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Does every woman need a hysterectomy

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The removal of the uterus is a major surgery often considered after years of significant pain, a cancer diagnosis or other reasons. About , hysterectomies are performed each year in the United States. Though it means losing the ability to get pregnant, a hysterectomy is typically used to treat serious health problems such as uterine fibroids — which are benign growths inside the uterus — cancer, uterine prolapse or chronic pain. Goldstein explains, pointing out that other surgical and medical remedies are often tried first. Despite how common the procedure is, many women are unsure of what a hysterectomy really involves. In its simplest form, a hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus.

SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Can Woman Keep Ovaries After Hysterectomy?

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SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Uterine Fibroids - Avoiding Hysterectomy - Mayo Clinic

The #1 Surgery Women Don’t Need: Hysterectomy

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The decision to have a hysterectomy is never an easy one. Healthy reproductive organs are central to a female's womanhood beginning with her first period at puberty, through pregnancy and childbirth, and ending with menopause.

Yet, it is the second most common surgery performed on reproductive-aged women after delivery by cesarean section. More than a half a million of these surgeries are performed in the US every year, which begs the question - how could they all be necessary? The In Dispensable Uterus There was a time when doctors didn't think much about removing a woman's uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, cervix and parts of the vagina, particularly if a woman had already produced children or was beyond childbearing age.

Hysterectomies were standard treatments for everything from anxiety known back then as hysteria to abnormal bleeding. We now know that making the decision to have a hysterectomy should never be taken lightly. It not only closes the door to childbirth, it has other potential repercussions, beyond the risks posed by any surgery - bleeding, infection, reactions to anesthesia and injury to nearby organs, nerves and tissue.

A hysterectomy can also cause the vaginal dryness, mood swings and hot flashes of menopause if the ovaries are also removed; impact sexual pleasure, particularly uterine orgasm; produce bladder and intestinal changes; and provoke emotional distress and depression.

A hysterectomy may be the only choice if a woman has cancer of the uterus, ovary, cervix, or endometrium. But most hysterectomies are performed for non-cancerous conditions - such as fibroids, endometriosis, and uterine prolapse.

Fibroids can prevent a pregnancy from taking hold, and cause enough bleeding to cause severe blood loss and anemia. While most are less then a few centimeters in diameter, they can also grow to a size of a grapefruit that can elbow organs in the abdomen to cause urinary frequency and changes in bowel habits. While hysterectomy can alleviate the pain, pressure and bleeding caused by conditions of the uterus, and many women are pleased with the result afterwards, the pros and cons of surgery must always be carefully weighed.

And there are many cases when surgery might be completely unnecessary. So how should women and their doctors decide?

It is a complex judgment call. Much will depend on why a hysterectomy is being considered, the type of hysterectomy offered, a woman's goal for treatment and her willingness to tolerate side effects or symptoms. It may also depend on where you live, as doctors practicing in certain geographical regions are more hysterectomy-centric. Considering Hysterectomy Carefully The uterus is pear-shaped organ nestled in the pelvis flanked by 2 fallopian tubes and ovaries.

It is the focus of the reproductive system. During fertile reproductive years every month the lining engorges with a nutritious blood supply with the expectation of receiving and implanting a fertilized egg. If that doesn't occur, it sheds the lining during menstruation and repeats the process as long as the necessary hormones are adequate. If all the hormones are aligned and the attachment surface is a good one, a pregnancy can occur. The uterus grows to accommodate the fetus and placenta and contracts during labor of childbirth.

Occasionally, something happens that changes the integrity of this hardy muscular organ that causes everything from annoying abdominal cramps to more serious symptoms such as severe pelvic pain, bleeding, pregnancy loss, or bladder and gastrointestinal symptoms. Conditions affecting the uterus include Cancer - endometrial, uterine, ovarian , cervical or vaginal cancer Fibroids or polyps fibromyomas, leiomyomas or myomas - one or many benign growths ranging in size that sit in or outside of the uterus Endometriosis - when endometrial tissue grows on the outside of the uterus Prolapsed uterus - when ligaments holding the uterus fail and it slips out of the vagina Adenomyosis - when endometrial tissue lining the uterus grows into the muscle wall Endometrial hyperplasia - abnormal thickening of the endometrial lining Chronic pelvic pain - sometimes no cause can be found Dysfunctional uterine bleeding DUB - excessive or irregular bleeding Uncontrolled bleeding after childbirth or uterine surgery If your doctor proposes hysterectomy there are a few questions you should ask.

