted or robotic-assisted procedures are usually done on an outpatient basis. In most cases, a woman who has these less invasive procedures will go home the same day. If you have a vaginal hysterectomy without the assistance of a laparoscope, you will have no visible scarring from the small incision in the vagina made by the surgeon. The internal stitches used will likely dissolve on their own. If you have an abdominal hysterectomy, you will have 5 to 7 inch incision that needs to heal. This incision is usually closed with stitches or surgical staples. Usually, the stitches or staples will have to be removed by your doctor. If you undergo an abdominal hysterectomy your postoperative pain is generally greater than the pain after a laparoscopic or vaginal hysterectomy. You can resume normal exercise about six to eight weeks following an abdominal hysterectomy. If the procedure is laparoscopic, you might be able to resume exercising in two to four weeks.

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