Why Do Doctors Recommend Hysterectomy?
If pelvic pain, heavy or abnormal bleeding or other symptoms of an underlying GYN condition are interfering with your quality of life, a hysterectomy might be the ideal solution. This surgery to remove the uterus helps about 600,000 women each year gain freedom from GYN-related worries and stress.
For many conditions, however, a hysterectomy is not the only treatment worth considering. So why do doctors recommend hysterectomy, and what factors may be informing their advice?
ON THIS PAGE:
- Your Relationship to Fertility and Menopause
- The Effect on Your Quality of Life
- A Cancer Diagnosis
- Can I Have a Hysterectomy by Choice?
- You Deserve CIGC’s DualPortGYN Hysterectomy
Your Relationship to Fertility and Menopause
Because hysterectomy removes the uterus, your doctor may frame hysterectomy as the procedure of last resort to treat GYN complications if you are still capable of and desire fertility.
For those patients with uterine fibroids interested in maintaining their fertility, you can likely preserve your uterus with an advanced myomectomy performed with the LAAM technique. LAAM stands for Laparoscopically Assisted Abdominal Myomectomy, and it was developed by the specialists at CIGC. With LAAM, our surgeons can safely remove these non-cancerous tumors, both big and small, allowing patients fertility options not available with a hysterectomy.
Since fibroids can return, the only definitive treatment is a hysterectomy. If you have reached menopause or fertility is no longer a concern, you may be offered a hysterectomy to permanently treat your fibroid symptoms.
Adenomyosis treatment can also be influenced by fertility desires. With adenomyosis, endometrial tissue that lines the uterus implants and grows in the uterine muscle. Possible symptoms range from pelvic pain and painful intercourse to heavy menstrual bleeding and leg clots. Eventually, the uterus can double or triple in size because of this extra tissue.
Taking hormones may help you manage the condition until you are ready for the permanent relief that a hysterectomy offers.
If you are considering having a hysterectomy, the GYN specialists at The Center for Innovative GYN Care can help you weigh your surgical and nonsurgical options. Talk to a patient advocate today about meeting with one of our experts.
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The Effect on Your Quality of Life
What qualifies a woman for a hysterectomy? According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists1, four GYN conditions with a serious impact on quality of life are the most frequent reasons for having a hysterectomy in the United States.
- Uterine fibroids are involved in just over 50% of hysterectomy decisions. Fibroids can cause menstrual bleeding that lasts more than a week, pelvic pressure or pain, bladder and bowel issues and backache.
- Uterine prolapse, in which the uterus slips into or even outside of the vagina, is involved in about 18% of hysterectomies. A woman may not notice mild prolapse, but for severe cases a hysterectomy resolves the issue.
- Abnormal uterine bleeding factors into nearly 42% of hysterectomies. It can be severe enough that some women must curtail their normal activities.
- Endometriosis is behind 30% of hysterectomies. With this disease, tissue from the lining of the uterus grows outside of that organ and may attach to the bowels, ureter and even places outside of the pelvic cavity. One of its primary symptoms is debilitating pain. Doctors who recommend hysterectomy should explain that endometrial tissue can grow back and affect other areas of the pelvis.
Note that the above percentages add up to more than 100%, which reflects some overlapping of causes.
A Cancer Diagnosis
Roughly 10% of hysterectomies are performed for cancer-related reasons.
Cancer can develop in the uterus, cervix, ovaries or endometrium (the lining of the uterus). Depending on your individual circumstances, your doctor may recommend a radical hysterectomy. In this procedure, the uterus, cervix, ovaries and fallopian tubes are removed along with most of the tissue around the cervix, the top part of the vagina and sometimes the pelvic lymph nodes.
A cancer (or precancer) diagnosis does not necessarily mean hysterectomy is unavoidable. Radiation and chemotherapy may be appropriate treatments. Nor is a radical hysterectomy the only kind of hysterectomy your doctor might advise.
Can I Have a Hysterectomy by Choice?
Generally, the standard for approving a hysterectomy is if the procedure is medically necessary.
Due to physical and emotional risks, and the fact that the procedure is not reversible, doctors are usually hesitant to perform a hysterectomy on a healthy woman who is younger than 35 and still capable of fertility2. With your counsel, they should weigh whether the procedure is necessary for your well-being and whether there are other treatment options that will suffice.
Some additional reasons behind choosing a hysterectomy include:
- Affirming gender identity. Having the uterus removed and ceasing menstrual periods can help some members of the LGBTQ+ community feel more in line with how they identify their gender or sex.
- Preventing cancer. Some women opt to have a hysterectomy to reduce their risk of developing cancer. They may be motivated by a strong family history of reproductive cancer or a positive test for the BRCA gene, which may elevate their risk for ovarian and breast cancers.
GYN surgical specialists at The Center for Innovative GYN Care provide world-class hysterectomy care. Talk with a patient advocate today.
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You Deserve CIGC’s DualPortGYN Hysterectomy
Removal of the uterus takes many different forms. Open procedures to remove the uterus are still common for moderately large or large uteri and require a large incision and long recovery of 8 weeks.
Laparoscopic surgery to remove the uterus include standard laparoscopy, robotic laparoscopy, and DualPortGYN procedures as performed by CIGC.
Specialists at The Center for Innovative GYN Care developed a hysterectomy technique called DualPortGYN that uses just two small incisions and allows for recovery in about a week.
DualPortGYN hysterectomy is faster, more affordable, safer and more efficient than standard laparoscopic, robotic-assisted laparoscopic and open abdominal hysterectomy. Because it requires a high degree of advanced training, our physicians are among the few surgeons nationally and internationally routinely using the DualPortGYN surgical approach.
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CIGC’s co-founders, minimally invasive GYN surgical specialists Natalya Danilyants, MD, and Paul MacKoul, MD, developed advanced GYN surgical techniques that use only two small incisions for minimal scarring and patients’ fast recovery.
Their personalized approach to care helps patients gain a better understanding of their condition and the recommended treatment so they can have confidence from the very start. Our surgeons have performed more than 25,000 GYN procedures and are constantly finding better ways to improve outcomes for patients.
1. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Committee on Gynecologic Practice (2017, June). Choosing the Route of Hysterectomy for Benign Disease. www.ACOG.org.
2. Seth, Shaniqua. (2016, Oct 13) At What Age Can I Get a Hysterectomy? National Women’s Health Network. https://nwhn.org/age-can-get-hysterectomy/.