by Carol Gomes

Hysterectomy is one of the common surgical procedures for a woman which involves removal of the uterus. It can mean a life saving procedure for woman with cervical or uterine cancer. It is also performed to relieve the extensive pelvic pain caused due to endometriosis, or irregular or heavy periods.

A specialist may recommend hysterectomy in the following situations -

  1. Gynecologic cancer - depending on its advancement
  2. Fibroids - as benign tumors in the uterus can cause bleeding which is persistent
  3. Endometriosis - to control the overgrowth of the tissues on uterus, fallopian tubes and the ovaries
  4. Uterine prolapse
  5. Persistent vaginal bleeding
  6. Chronic pelvic pain
  7. Ectopic pregnancy
  8. Ovarian cysts
  9. Per cancerous cells

Before undergoing a hysterectomy it is very important to discuss other treatment options available as hysterectomy ends your entire hope for getting pregnant. Besides cancer there are alternative treatments available to treat other above medical conditions.

A surgeon will need to detach the uterus from the connective tissues and vagina which supports it. He may even remove other organs and tissues depending on the situation. Common types of hysterectomy surgery includes -

  1. Partial hysterectomy - removes only the uterus, cervical is on its place
  2. Total hysterectomy - removes both, the uterus and the cervical
  3. Hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy - it involves removal of uterus, cervix, ovaries and fallopian tubes. Removal of the ovaries initiates the chances of your menopause
  4. Radical hysterectomy - this procedure is generally used for certain form of cancers and involves removal of upper part of the vagina and some of the surrounding lymph nodes and tissues along with uterus and cervix

Depending on the situation your specialist will chose abdominal hysterectomy or vaginal hysterectomy. Few years before abdominal hysterectomy were the only option available. In this the surgeon can make either horizontal incision that is just an inch above your pelvic bone or vertical incision that starts from the middle of the abdomen and ends above your pelvic bone. This will especially be the first option for your surgeon in case of cancer as he can see the internal organs clearly compared to vaginal hysterectomy.

Vaginal hysterectomy on the other hand involves removal of uterus from the vagina by making a circular incision around your cervix. This is the best option for small uterus and for benign conditions. This type generally gives less room to the surgeon to operate and also decreases the possibility to view your pelvic organs. Compared to abdominal surgery there won't be any scar on the abdominal, recovery or healing time would be faster with less discomfort. After hysterectomy you might need to wear sanitary napkins as it is normal to have vaginal discharge or bleeding. Hysterectomy recovery would involve at least 4-6 weeks after which you can resume to your normal activities including sexual activity.

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