The Pros And Cons Of Hysterectomy

The Pros And Cons Of Hysterectomy

The uterus or the womb is the childbearing organ of a woman’s body. The surgical removal of the uterus is called hysterectomy and it may be partial or total, depending on whether or not, the removal of cervix (birth canal), ovaries, and fallopian tube accompany it. The surgical removal of one or both ovaries is termed as oophorectomy. Although removal of uterus has become a common occurrence today, it is widely perceived that more hysterectomies are performed than are actually required.

Reasons For Surgery

Hysterectomy is performed for a variety of reasons. Some of the common ones include heavy or irregular menstrual bleeding; dysmenorrhoea (severe pain accompanying menstruation); fibroids, gynecological cancer, endometriosis (movement of cells from the uterus lining to other parts of the body); inflammatory disease of pelvic by bacterial infection; or prolapse (collapse of the uterus due to loose ligaments or damage to the pelvic muscles). Although, these are generally considered, before performing a hysterectomy, they cannot be taken as a yardstick for surgical intervention. The final decision rests heavily, on the severity of the condition or disease as well as other intrinsic factors.

To Do Or Not To Do

Hysterectomy has both; advantages and disadvantages. This means that, there may be cases when an alternate treatment method can be considered and there may be cases when hysterectomy may be the best alternative. Although developments in medical care have simplified the surgical procedure and shortened recovery time for a hysterectomy, it is still a major operation. The risk factors associated with it are almost the same, as for any major surgery.

Ideally, a hysterectomy should be considered as a last resort, only when all other options have failed. Many patients who have crossed the childbearing age feel that hysterectomy is a logical option. This is not true, as the uterus has several other important functions, besides serving as a receptacle for the growing fetus. Some of the functions are listed:

Hormonal Imbalance

The uterus and ovaries play a major role in maintaining the female hormone system. If the ovaries are removed, then ovulation ceases and this would lead to lowered levels of estrogen and progesterone and consequently, to premature menopausal symptoms like vaginal dryness, hot flushes, and other symptoms associated with natural menopause. In such cases, patients are put through hormone replacement therapy (HRT) – also known as hormone therapy (HT) – to maintain their hormone levels.

Psychological Implications

It has been observed that the uterus, whether or not in the child-bearing stage, attributes to feelings of ‘completeness’ or ‘feminity’ and does have some kind of influence on the psyche and self-image of a women. Although some women relate hysterectomy to a loss in sexuality, it is not completely true, since sexuality is more about the way a woman looks, feels or relates to others. But then again, the way women cope with the stress of hysterectomy depends largely on the individual.

Effect Of Hysterectomy On Sexual Function

There are no conclusive studies on loss of sexuality after hysterectomy. Report suggests that, there are as many women who encounter sexual dysfunction, as there are those who find no change in sexual function, after a hysterectomy. Interestingly, there are a significant number of women who claim that, their enjoyment has increased after a hysterectomy. These perhaps point to the fact that the most decisive in postoperative sexuality was preoperative sexual activity.

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HealthStatus has been operating since 1998 providing the best interactive health tools on the Internet, millions of visitors have used our blood alcohol, body fat and calories burned calculators. The HealthStatus editorial team has continued that commitment to excellence by providing our visitors with easy to understand high quality health content for many years. Our team of health professionals, and researchers use peer reviewed studies as source elements in our articles. Our high quality content has been featured in a number of leading websites, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, Live Strong, GQ, and many more.

11 Comments

  1. Michelle Reply

    First, please learn the proper uses of commas and semicolons.

    Second, you claimed that there are several important functions of the uterus other than child-bearing. That claim was on the first page of the article. Instead of finding actual evidence to support this claim, I found three statements that do NOT support your claim.

    You first state that removal of the OVARIES impacts a woman’s hormones; this is true. However, it has nothing to do with the uterus. Do you have evidence that hysterectomy WITHOUT oophorectomy directly impacts hormone balance? If so, then please state that directly. Otherwise, your statement does nothing to indicate an additional health value of the uterus itself.

