Is a Hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure to remove a woman’s
uterus. The uterus, also known as the womb, is where a baby grows when a woman
is pregnant. The uterine lining is the source of menstrual blood.
You may need a hysterectomy for many reasons. The surgery can be
used to treat a number of chronic pain conditions as well as certain types of
cancer and infections.
The extent of a hysterectomy varies depending on the reason for
the surgery. In most cases, the entire uterus is removed. The doctor may also
remove the ovaries and the fallopian tubes during the procedure. The ovaries
are the organs that produce estrogen and other hormones. The fallopian tubes
are the structures that transport the egg from the ovary to the uterus.
Once you’ve had a hysterectomy, you’ll stop having menstrual periods.
You’ll also be unable to get pregnant.
Is a Hysterectomy Performed?
Your doctor may suggest a hysterectomy if you have any of the
- chronic pelvic pain
- uncontrollable vaginal bleeding
- cancer of the uterus, cervix, or ovaries
- fibroids, which are benign tumors that grow in
inflammatory disease, which is a serious infection of the reproductive
prolapse, which occurs when the uterus drops through the cervix and
protrudes from the vagina
- endometriosis, which
is a disorder in which the inner lining of the uterus grows outside of the
uterine cavity, causing pain and bleeding
- adenomyosis, which
is a condition in which the inner lining of the uterus grows into the muscles
of the uterus
to a Hysterectomy
According to the National
Women’s Health Network, a hysterectomy is the second most common surgical
procedure performed on women in the United States. It’s considered to be a safe,
low-risk surgery. However, a hysterectomy may not be the best option for all
women. It shouldn’t be performed on women who still want to have children unless
no other alternatives are possible.
Luckily, many conditions that can be treated with a hysterectomy may
also be treated in other ways. For instance, hormone therapy can be used to
treat endometriosis. Fibroids can be treated with other types of surgery that
spare the uterus. In some circumstances, however, a hysterectomy is clearly the
best choice. It’s usually the only option for treating uterine or cervical
You and your doctor can discuss your options and determine the
best choice for your specific condition.
Are the Types of Hysterectomy?
There are several different types of hysterectomy.
During a partial
hysterectomy, your doctor removes only a portion of your uterus. They
may leave your cervix intact.
During a total
hysterectomy, your doctor removes the entire uterus, including the
cervix. You’ll no longer need to get an annual Pap test if
your cervix is removed. However, you should continue to have regular pelvic
Hysterectomy and Salpingo-Oophorectomy
During a hysterectomy
and salpingo-oophorectomy, your doctor removes the uterus along with one
or both of your ovaries and fallopian tubes. You may need hormone replacement
therapy if both of your ovaries are removed.
Is a Hysterectomy Performed?
A hysterectomy can be performed in several ways. All methods
require a general or local anesthetic. A general anesthetic will put you to
sleep throughout the procedure so that you don’t feel any pain. A local
anesthetic will numb your body below the waistline, but you’ll remain awake
during the surgery. This type of anesthetic will sometimes be combined with a
sedative, which will help you feel sleepy and relaxed during the procedure.
During an abdominal hysterectomy, your doctor removes your uterus
through a large cut in your abdomen. The incision may be vertical or
horizontal. Both types of incisions tend to heal well and leave little scaring.
During a vaginal hysterectomy, your uterus is removed through a
small incision made inside the vagina. There are no external cuts, so there
won’t be any visible scars.
During a laparoscopic hysterectomy, your doctor uses
a tiny instrument called a laparoscope. A laparoscope is a long, thin
tube with a high-intensity light and a high-resolution camera at the front. The
instrument is inserted through incisions in the abdomen. Three or four small
incisions are made instead of one large incision. Once the surgeon can see your
uterus, they’ll cut the uterus into small pieces and remove one piece at a
Are the Risks of a Hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy is considered to be a fairly safe procedure. As
with all major surgeries, however, there are associated risks. Some people may have
an adverse reaction to the anesthetic. There is also the risk of heavy bleeding
and infection around the incision site.
Other risks include injury to surrounding tissues or organs,
- blood vessels
These risks are rare. However, if they occur, you may need a
second surgery to correct them.
from a Hysterectomy
After your hysterectomy, you’ll need to spend two to five days in
the hospital. Your doctor will give you medication for the pain and monitor
your vital signs, such as your breathing and heart rate. You’ll also be
encouraged to walk around the hospital as soon as possible. Walking helps
prevent blood clots from forming in the legs.
If you’ve had a vaginal hysterectomy, your vagina will be packed
with gauze to control the bleeding. The doctors will remove the gauze within a
few days after the surgery. However, you may experience bloody or brownish
drainage from your vagina for about 10 days. Wearing a menstrual pad can help
protect your clothing from getting stained.
When you return home from the hospital, it’s important to continue
walking. You can walk around inside your house or around your neighborhood. However,
you should avoid performing certain activities during recovery. These include:
- pushing and pulling objects, such as a vacuum
- lifting heavy items
- sexual intercourse
If you’ve had a vaginal or laparoscopic hysterectomy, you’ll
probably be able to return to most of your regular activities within three to
four weeks. Recovery time will be a little longer if you’ve had an abdominal
hysterectomy. You should be completely healed in about four to six weeks.