Hysterectomy refers to surgical removal of uterus. It is carried out only in extreme cases, such as cancer of the uterus, ovary or cervix, endometriosis or uncontrollable bleeding. After this surgery a woman's reproductive capacity ends.
What is a hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy refers to an operation
where a woman's uterus is surgically removed. This procedure spells the
end of a woman's ability to become a mother. This may seem a rather drastic
step to take, especially for women who want to have children. However, a hysterectomy becomes essential under certain circumstances. For instance, cancer of the uterus, ovary or cervix, prolapsed or 'dropped' uterus, severe pelvic infections, endometriosis or uncontrollable bleeding. In some cases, it also becomes necessary to remove the ovaries if they are diseased. If the ovaries of a premenopausal woman are removed, she goes into menopause and will need to take Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).
There are basically two ways to perform
Total abdominal hysterectomy refers to a procedure involving the removal of the uterus and cervix through
an abdominal incision. This method gives the surgeon better visibility
of the pelvic organs and more space to maneuver. Doctors opt for this method
if you have a large pelvic tumour or a suspected malignancy. The disadvantage
of this method is that it means a longer hospital stay, greater postoperative
discomfort and a visible scar. The surgeon can make a bikini incision,
i.e. a horizontal incision just across the top of the pubic hairline. This
scar will not be as noticeable.
In a vaginal hysterectomy, the
uterus and cervix are removed through a small incision in the vagina. While
this is a technically more difficult procedure because of the limited space
the surgeon has in which to operate, it is ideal for cases where the uterus
is not enlarged or has dropped as a result of the weakening of the surrounding
Pelvic pain and vaginal bleeding
are the symptoms most likely to lead to the performing of a hysterectomy.
However, they do not always indicate that there is a problem with the uterus
requiring a hysterectomy to be performed. Pelvic pain can be linked to
conditions in the urinary tract, skeletal system or digestive system. It
is essential that you perform all the diagnostic tests before you decide
to have a hysterectomy. You must consult your doctor about alternative
When should a
hysterectomy be avoided
Hysterectomy should not be performed
in a postmenopausal woman who has vaginal bleeding until a D&C has
been done. Women who are obese, diabetic, or have high blood pressure should
only have a hysterectomy done if it is absolutely necessary. Conditions
such as these increase the risks of major surgery. A hysterectomy should
not be considered for the sole purpose of sterilization. Sterilization
does not warrant such a major surgery.
The decision to have a hysterectomy
is not an easy one, especially since it affects a woman's reproductive
organs. The removal of a woman's womb is not a reversible procedure. The
uterus seems to be a symbol of fertility and womanhood. This belief is
irrational because the uterus merely serves as a temporary home for the
growing foetus. A hysterectomy is particularly painful for young women
who are yet to have children.
of a hysterectomy
On the up side, a hysterectomy spells
freedom from heavy periods and from the fear of cervical and uterine cancer.
However, some women have reported a decrease in their libido, less intense
orgasms and slower arousal. The lack of uterine contractions may reduce
the pleasure of orgasm for some women. On the other hand, relief that they
do not have to worry about getting pregnant any more enhances sexual pleasure
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- The Indiaparenting Team