Why a woman would need a hysterectomy
Hysterectomy is the removal of uterus by surgical method. If the uterus is removed along with the cervix it is called complete hysterectomy. If the uterine body is removed leaving behind the cervix, it is called partial hysterectomy. Sometimes the ovaries, fallopian tubes and other surrounding structures are also removed. Hysterectomy is a major surgical procedure that has risks and benefits and affects the hormonal balance in the body. For these reasons hysterectomy is only recommended when all other modalities have failed.SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: What to expect with a hysterectomy
SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Total Hysterectomy Patient VideoContent:
By Judith Garber April 12, In , I was over-treated and permanently harmed by my gynecologist of 20 years. It all started with pelvic pain caused by a fairly large ovarian mass. My gynecologist expressed concern about malignancy and rushed me into surgery with the plan that an oncologist would be available to assist. The cyst and ovary were sent to pathology during surgery clinically known as a frozen section. The operating room staff waited for the results. Although they came back benign, the surgeon proceeded to remove the rest of my female organs — my uterus, Fallopian tubes, and other ovary clinically known as a hysterectomy and salpingo-oophorectomy.
The effects were immediate and severe, even though I was 50 years old. I could barely function despite using estrogen. The physical effects were bad enough but I also felt dead inside, as if my heart and soul had been removed, and I became suicidal which I had never experienced before.
I got a copy of my medical records and began researching. What I discovered was eye-opening. My gynecologist had been dishonest about my diagnosis, treatment options, and their risks and benefits. He instilled fear of ovarian cancer and told me I had a suspicious mass on my other ovary too. There was absolutely nothing wrong with my uterus either.
I asked a number of questions prior to surgery but, unbeknownst to me, his answers were dishonest. I have connected with hundreds of women over the last 13 years with similar experiences. Unfortunately, the unnecessary removal of female organs is alarmingly common as are the many adverse effects.
As part of my research post-op, I learned much more about the hysterectomy industry than I ever cared to know. Hysterectomy is commonly recommended for any and all menstrual irregularities and even benign ovarian cysts or masses. In other specialties, the diseased tissue is removed, not the entire organ. Even when ovarian masses or cysts need to be removed, the ovary is oftentimes removed instead of just the cyst cystectomy.
The prevalence of these surgeries leads women to believe they are benign. But they are incredibly damaging. The uterus and its ligaments are vital for pelvic organ and skeletal integrity. The uterus separates the bladder and bowel and serves as an anchor keeping these organs where they belong. Once the uterus is removed, the bladder and bowel drop and the vagina is displaced.
That is why hysterectomy can lead to bladder and bowel dysfunction, prolapse, and incontinence as well as a 4-fold increased risk of pelvic organ fistula surgery. The hips widen and the spine and rib cage fall. This explains why hysterectomized women have shortened and thickened midsections and no curve in their lower backs. These changes lead to back and hip problems, reduced mobility, circulation issues and chronic pain.
These changes seem to be the best kept secret about hysterectomy. Many women report reduced libido and sexual sensation likely due to severing of nerves and blood vessels and possibly other mechanisms. Personality changes are also a common complaint. There are additional risks of having the uterus removed. These include certain cancers — rectal , thyroid , renal cell , and brain — as well as heart disease 1 killer of women.
Heart disease risk is 3-fold according to this study. This one went further and looked at risk by age at hysterectomy. Ovary removal therefore causes a whole other set of problems including an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, osteoporosis, hip fracture, dementia, memory and cognitive impairment, parkinsonism, sleep disorders, adverse ocular and skin changes, and mood disorders. Additionally, ovary removal before age 46 has been shown to accelerate aging by increasing risk of 18 chronic conditions.
The Ovaries for Life organization has compiled numerous studies demonstrating the risks of unnecessary oophorectomy, which can be found on their website. Why is that? Gynecology training plays a large role. Even though there are many alternative treatments for fibroids and other conditions, hysterectomy is disproportionately emphasized in training.
Each resident must do a minimum of 70 recently increased to 85 to include robotic hysterectomies. My surgery was done at a teaching hospital and I was unaware of these facts.
When you only have one tool in your arsenal, it becomes the solution for all conditions, whether or not it is appropriate. Additionally, the lucrative reimbursement for surgery to health care providers and institutions especially robot-assisted surgeries cannot be ignored.
Lack of informed consent is another important factor. Women are rarely informed of alternative treatments or side effects of hysterectomy before undergoing the procedure. Gynecologic surgical consent forms are often open ended, allowing surgeons to remove whatever organs they want even absent pathology. The insistence from gynecological societies that this treatment is appropriate and with minimal risk makes it difficult for women who undergo them to challenge the institutions that perform them.
Also at play are the prevalent myths in medicine and society more broadly that the uterus is disposable after childbearing and the ovaries shut down at menopause.
Additionally, there are prevailing views that women are not supposed to be sexual. Prostate cancer is much more prevalent than gynecological cancers, yet testicle removal is not the standard of care for suspected or confirmed prostate cancer. Imagine if just a small percentage of men had their testicles removed unnecessarily — there would be an uproar and many lawsuit payouts.
Gynecology training needs to be overhauled to emphasize alternatives to surgery as well as restorative surgeries such as myomectomy and cystectomy.
Surgical consent forms need to be more specific. Pediatric professional groups have known for years that certain tests and procedures are unnecessary and potentially harmful.
Yet one in ten children receive low-value care, according to a recent study. Media coverage of a recent study is generating hype about supplemental screening for cancer for women with dense breasts. With help from a network of industry-independent experts, doctors are speaking out against conflicts of interest in maternal safety recommendations More. Low-value Care. By Anonymous In , I was over-treated and permanently harmed by my gynecologist of 20 years.
