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Why Are Hysterectomies Performed?

Each year, hundreds of women around the world are told they must have a hysterectomy. While she will come to terms with this and understand the need for the procedure, many people in her life will not quite get it. What kinds of medical conditions will force a woman to undergo a partial, radical or total hysterectomy?

Medical Conditions That Lead To Hysterectomy

There are many reasons a woman will have to go undergo a hysterectomy. A few of these conditions are quite common; others are not so common, but either way they force a woman to have this medical surgery. These conditions include:

  • Abnormal uterine bleeding (vaginal bleeding)
  • Cancer
  • Cervical dysplasia (pre-cancerous cervix condition)
  • Endometriosis
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Uterine prolapse (pelvic relaxation)

Uterine fibroids are the most common, followed by abnormal uterine bleed, cervical dysplasia, uterine prolapse and endometriosis. You may be surprised to learn that cancer isn't the leading cause of hysterectomies. Just about 10 percent of hysterectomies performed are because of cancer.

An Overview Look At Non-Life Threatening Causes For Hysterectomies

Uterine Fibroids

Again, uterine fibroids are the most common cause of the majority of hysterectomies. It's a condition that's also known as uterine leiomyomata. What are uterine fibroids?

Uterine fibroids are actually benign growths that are growing in the uterus. There is no reason known for why they occur. No matter why they occur, they force a woman to have the surgery that will remove them.

While the majority of them never turn into cancer, they can cause havoc on a woman's body. For instance, if uterine fibroids become excessively large (looking as if she is about eight months pregnant), cause pain or pressure or have bleeding that's causing a secondary condition called anemia, the woman should have the surgery to remove these fibroids.

Uterine Prolape (Pelvic Relaxation)

Another very common condition a woman tends to have that requires a hysterectomy is called pelvic relaxation. This is a condition in which a woman will experience a loss of support in her pelvic muscles and tissues. There are three degrees of pelvic relaxation.

  • The first degree, called mild relaxation, is one in which the cervix is found to be halfway in the vagina.
  • The second degree finds that the cervix has moved toward the vaginal opening
  • The third and most serious degree finds that the cervix and uterus have moved past the opening of the vagina and is sticking out.

The first degree is checked repeatedly but if the second or third degree is noticed, a woman is often recommended to undergo the hysterectomy to remove the problem. When a woman is suffering from a loose, weakened vaginal wall it can lead to a more serious condition called urinary incontinence or the unintentional urine loss. When a woman is suffering from urine loss, it's typically aggravated when she coughs, laughs or sneezes.

Other problems a woman can suffer from include:

  • Pelvic heaviness
  • Weakened sexual performance

One reason a woman may suffer pelvic relaxation is because of previous childbearing. It doesn't matter if the woman has had a caesarean section or a vaginal birth; she is still at risk once she has had a child.

Again, a hysterectomy is a treatment for uterine cancer, dysplasia, microinvasive carcinoma and carcinoma in situ. A hysterectomy is, by far, the most effective treatment for uterine cancer.


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