You may be surprised to learn that surgical removal of the uterus – a hysterectomy – is one of the most common surgeries among women in the U.S. It is second only to C-sections.
In addition, long hospital stays, large scars, and extended recovery periods are a thing of the past. Today, you have options should you require a hysterectomy. This includes minimally invasive, outpatient procedures using technology offering more precision and control than ever before.
Role of the Uterus
A woman’s uterus, or womb, plays an important reproductive role. During your menstrual cycle, the lining of the uterus thickens, in preparation for arrival of a mature egg from the ovaries. If the egg is fertilized by sperm, it may implant in the uterine lining, and later receive nourishment courtesy of blood vessels in that lining. If the egg remains unfertilized, it is shed with the uterine lining during menstruation.
Occasionally, however, problems associated with the uterus can cause pain and other symptoms – and impact your quality of life. In these cases, you may benefit from a hysterectomy.
Common Reasons for a Hysterectomy
If you have a gynecological condition that affects your uterus and other methods of treating it have failed, your OB-GYN provider may recommend a hysterectomy. Common reasons for a hysterectomy include:
How a Hysterectomy Is Performed
While a hysterectomy involves removal of the uterus, it may also include removal of other structures in the pelvis at the same time. This might include removing the cervix, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and other surrounding tissue.
How your hysterectomy is performed will depend on what structures are to be removed during the procedure – as well as why it’s being done. In most cases, you can opt for a minimally invasive procedure in which the uterus is accessed either vaginally or laparoscopically, via small incisions at the belly button. A laparoscopic hysterectomy may also be performed with robotic assistance for increased precision and control.
In some cases, such as certain types of cancer, a more traditional open hysterectomy is required, via a larger abdominal incision.
What You Can Expect After a Hysterectomy
After a hysterectomy, you will no longer have menstrual periods and will be unable to become pregnant.
Once your doctor gives you the OK, you can resume sexual intercourse. In some cases, your vaginal canal may become shorter, which can make it difficult to achieve full penetration, to the extent experienced before the surgery.
If your ovaries were removed along with your uterus, it will trigger what is called surgical menopause. At EstrogenicA Health 360, we can help you with menopause symptom management and relief, should you need it.