Fibroids And Hysterectomy
What Is A Hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure to remove your uterus. Sometimes it can additionally involve the removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes. The surgery is performed via an incision in your abdomen. Vaginal hysterectomies are also possible but much less common. After a hysterectomy you can no longer become pregnant and will no longer have menstrual periods.
Why Perform A Hysterectomy?
Hysterectomies are commonly used as solutions for gynecologic cancer, endometriosis, persistent vaginal bleeding and fibroids. For some of these conditions a hysterectomy may be the only option. However in some cases there are alternatives. Women who still want to become pregnant should investigate other treatment options.
Fibroids And Hysterectomy
In the past, removing the uterus was the most common treatment for uterine fibroids. A hysterectomy was believed to be the only certain solution for fibroids. Currently there are many more non surgical treatments especially as the majority of fibroids have minimal symptoms.
Risks Of Hysterectomy
A hysterectomy is a major operation although it is perceived as generally a safe one. Some of the risks include blood clots, infection, excessive bleeding and damage to organs caused during surgery. Major complications as a result of a hysterectomy are rare.
The long period of recovery after a hysterectomy is seen as one of the major drawbacks of the operation. On average there is a six to eight week recovery period until women return to their normal routines.
The aftereffects of the surgery can include nausea, pain and discomfort in the abdominal area and heavy bleeding and discharge. During the extended recovery period women are advised to avoid heavy lifting and bending.
Sexual activity can be resumed about six weeks after the surgery. In theory a hysterectomy should not have a significant effect on your sex life once a full recovery is complete. There is some anecdotal evidence that some women find that their libido is decreased after the operation. However, for some women, the relief from the constant pain of the fibroids has a very positive impact on their sexual feelings.
Removing fibroids can give a greater sense of well-being and freedom from pain. For this reason, some fibroid sufferers choose a hysterectomy as their method of treatment. However, some women feel a deep sense of loss after a hysterectomy. Feelings of grief and depression are not uncommon after this operation.
There are many arguments both for and against treating fibroids with a hysterectomy. It is important that patients make an informed choice, understanding about both what the process a hysterectomy involves and the choices of less invasive alternatives.