The surgical removal of the woman’s uterus is known as hysterectomy. It is done to treat various disorders, diseases and conditions of the uterus and reproductive organs. The uterus is the pear-shaped organ that is placed in the pelvic area where the baby grows during pregnancy.
Uterus removal is a very common procedure but a major surgery with significant risks and complications. Removal of surgery means you will no longer be able to become pregnant. Your body may experience certain changes such as menopause if both ovaries are removed. You may have less invasive treatment options depending on the conditions. Contact your doctor to get the treatment before hysterectomy.
What are the types of hysterectomy?
The type of hysterectomies include:
- Total hysterectomy: It is the removal of the uterus and the cervix.
- Subtotal hysterectomy: It is the removal of the uterus leaving the cervix intact.
- Radical hysterectomy: It is performed in case of cancers and is a very extensive surgery. During the procedure, the uterus, the top of the vagina and tissues around the cervix are removed.
There are other surgical procedures in addition to hysterectomy. They are:
- Oophorectomy: It is the procedure where one or both the ovaries of the woman are removed. Ovaries are responsible for producing female hormones and woman’s eggs.
- Salpingectomy: This is the process of removal of one or both the fallopian tubes that connect the ovaries to the uterus.
What is the need for hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy may be recommended by the doctor to treat various conditions of the uterus and the reproductive system. A hysterectomy is performed when other treatment options have failed or caused risks and complications or have been ineffective in treating your conditions.
Talk to your doctor about all the treatment options to understand which is best for you. The reason why your doctor may suggest a hysterectomy are:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding which does not get better with other treatments such as medications.
- Adenomyosis happens because of thickening of the uterus that causes heavy bleeding and painful periods.
- Cancer of the ovaries, uterus or cervix.
- Chronic pelvic pain which usually does not get better with any other treatment.
- Excessive bleeding or uncontrolled bleeding after childbirth.
- Uterine fibroids which are tumors of the uterus that can cause significant pain and bleeding.
- Uterine prolapse is when the uterus moves from its place and slips into the vagina which is often treated by hysterectomy.
- Endometriosis is the growth of uterine tissue which causes severe menstrual pain, abnormal vaginal bleeding and chronic low back and pelvic pain. It is usually treated by the minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure.
Who performs a hysterectomy?
The specialists who perform hysterectomy are:
- Obstetrician-gynecologists: specialization in women’s health and pregnancy.
- Gynecologic oncologists: specialize in diagnosing, treating and preventing female reproductive cancer.
- General surgeons: specialize in the surgical treatment of various diseases, disorders and health conditions.
How is hysterectomy performed?
A hysterectomy can be performed as open surgery through the vagina or as a minimally invasive laparoscopic process. Laparoscopic surgery is commonly used as it entails faster recovery and less pain with a short hospital stay. There are surgical approaches:
- Abdominal hysterectomy: It is open surgery used to remove the uterus. The surgeon makes a large incision in the lower abdomen for the removal of the uterus.
- Vaginal hysterectomy: It is the removal of the uterus through the incision made in the vagina. After the removal of the uterus, the incision is closed using stitches.
- Laparoscopic hysterectomy: It is the removal of the uterus with the help of an instrument called laparoscope. It is a thin tube-like instrument with a camera on top to perform. It is inserted through one of the small incisions and the uterus is removed either through the vagina which is called laparoscopically assisted vaginal hysterectomy. If the uterus is removed through one of the incisions it is known as laparoscopic hysterectomy.
Talk to your surgeon which is the best type of hysterectomy for you, how long you need to stay in the hospital and all the know-how of the surgery. A hysterectomy is performed either under general anesthesia or regional anesthesia.
Before opting for a hysterectomy, make sure all the pre-operative tests are done. Talk to your healthcare provider about your medical history and the anesthesia that you will have. It must include prescription, over the counter drugs, vitamins or any other supplements. Before the surgery, you are not allowed to eat or drink anything as directed by the doctor to avoid complications during the surgery. Stop smoking as soon as possible, it may help in the healing process.
There are potential complications of a hysterectomy
- Damage to the urinary tract, bladder, rectum or other pelvic organs which may cause urinary or fecal incontinence and repair needs further surgery.
- Early onset of menopause if ovaries are removed.
To reduce the risk and complications after the surgery, take the following :
- Follow the instruction given by your surgeon such as activities, diet and lifestyle changes before and after the surgery.
- Talk to the doctor immediately for any concerns such as bleeding, pain, swelling or wound redness.
- Take your medicines regularly as directed.
There are some common questions which a woman asks before hysterectomy.
How long will it take to recover?
You will stay under observation immediately after the surgery until you are in your senses, breathing effectively and show positive signs that you are fit enough to go home. In a laparoscopic hysterectomy, you may be able to go home the same day. The hospital stay may be longer in case of abdominal hysterectomy. The time of recovery varies depending on the type of procedure, age, medical history and other factors.
How hysterectomy will affect my everyday life?
A hysterectomy cures the condition or reduces the symptoms of your problem which will help you lead a normal life. You will still need to have regular Pap tests and pelvic examination done after a hysterectomy.
- The most significant changes include early menopause. It may include vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, hot flashes and mood swings. But it may be treated with hormone replacement therapy.
- Women who are at the childbearing age may feel a sense of loss after hysterectomy. You must bring this into the notice of your doctor.
- Most of the women are happy with their sexual life after hysterectomy whereas some women may experience pain during intercourse. It is important to inform the doctor about the same.
How frequently should I call the doctor for follow-ups?
It is important that a woman goes for regular follow-ups after a hysterectomy. Call your doctor if you face any discomfort or pain such as breathing problem, fever, inability to urinate or have a bowel movement, uncontrolled bleeding, unexpected drainage, pus or swelling on the incision. Even if there are no such symptoms, you must go for a routine check-up.
Each surgical method for hysterectomy has its own advantages and risks. The new scarless technique must be performed by a well-trained and experienced gynecologist. The specialist will determine the appropriate procedure for each individual’s case based upon the medical history and condition of the patient. With this advanced technology, Pristyn care provides world-class clinical care, comprehensive treatment, individualized care and exceptional treatment all under one roof which gives many advantages to women suffering from gynecological problems.
Also Read: Tips for Quick Hysterectomy Recovery