In simplest words, Hysterectomy is a surgical procedure performed on women to remove their uterus. Uterus, which can also be denoted as the womb, is the place where the baby grows during pregnancy. After a hysterectomy, a woman can no longer get pregnant or get her menstrual periods as uterine lining is the source of the menstrual blood.
Sometimes, this surgery also involves the removal of the ovaries, cervix, fallopian tubes and other surrounding structures. When this is done, the woman enters her menopause. Because, the ovaries are the organs that are responsible for producing estrogen and other hormones, while fallopian tubes transfer the eggs from the ovaries. The extent of this surgery depends on the reason for surgery and the severity of the problem that the woman is facing.
The surgery is usually performed by a trained gynecologist and is one of the most commonly performed gynecological surgical procedures. One of the major reasons behind its vast popularity is that many types of reproductive system cancers can be treated by this surgery. It includes uterine, cervical cancer, ovarian or endometrial tumors etc. that can’t be treated by any other conservative surgical procedure.
Though hysterectomy is considered to be one of the safest surgical options, it may not be the best pertaining to the possible risks that it involves. Moreover, a doctor should exhaust all other alternatives before suggesting hysterectomy to the woman.
Your health care provider may suggest you hysterectomy if you are facing any of these complications,
A hysterectomy can be performed in several ways with all the procedures involving a general or local anesthesia. A general anesthesia is administered to put the patient into a deep sleep so that you don’t feel any pain during the surgery, while a local anesthesia will simply numb your lower portion but you will stay awake during the procedure with no pain during the surgery of course.
Sometimes, the patients are also given sedatives along with the local anesthesia to make them feel sleepy and relaxed during the procedure.
During this type of hysterectomy, the doctor usually makes a long incision or cut in the abdominal area to remove the uterus. The incision can be either vertical or horizontal and leaves little scaring after the procedure and heal well during the recovery period.
In this, a small incision is made inside the vagina to remove the uterus. There are no visible scars as there is no external cut in this type.
In this method, doctors use a long thin tube called laparoscope, which has a high intensity light and a small camera in front. Three to four small incisions are made on abdomen instead of a big one and the instrument is inserted through one incision. Once the surgeon locates the uterus, he will start removing the uterus piece by piece instead of the whole uterus at one time.
As one can guess, soon after hysterectomy, you will have a brief recovery time in hospital and then at your home before going back to your usual life and routine activities. Of Course, this recovery time will vary patient to patient depending upon the kind of surgery that she has had.
After this surgery, most women are discharged from the hospital within 2-3 days of the surgery. But, a complete recovery can be expected only after 6 to 8 weeks, during this time the patient is advised to take rest at home. For first two weeks, exercising and lifting heavy stuff is totally prohibited. In about 6 weeks, one can start returning to her routine life, including intercourse.
It is definitely much less invasive as compared to abdominal hysterectomy and recovery can be expected in 2 weeks. Though walking is recommended to prevent blood clots but lifting heavy weights and bending continue to be a restriction even in this.
This procedure is the least invasive of all three and has a recovery period of as shot as six to ten days. The precautions that need to be undertaken are avoiding heavy lifting but walking is encouraged.
This popular surgery is considered to be a safe one. But, as with all the surgeries even this surgery comes with possible risks and complications that need to be addressed well on time. Some people might experience a heavy bleeding around the incision site and some may even react negatively to the administered anesthesia.
Even surrounding organs like bladder, blood vessels or intestines may get injured during the procedure. Apart from these, there is always a risk of infection after the operation. This could be a wound or UT infection.
Other problem that may occur includes thrombosis; blood clot that develops in a vein and interferes with the blood circulation and other vaginal problems. Furthermore, early menopause continues to be one of the most popular risks of hysterectomy.
Though these complications are rare but if at all they occur then they are corrected with a second surgery.
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