Why are you recommending hysterectomy? What type of hysterectomy do you propose and why? Partial - removal of the uterus keeping the cervix Total - the entire uterus and cervix Radical - removal of uterus, cervix, ovaries and fallopian tubes Abdominal hysterectomy - removal of the uterus through an incision on the lower abdomen Vaginal hysterectomy - removal of the uterus through the vagina Laparoscopic hysterectomy keyhole surgery - the uterus is visualized using a flexible lighted microscope laparoscope threaded through the belly button while other instruments inserted into a few small incisions removes the uterus What are the pros and cons of the type of hysterectomy you want to perform?

Are there any alternatives to hysterectomy? Is watchful waiting an option fibroids will shrink during menopause? A second opinion is a good idea, particularly whenever surgery that cannot be reversed is recommended. And being an informed patient can help you to avoid unnecessary surgery. It may not be essential to surrender to hysterectomy after all.

Taking the Alternative Route Hysterectomy rates in the US have been steadily declining partly because there are more alternatives to surgery available that keep reproductive organs intact. Still, some doctors are not yet convinced that these uterus-sparing treatments work well enough to trump traditional removal, while others don't have the clinical expertise or experience to perform newer techniques.

Not all techniques work on every condition and not every woman is a good candidate. And while a newer technique preserves the uterus, it may still affect a woman's ability to achieve pregnancy in the future. Here are some alternative techniques to consider in lieu of hysterectomy.

Radiofrequency ablation - This technique delivers intense heat to destroy thickened or abnormal tissue inside the uterus. An electrode inserted into fibroid tumors or thickened areas melts tissue away. High-frequency ultrasound - This method uses high-frequency ultrasound to destroy small fibroid tumors. Myomectomy - A surgical procedure used to treat uterine fibroids.

The uterus remains intact and only the fibroids are removed. Intrauterine device IUD - Inserting an IUD within the uterus similar to the birth-control device laced with the hormone progesterone can reduce endometrial wall thickening and control excessive menstrual bleeding.

Loop electrosurgical excision procedure LEEP - A conservative procedure that preserves the uterus while removing abnormal cells in women with cervical cancer. Hormonal therapy - Hormone pills, similar to birth control pills, or hormone injections can reduce pain, and excessive or irregular bleeding. Anti-estrogen therapy - Hormone blockers given until natural menopause occurs can keep ovaries from producing estrogen, which can shrink fibroids.

Uterine artery embolization UAE - Usually performed by an interventional radiologist, this procedure cuts off the blood supply feeding fibroids. A catheter is threaded through a blood vessel in the groin to the area of the uterus.

Eventually tissue fed by the zapped blood vessel dies and is reabsorbed. Pain Medications - Some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, not only reduce painful cramps but can calm heavy bleeding. Herbal and dietary supplements - Certain dietary supplements and teas may help relieve menstrual cramps and regulate blood flow.

Cramp bark, derived from the viburnum plant can quell cramping; valerian root has a sedating effect that can relax the uterus; pycnogenol can reduce swelling and pain; and red raspberry leaf tea rubus can help keep the uterus muscle toned. From the Anti-Cancer Cookbook These delicious recipes are packed full of the best secret-weapon ingredients to prevent cancer.

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Sustainable Beauty How to incorporate more natural ingredients in your beauty routine. More Oz: Dr. Oz Magazine. Edit Your Location. Click for more. Secrets of Alternative Medicine Revealed Today's 3 leading pioneers of alternative medicine each reveal their 1 secret to overall health and longevity. Click to Load More.

Hysterectomy: Do You Really Need It?

