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What is a Hysterectomy?
Why have a Hysterectomy?
How is it Performed?
Hysterectomy Recovery
Hysterectomy Risks
Hysterectomy and Sex
Hysterectomy Alternatives
Choosing a Surgeon
Hysterectomy Expectations
Hysterectomy Side Effects
Hysterectomy and Menopause
Vaginal Hysterectomy
Hysterectomy Anxiety
Total Hysterectomy
Partial Hysterectomy
Abdominal Hysterectomy
Hormone Replacement
Laparoscopic Hysterectomy
Endometriosis and Hysterectomy
Post Hysterectomy
Second Opinion
Avoid a Hysterectomy
Speed Up Recovery
Health Initiative
Vaginal Dryness
Hysterectomy Complications
After a Hysterectomy
Hysterectomy Scar
Post Hysterectomy

What Is a Hysterectomy?

If you were to ask a woman what a hysterectomy is, she could probably give you the basic information about the procedure. Until a woman has to have a hysterectomy, she's not likely to think about the procedure. First, it's important to understand that a hysterectomy is the second most common medical procedure for women.

However, there is so much more to the procedure. For instance, some women do not know exactly what organs it involves, what kind of hysterectomies there are, why it's performed and the risks involved with the procedure.

So what is a hysterectomy?

It's a female surgical operation that involves removing some, most or all of the reproductive organs. These reproductive organs include: the cervix, fallopian tubes, ovaries and uterus, all situated in the lower stomach. What does each of these organs do?

  • Cervix - located in the lower uterine area, allows menstrual blood and baby to pass through the vagina.
  • Fallopian tubes - These tubes will transport the eggs to the uterus.
  • Ovaries - Each ovary will produce eggs and give off hormones.
  • Uterus - The uterus is the place the baby will grow during pregnancy.

Three Hysterectomy Types

When a woman thinks about a hysterectomy, her mind generally thinks of one specific type: the total hysterectomy. Actually, that's just one type and it's the procedure that removes the cervix and the uterus. There are also two other types: partial and radical hysterectomies.

If a total hysterectomy removes the cervix and uterus, what parts of the woman's body is removed in these types?

  • Partial hysterectomy - Doctors remove only the upper portion of the uterus but leave the cervix be.
  • Radical hysterectomy - Doctors will remove the following female reproductive organs: cervix, uterus and upper portion of vagina. Sometimes one or both ovaries will be removed along with the fallopian tubes. (This is typically done in instances of cancer.)

Five Reasons Behind The Three Types of Hysterectomies

Cancer isn't the only reasona woman will have a hysterectomy, although it is the most common reason. There really are a number of other reasons, including:

  • Cancer
  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • Endometriosis
  • Persistent vaginal bleeding
  • Uterine fibroids (this is typically the reason for a hysterectomy)
  • Uterine prolapse

How The Surgery Is Performed

The typical surgery for hysterectomies involves the doctor making an incision in the abdominal area. This method takes times to heal, usually four to eight weeks.

However, vaginal hysterectomies are becoming more common and more requested because of their shorter recovery time (one to two weeks). Doctors will use a laparoscope to remove the woman's reproductive organs.

Multitude of Risks With A Hysterectomy

Any surgery done has risks and a hysterectomy is no exception. There are all kinds of things that can go wrong with the surgery, including:

  • Anesthesia problems
  • Bladder injury
  • Bowel injury
  • Changing surgeries midway (vaginal to abdominal)
  • Healing issues
  • Heavy blood loss

Other Issues With A Woman's Body and Hysterectomies

When a woman has to undergo a hysterectomy before she reaches menopause, she may begin to experience all the symptoms of menopause, such as:

  • Decreased sexual desire
  • Hot flashes
  • Vaginal dryness

With this possibility, women often wonder if a hysterectomy is the best way of fixing their problem. Actually, there are other ways to deal with certain medical conditions.

For instance, endometriosis, fibroids and uterine prolapse can be handled with medication, myomectmy, etc. If a woman is not comfortable with the idea of a hysterectomy, she should talk with her doctor about these other treatment options. Sometimes, there is no other option besides surgery but at least there are possible alternatives.

Get A Second Opinion and Get Educated

As with any suggestion of surgery, it's best to get another doctor's opinion, especially if the primary physician is unwilling to speak with you about other options. If you have symptoms, be sure you find out everything you can about your particular symptom along with complications that can arise from the hysterectomy.


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