Unnecessary hysterectomies are more common than you think As part of my research post-op, I learned much more about the hysterectomy industry than I ever cared to know. The hidden harms of hysterectomy The prevalence of these surgeries leads women to believe they are benign. Headlines View our curated list of news articles about Low-value Care or women's health Also on this site Eliminating Medication Overload: A National Action Plan To eliminate medication overload, serious cultural, educational, and policy changes are needed.
This action plan offers recommendations for policymakers, health care institutions, clinicians, and patients across five key categories to reduce harm from multiple medication use. Pharmaceutical marketing is a significant factor in the growing public health crisis of medication overload, which puts millions of older adults at risk of preventable harm and premature death.
This issue brief provides recommendations to r educe pharmaceutical industry influence by limiting pharma sales rep visits to clinicians and direct-to-consumer advertising. This issue brief provides recommendations for clinical practice guidelines and electronic health records that would give clinicians the information they need to appropriately prescribe and deprescribe.
This issue brief recommends training health professionals to reduce medication overload, by incorporating information on geriatric care and deprescribing training into professional schools and continuing education.
This issue brief provides detail on the policy, research, and technological changes needed to successfully implement prescription checkups. Weekly news for people who want a radically better health system.
Hysterectomy: Do You Really Need It?
A partial hysterectomy top left removes just the uterus, and the cervix is left intact. A total hysterectomy top right removes the uterus and cervix. At the time of a total hysterectomy, your surgeon may also remove the ovaries and fallopian tubes bottom. An abdominal hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that removes your uterus through an incision in your lower abdomen. Your uterus — or womb — is where a baby grows if you're pregnant.
All A-Z health topics. View all pages in this section. Female reproductive system click to expand. If your doctor recommends a hysterectomy or myomectomy to treat uterine fibroids, ask your doctor if a power morcellator will be used. Power morcellators break uterine fibroids into small pieces to remove them more easily during a laproscopic surgery.
Surprising Reasons for Hysterectomy
A hysterectomy is an operation to remove the uterus. The ovaries and other reproductive organs may be left intact, but in some cases are taken out as well. Each year US doctors perform about , hysterectomies. Indeed, after cesarean section, hysterectomy is the most commonly performed major operation on women in the country. Some of these operations are necessary to stop the growth of cancers of the uterus, ovaries, or cervix if it's advanced. The majority of hysterectomies, however, are done to treat noncancerous conditions such as uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and uterine prolapse. Yet many of these problems may be alleviated using less invasive methods. Doctors used to view the uterus as largely expendable once a woman was past the childbearing years; the uterus was sometimes removed during fibroid surgery simply to eliminate the possibility of uterine cancer. But this attitude is rapidly changing.
9 Common Reasons for Hysterectomy
Hysterectomy means the surgical removal of the uterus womb and is still one of the most common operation. For some women, especially those who suffer from heavy periods, having a hysterectomy comes as a welcome relief. For others, being told they need the operation is a major shock. Usually other treatment options for your heavy periods will have been tried before a hysterectomy is suggested. Very rarely, hysterectomy is performed as an emergency procedure, such as if bleeding becomes uncontrollable during childbirth.
If you are about to be one of them, a frank discussion with your gynecologist is an essential first step. Hysterectomy may be a real medical necessity, not simply another option, if you have invasive cancer of the reproductive organs — the uterus, cervix, vagina, fallopian tubes, or ovaries. A partial hysterectomy is surgical removal of the uterus alone, and a myomectomy is removal of only fibroids. A total hysterectomy removes the cervix as well as the uterus.
Hysterectomy: Pros and Cons
Back to Hysterectomy. Fibroids are non-cancerous growths in or around the womb uterus. The growths are made up of muscle and fibrous tissue, and vary in size. Adenomyosis is where the tissue that normally lines the womb starts to grow within the muscular wall of the womb.
Schedule an Appointment on Zocdoc. Schedule an Appointment on MyChart. Written By Venus Brady. In the United States, nearly , women undergo a hysterectomy each year, making it the second most common surgery after cesarean delivery. Even though the surgery is performed quite frequently, there are still misconceptions about. Laveaux provides expert care for women at all life stages and specializes in treating abnormal uterine bleeding, uterine fibroids, endometriosis and chronic pelvic pain.
The 6 Most Common Reasons a Woman Needs a Hysterectomy
A hysterectomy is surgery to remove your uterus. There are different ways to perform a hysterectomy. Depending on the reason for the procedure, your doctor might go through your abdomen or your vagina to get to your uterus. The procedure can be done as a laparoscopic , robotic, or open surgery. A hysterectomy is the second most common surgery performed on women in the United States, after a cesarean delivery. Each year, nearly , hysterectomies are done. Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths that form in the uterus.
By Judith Garber April 12, In , I was over-treated and permanently harmed by my gynecologist of 20 years. It all started with pelvic pain caused by a fairly large ovarian mass. My gynecologist expressed concern about malignancy and rushed me into surgery with the plan that an oncologist would be available to assist. The cyst and ovary were sent to pathology during surgery clinically known as a frozen section.
The United States has the highest hysterectomy rate in the industrialized world. Statistics from indicate that about one-third of all U. Today, about 90 percent of hysterectomies are done by choice and not as an emergency or lifesaving procedure.
Hysterectomy: Advantages and disadvantages of removing uterus
For women of reproductive age, hysterectomies are the second most often performed procedure in the U. There are several reasons why a woman might choose to have a hysterectomy. It can be because of uterine fibroids, heavy and persistent vaginal bleeding, cancer, or conditions like endometriosis. A hysterectomy is a major, life-altering surgery, so it is not a procedure that should be taken lightly.
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