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GYN Surgery Knowledge Gap Hampers Women’s Decisions

Get the Facts GYN surgery

More Than 1.6 Million Women in the United States Need GYN Surgery Annually, But Few Know What’s At Stake

A recent national survey commissioned by The Center for Innovative GYN Care revealed that more than half of women in the U.S. are unclear about GYN conditions and surgical procedures. Read more in the press release.

Highlights from the survey

Many Women Don’t Know What Happens With Their Bodies

Up to 80 percent of women will have fibroids by age 50, and over 5 million women suffer from endometriosis, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Understanding how these conditions affect overall health is essential for women making decisions about treatment. The 2015 study served to clarify knowledge gaps women have about gynecological conditions and surgical treatment.

Among the findings:

  • Sixty (60) percent of those polled do not know that ovaries are responsible for the hormone production that affects fertility and ultimately menopause.
    • This is important to understand when speaking with a surgeon about hysterectomy procedures, or in discussing hormone therapy.
  • Sixty-eight (68) percent have misperceptions about fibroids and cancer. One in four women (25 percent) believe fibroids are cancerous while another 43 percent say they are not sure if there is a cancer link.
  • More than half of women (54 percent) do not know or incorrectly believe that fibroids will go away with menopause. As a result, they may put off treatment when menopause may not cause the fibroids to shrink.
  • Six in ten women of childbearing age (62 percent) either do not know, or dispute the fact, that fibroids are a cause of infertility – a condition that can be treated while preserving the uterus.

Fear of Invasive GYN Surgery & Knowledge Gap of New Options Hamper Women’s Decisions

Over 500,000 hysterectomies will be performed this year. Women today do not need to have their mother’s hysterectomy, and hysterectomy is not the only surgical option for women with GYN conditions.

The study showed that women expect significant body or lifestyle changes with GYN surgery that could delay necessary treatment.

  • Seven in ten women (69 percent) incorrectly believed or were unsure about what a hysterectomy involved.
    • When asked if a hysterectomy removes the uterus, cervix and ovaries, only 31 percent of women knew that this surgery only removes the uterus and cervix, and does not induce menopause.
    • Many women believe that a hysterectomy involves removing the ovaries. This procedure is called an oophorectomy. Unless the ovaries are removed, menopause will not begin early.
  • 59 percent of women worry sex will be less enjoyable after a hysterectomy. However, studies find no effect on arousal or sensation to a woman or her partner.
  • 76 percent of college educated women believe they will need to take 6-8 weeks off of work for a hysterectomy.

It is essential for women to be able to make the best decisions about their bodies and health. Many GYN conditions are common, and misinformation can create confusion and lead women to choose invasive surgical procedures that are unnecessary.

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