Hysterectomy

Hysterectomy (the removal of a woman’s uterus) is used to treat the following:

  • Fibroids. More hysterectomies are done because of fibroids than any other problem of the uterus. Fibroids can cause heavy bleeding or pain in some women.
  • Endometriosis. This happens when the tissue lining the inside of your uterus grows outside the uterus on your ovaries, fallopian tubes, or other pelvic or abdominal organs.
  • Uterine prolapse. This is when the uterus moves from its usual place down into the vagina. This can lead to urinary problems, pelvic pressure, or difficulty with bowel movements.
  • Cancer. If you have cancer of the uterus, cervix, or ovary a hysterectomy may be part of the treatment your doctor recommends.
  • Abnormal uterine bleeding. If your periods are heavy, not regular, or last for many days each cycle and nonsurgical methods have not helped to control bleeding, a hysterectomy will bring relief.
  • Chronic pelvic pain. Surgery is a last resort for women who have chronic pelvic pain that clearly comes from the uterus. However, many forms of pelvic pain aren’t cured by a hysterectomy, and so this approach can be a permanent mistake.

If you have fibroids, endometriosis or uterine prolapsed there may be other treatments to try prior to having a hysterectomy. Talk to your doctor. Other treatments include:

  • Drug therapy. Certain medications may lighten heavy uterine bleeding or correct uterine bleeding that is not regular. Certain medications can help with endometriosis.
  • Endometrial ablation. If you have heavy or irregular uterine bleeding, this procedure might ease your symptoms. With a special device, a doctor uses electricity, heat, or cold to destroy the lining of your uterus and stop uterine bleeding.
  • Uterine artery embolization. For treating fibroids, this procedure involves blocking the blood supply to the tumors. Without blood, the fibroids shrink over time, which can reduce pain and heavy bleeding.
  • Myomectomy. If you have fibroid tumors, this surgical procedure removes the tumors while leaving your uterus intact. There’s a risk that the tumors could come back.
  • Vaginal pessary. This is an object inserted into the vagina to hold the uterus in place. It may be used as a temporary or permanent form of treatment. Vaginal pessaries come in many shapes and sizes, and they must be fitted for each woman individually.