A hysterectomy is major surgery, and not to be undertaken if there is a less invasive option available…
Some experts believe up to 50% of hysterectomies are performed unnecessarily. The procedure brings a host of changes to the body (such as early menopause and possible drop in libido if the ovaries are removed too). Before undergoing the procedure, women are advised to make sure all other options have been explored with their doctor.
When you absolutely should have a hysterectomy
- Your condition is cancerous: in cases of uterine cancer, a hysterectomy can be a lifesaver
- Your condition is not responding to other treatments: if your quality of life is being affected by excessive bleeding or uterine pain, and you do not plan on having any more children, a hysterectomy could be the solution.
Find out what type of hysterectomy will be performed: vaginal, abdominal or via laparoscopy. Each has different risk factors, side effects and recovery times.
One in five women suffer from heavy bleeding. Most commonly, the cause is hormonal imbalance prior to menopause. This can be treated with:
- Hormone therapy: a low-dose birth control pill or other hormones may be prescribed.
- D&C: dilation and curettage can be suggested if drug therapy has failed. The top layer of the uterine lining is scraped away to reduce bleeding.
- Traditional hysteroscopic endometrial ablation: this destroys the uterine lining with laser. It can be performed under either local or general anaesthetic, and takes 30-60 minutes.
Fibroids and polyps
These are best treated by a myomectomy. This procedure involves the insertion of a hysteroscope into the uterus through which polyps and fibroids may be safely cut, removed or vaporised. The uterus is preserved and the hospital stay is greatly reduced. About 85% of the time, fibroids and polyps can be treated successfully through procedures less invasive than a full hysterectomy.