What is Hysterectomy?
Hysterectomy is an operation to remove the uterus (womb). It is an effective way of treating problems (diseases and other critical conditions) affecting the uterus. In most cases, hysterectomy is an elective procedure where the operation is done to improve the quality of life, that is, to relieve pain, heavy bleeding, other chronic conditions and discomfort. There may be other ways of treating or dealing with these problems. Together with your doctor you should weigh all the alternatives and effects of the different choices to decide what is right for you.
The choice of hysterectomy depends to some extent on the effect of the condition and the surgery on your life. You should be fully informed of all options before you decide. Hysterectomy may be performed to treat problems affecting the uterus. Some indications that suggest the need for hysterectomy are pelvic pain, chronic cervisitis, pelvic inflammatory disease, tumors, adenomyosis, large fibroids and large uterus. Some have symptoms that cause discomfort, while others can threaten your life. The choice of treatment depends on personal factors as well. These factors include your plans to have children in the future, the amount of discomfort you are having, and other options available. Other forms of treatment often are tried first. If they don’t work, hysterectomy may be considered.
Cases when Hysterectomy is recommended
Hysterectomies are commonly recommended in three broad cases- to save lives, to correct serious problems that interfere with normal functions, and to improve the quality of life. Problematic cases may include Fibroids (common non-cancerous tumors of the uterus), Endometriosis (a noncancerous condition in which cells from the uterine lining grow like islands outside of the uterus), Prolapse (vaginal supports begin to lose their muscle tone and sag downward), Irritation of the lining of the abdomen that may cause adhesions (scarring) which bind affected organs to each other, Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding (DUB) which is unusually heavy or frequent bleeding and pelvic (lower belly) pain.
Types of Hysterectomy
There are three main types of hysterectomy including- Partial (or subtotal), in which the upper part of the uterus is removed but the cervix is left in place, Complete (or total), in which the entire uterus, including the cervix, is removed and Radical, in which the entire uterus, lymph nodes, and support structures around the uterus are removed.
Blood and urine tests are needed before the surgery. You may be given one or more enemas. Antibiotics usually are given to prevent infection.
Symptoms like pelvic pain or unusual bleeding may not necessarily be related to the uterus. An accurate diagnosis will help you to determine the potential benefits and risks of a hysterectomy. The risks of hysterectomy include the risks of any major operation, although its surgical risks are among the lowest of any major operation. Hysterectomy patients may have a fever during recovery, and some may develop a mild bladder infection or wound infection. If an infection occurs, it can usually be treated with antibiotics. Complications related to anesthesia might also occur, especially for women who smoke, are obese, or have serious heart or lung disease. In addition to the direct surgical risks, there may be psychological effects such as depression for you no longer being able to bear children. Talk about your concerns with your doctor or a counselor and your partner. Bring your partner to your doctor’s clinic to discuss concerns before having the operation.
Post Surgery Care
The length of stay in the hospital after surgery varies by the type of surgery. Normal activities can be resumed in about 6 weeks. As one recovers, activities such as driving, sports, and light physical work may be increased gradually. You and your doctor can plan your return to normal activities, including your return to work, at a rate best suited to your own recovery. If you can do an activity without pain and fatigue, it should be okay. If activity causes pain, discuss it with your doctor.