A hysterectomy can help heal many ailments particularly those related to the female reproductive tract and some types of cancer too.
What Is a Hysterectomy?
The uterus or the womb is where a baby grows when a woman is pregnant. The uterine lining is the source of menstrual blood. A hysterectomy is a surgery to remove a woman’s uterus. The surgery can be used to treat a number of chronic pain conditions and certain types of cancers and infections of the female reproductive tract.
The extent of a hysterectomy varies depending on the reason for the surgery. In most cases, the entire uterus is removed. The ovaries and the fallopian tubes may also be removed during the procedure.
Menstrual periods and pregnancy do not happen after a hysterectomy.
Why Is a Hysterectomy Performed?
Hysterectomy may be suggested in case of chronic pelvic pain, uncontrollable vaginal bleeding, cancer of the uterus, cervix, or ovaries, uterine fibroids (benign tumors that grow in the uterus), pelvic inflammatory disease (infection of the reproductive organs), endometriosis and adenomyosis.
What are the Types of Hysterectomy?
- Partial Hysterectomy
During a partial hysterectomy, a small portion of the uterus is removed leaving the cervix intact.
- Total Hysterectomy
During a total hysterectomy, the entire uterus, including the cervix, is removed.
- Hysterectomy and Salpingo-Oophorectomy
During a hysterectomy and salpingo oophorectomy, the uterus along with one or both of your ovaries and fallopian tubes is removed. Hormone replacement therapy may be needed if both of your ovaries are removed.
How Is a Hysterectomy Performed?
The surgery can be performed under local anesthesia (partial numbness of the body) or in general anesthesia (complete unconsciousness). Let us see how different types of hysterectomies are performed:
a) Abdominal Hysterectomy
During an abdominal hysterectomy, the uterus is removed through a large cut in the abdomen. The incision may be vertical or horizontal which tend to heal well and leave little scarring.
b) Vaginal Hysterectomy
During a vaginal hysterectomy, the uterus is removed through a small incision made inside the vagina.
c) Laparoscopic Hysterectomy
A laparoscope is a long, thin tube with a light and a high resolution camera at the front. The instrument is inserted through an incision in the abdomen. The uterus is removed in parts.
Are there any risks associated with Hysterectomy?
Some people may have an adverse reaction to the anesthetic drug. There may be a risk of heavy bleeding and infection around the incision site. Other risks include injury to surrounding tissues or organs, including the bladder, intestines and blood vessels.
Recovery from Hysterectomy
After a hysterectomy, the patient will need to spend two to five days in the hospital. The patient will also be encouraged to walk around the hospital as it helps prevent blood clots from forming in the legs. On returning home from the hospital, it’s important to continue walking. However, the patient should avoid performing strenuous activities during recovery.
Are there any alternatives to a Hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy is considered to be a safe, low-risk surgery. However, it may not be the best option for all women. It shouldn’t be performed on women who desire to maintain fertility. Luckily, there are other treatment options, for example, non-surgical treatment for removal of uterine fibroids called MR Guided Focussed Ultrasound (MRgFUS) and the use of hormone therapy to treat endometriosis. In some circumstances, however, a hysterectomy is the best choice, for instance, for treating uterine or cervical cancer.