    You then indicate that psychological well-being is a function of the uterus. NO, that’s a function of a woman’s self-image. I’m sorry that society has wrapped up womens’ self-worth in her ability to serve as a fetal incubator, but that’s not a medical. physiological function of the uterus.

    And indeed, you are correct that there are no conclusive studies on whether hysterectomy decreases or increases sexual pleasure. Yes, indeed, many women I know who suffered pain with sex BEFORE the hysterectomy, they had significantly improved sexual pleasure after the procedure (given proper healing time, of course). In fact, some had NO sex drive before the procedure because of pain associated with intercourse. After the hysterectomy, the pain was gone, and they could enjoy sex again.

    So… do you have any real evidence that the uterus serves any purpose other than baby-making? I’m still looking for a reason.

  2. D White Reply

    Oops! Looks like the list of uterus functions got left out. Functions of the uterus: Nourishes a growing fetus by secreting hormones and proteins; Is a powerful muscle that assists in the birth of a child (uterine contractions); Produces monthly menstrual flow in response to hormonal changes from the ovaries; Supports the bladder and the bowel, keeping them in their natural positions; Is a strong muscle that produces contractions during orgasm; Uterine ligaments attach to many internal organs that help maintain structural integrity to the pelvic bones and organs.

    I too have known women who had to have hysterectomies and it was a blessing because of the medical conditions they were suffering. Although somewhat antiquated, I have known women who suffer psychologically because of their inability to have more children after a hysterectomy and we shouldnt make light of their pain. Careful thought must be given to removing a body part that is so interconnected with other organs even if you do no longer desire children.

    1. Yve

      I agree that we should seriously consider removing body parts unless it’s necessary!!! The medical profession is getting rich on taking everything out especially on a woman’s body. I have two sisters who had hysterectomies and they both fell apart physically shortly after. I say, hold on to your body parts, God put them there for a reason and personally I feel its for more than for having babies, although babies are beautiful at any age. Get more than one opinion please. Make sure its your choice not your doctors choice.

    1. Mamma Matlaila

      I am very grateful for your advice. I am having a problem of heavy periods because of fibroids and my doctor advised me to remove the womb which I disagree. I would like to try other options before considering the removal of the womb.

  3. betsi Reply

    OMG This article and the subsequent comments have helped to confirm to me that the hysterectomy that my doctor suggested due to my fibroids is a no no.

  4. Marlene Reply

    I too was told to have a hysterectomy due to an excessive thick lining in my uterus that requires me to take minimum 3 days off work every month since flow is so heavy nothing can contain it. How embarrassing! Try explaining that to your male boss when he complains as well as co-workers when they on short notice have to fill in for you and demand to know why…..since my time is unpredictable it’s hard to guess when to request time off in advance. So now I have reduced hours because im not reliable!! Only have 1 ovary left and tubes were tied many years ago. Also have ovarian cysts. Should I just remove it all?

    1. Michelle

      Try Depends underwear. They are made for lots of liquid and preventing leaks. Who cares if its marketed to older folk. If it gets you more hours and not having to explain yourself, all the better. They make them prettier now and no one can see it under your clothing.

  5. Shadey Reply

    I am 28 and I have the Essure (permanent tube birth control). I have suspicion that the implant has migrated although all test show the implant is in the same spot it was placed. my ObGyn is insisting on my having a hysterectomy (since me and my husband no longer want anymore children). I have agreed and my surgery is in 2 weeks. OMG after reading this article, I am having second thoughts. Gosh I don’t know what to do. I should leave my parts alone. I am considering cancelling my surgery!!!

  6. Mendy Reply

    Results of my biopsy came all clear. No cancer or pre-cancer cells. Very thankful. Now I have the time to think about my options.

  7. Lisa Reply

    Has anyone had the Acessa procedure? I had an appointment today and I am strongly considering it, although costly and out of pocket. Just looking to relate to someone who has had the procedure vs. a hysterectomy?

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