All A-Z health topics. View all pages in this section. Female reproductive system click to expand. If your doctor recommends a hysterectomy or myomectomy to treat uterine fibroids, ask your doctor if a power morcellator will be used. Power morcellators break uterine fibroids into small pieces to remove them more easily during a laproscopic surgery.

By Judith Garber April 12, In , I was over-treated and permanently harmed by my gynecologist of 20 years.

One in three women have a hysterectomy by age Each year, up to , women in the United States have a hysterectomy, meaning a surgical removal of the uterus and sometimes the cervix and supporting tissues. Once a woman has this procedure, she is no longer able to get pregnant. It is the most common non-pregnancy-related major surgery performed on women in the United States. Generally, most hysterectomies are not emergency operations, so a woman will have time to discuss with her doctor and time to think about her options.

The 6 Most Common Reasons a Woman Needs a Hysterectomy

In most cases, hysterectomy, or surgical removal of the uterus, is elective rather than medically necessary. During pregnancy, a fertilized egg implants itself in the lining of the uterus, where the developing fetus is nourished prior to birth. Only about 10 percent of the more than , hysterectomies performed in the United States each year are for cancer treatment and are considered potentially lifesaving. After cesarean section , it is the second most frequently performed surgical procedure for women who are of reproductive age in the United States. The majority are performed as a treatment for health conditions when alternate therapies, such as medication, hormone treatments, or less invasive surgical procedures, have been unsuccessful in completely alleviating symptoms such as severe bleeding and pain. The National Institutes of Health estimate that more than , hysterectomies are performed each year for fibroids. Because they often cause no symptoms, fibroids are usually detected incidentally during a pelvic exam or a prenatal ultrasound. For some women, fibroids do become problematic, causing heavy bleeding during menstruation.

What you need to know about hysterectomy

Not only because one has to juggle through the various responsibilities and roles in life, but also because it is physically challenging. A woman goes through a lot of mental, emotional and physical stress in life. However, one cannot ignore the various conditions that arise simply because of having a uterus and two ovaries, including, in some women, chronic pain and reproductive ailments. While it is certainly a severe and drastic procedure, it becomes essential in some cases.

The decision to have a hysterectomy is never an easy one. Healthy reproductive organs are central to a female's womanhood beginning with her first period at puberty, through pregnancy and childbirth, and ending with menopause.

Back to Hysterectomy. Fibroids are non-cancerous growths in or around the womb uterus. The growths are made up of muscle and fibrous tissue, and vary in size.

The Happier Hysterectomy: What EVERY Woman Should Know

For women of reproductive age, hysterectomies are the second most often performed procedure in the U. There are several reasons why a woman might choose to have a hysterectomy. It can be because of uterine fibroids, heavy and persistent vaginal bleeding, cancer, or conditions like endometriosis. A hysterectomy is a major, life-altering surgery, so it is not a procedure that should be taken lightly.

SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Ovaries and Dementia-Mayo Clinic

The United States has the highest hysterectomy rate in the industrialized world. Statistics from indicate that about one-third of all U. Today, about 90 percent of hysterectomies are done by choice and not as an emergency or lifesaving procedure. Various studies have concluded that anywhere from 10 percent to 90 percent of those operations were not really needed, but many physicians continue to recommend them. In certain circumstances, hysterectomies save lives and restore health. Because of the controversy over high hysterectomy rates, many insurance plans now require a second opinion from another physician before agreeing to pay for the procedures.

Guest Post: The “madness” of unnecessary hysterectomy has to stop

Hysterectomy means the surgical removal of the uterus womb and is still one of the most common operation. For some women, especially those who suffer from heavy periods, having a hysterectomy comes as a welcome relief. For others, being told they need the operation is a major shock. Usually other treatment options for your heavy periods will have been tried before a hysterectomy is suggested. Very rarely, hysterectomy is performed as an emergency procedure, such as if bleeding becomes uncontrollable during childbirth.

Jun 20, - Each year, up to , women in the United States have a hysterectomy, meaning a surgical removal of the uterus and sometimes the cervix.

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