Reasons for Hysterectomy
Hysterectomy may be performed as treatment for many gynecological conditions, inclding the following:
- Uterine fibroids
- Abnormal uterine bleeding
- Uterine prolapse or other pelvic support problems
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Gynecological cancer
- Endometriosis or adenomyosis (growth of endometrial tissue in the uterine wall)
Hysterectomy is often the best treatment for the above conditions in women who no longer desire to have children. It is not possible to become pregnant following a hysterectomy.
Hysterectomies are performed through the vagina or through a surgical incision in the abdomen. The procedure can sometimes be done laparoscopically.
Laparoscopic hysterectomies require only very small incisions in the belly button or abdomen. The minimally invasive surgery is sometimes performed with the use of a robotic machine that is controlled by a surgical gynecologist who has been trained in the procedure.
Total versus Subtotal Hysterectomy
A subtotal hysterectomy is when your OBGYN removes the uterus above the cervix therefore leaving your cervix behind. A total hysterectomy is when your OBGYN removes both the uterus and cervix. You may or may not need to remove your tubes and ovaries with either of these surgeries.
Since an important function of the ovaries is to supply the body with two key hormones, estrogen and progesterone, following removal of the ovaries, your gynecologist will prescribe hormone therapy to reduce signs and symptoms of menopause and to help lessen the risk of osteoporosis.
What to Expect After Hysterectomy
Hysterectomy is a common surgery and most women recover without complications. It is normal to experience some mild pain in the first few days after the procedure. Some vagina bleeding and discharge are also normal and may persist up to a few weeks afterwards, but heavy bleeding or fever should be reported to your OBGYN.
The type of hysterectomy done will determine the length of your hospital stay afterwards. When you do go home, it’s important to get plenty of rest and to increase activity gradually.
Do not douche or insert anything into your vagina for 6 weeks after your hysterectomy. Your gynecologist will tell you when it is okay to lift, have sex or use tampons.