What Are the Benefits of Having a Hysterectomy?
Hysterectomy specialists at The Center for Innovative GYN Care can help you determine whether a hysterectomy is right for you.
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ON THIS PAGE:
- Permanent Symptom Relief with Hysterectomy
- Hysterectomy for Treatment and Prevention of Cancer
- Gender Affirmation
- What Are the Risks of Hysterectomy?
- Should I Be Worried About Having a Hysterectomy?
- Recovery Time for a Hysterectomy
- Why CIGC?
Hysterectomy, a procedure to remove the uterus and sometimes other reproductive organs, ranks among the 10 most frequently performed surgeries in the United States each year. Behind that number are countless stories from women who were eager to have their hysterectomy as well as those for whom the loss of their uterus was both unwanted and unavoidable.
If you suffer from severe conditions such as fibroids, endometriosis and pelvic pain and are looking to preserve your fertility a hysterectomy is not an appropriate option. But for many others, this GYN procedure can have considerable benefits.
Permanent Symptom Relief with Hysterectomy
Hysterectomy is the only treatment to permanently eliminate several conditions whose symptoms can have a big impact on quality of life. The surgery frees women not just from the discomfort from their GYN condition but also from costly and inconvenient medical and surgical treatments they may have pursued to temporarily manage their condition.
- Fibroids. For many women, these benign tumors on or in the uterus can cause abnormal bleeding, pelvic pain, frequent urination, bloating, painful intercourse and more.
- Adenomyosis, a condition in which endometrial cells from the lining of the uterus grow inside the uterine muscle and cause heavy bleeding and severe pain every month.
- Endometrial hyperplasia. Another cause of abnormal bleeding, this condition commonly results when hormone levels change during perimenopause and cause the uterine lining to bulk up.
- Uterine prolapse, a collapsing of the uterus into or outside of the vagina. This can occur when weakened pelvic floor muscles and ligaments can no longer hold the uterus firmly in place. Self-care measures such as Kegel exercises and vaginal pessaries, or surgically repairing the pelvic floor, can help for a time. But when the condition is severe enough to cause discomfort and distress, hysterectomy may be a viable option.
Contrary to the popular misconception, a hysterectomy does not cure endometriosis. While removing the uterus and other reproductive organs can offer significant pain relief, it’s still possible for stray endometrial cells to attach to places such as the bowels and grow. This new tissue can cause bleeding, pelvic pain and other symptoms that may mirror a woman’s original experience with the condition. (If the ovaries are not removed, the chance that symptoms will return is six times higher than if they are removed.) For this reason, women who treat severe endometriosis with hysterectomy should be aware that additional treatment may eventually be needed.
The Unexpected Benefit?
There is another positive effect that may show up post-hysterectomy: In numerous studies, many women report that with their GYN symptoms gone their sex life has become more enjoyable.
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Hysterectomy for Treatment and Prevention of Cancer
Ten percent of women have a hysterectomy to treat uterine/endometrial, cervical or ovarian cancer. Often, if the cancer is detected early enough, the hysterectomy — possibly coupled with follow-up treatment such as radiation or chemotherapy — can be lifesaving.
Even when cancer isn’t present, hysterectomy can head off potential disease and provide peace of mind:
- Two forms of endometrial hyperplasia, atypical and complex atypical, can increase the risk of cancer.
- Prophylactic hysterectomy, in which a healthy uterus and/or healthy ovaries and fallopian tubes are removed, can guard against cancer in women with a family history of GYN cancer. However, this precautionary approach has its own risks and requires testing and in-depth consultation with a GYN specialist.
It’s important to note that while women who have their cervix removed are freed up from yearly Pap smears, those who had supracervical hysterectomies and retained this portion of their uterus will need to continue monitoring for cervical cancer.
Gender Affirming Surgery
Removing the reproductive organs and ending menstruation via hysterectomy can be an important step for a female-to-male transsexual individual.
The 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey from the National Center for Transgender Equality found that 14% of female-to-male transgender people had undergone a hysterectomy, while 57% want the procedure someday.
CIGC surgical specialists use advanced surgical techniques for minimal pain and scarring and recovery in about a week.
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What Are the Risks of Hysterectomy?
Like all surgical procedures, hysterectomy carries the risk of some complications. There are more than 600,000 hysterectomies performed in the United States each year. The rate at which complications do occur varies according to the method used to perform the procedure.
- CIGC specialists use their trademarked method, DualPortGYN®, that combines several proven techniques. DualPortGYN uses just two quarter-inch incisions, bypasses the abdominal muscles when accessing the uterus and includes an advanced blood-control technique for unmatched outcomes, including the lowest complication rates and fastest recovery time in the medical community.
- Other methods of performing hysterectomy include standard laparoscopy, robotic-assisted laparoscopic and open abdominal surgery.
Possible risks during hysterectomy include:
- Excessive bleeding that may require converting laparoscopic procedures to more invasive open abdominal surgery.
- Injury to surrounding structures such as the bladder, bowel, ureters and vessels — an event that also increases the chances of conversion to open surgery. Other general risks that are possible with nearly all surgeries include blood clots, reaction to anesthesia and infection.
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Should I be worried about having a hysterectomy?
Having a hysterectomy, regardless of the reason, is a big decision. Being proactive up front can minimize any anxiety you may have about the procedure.
- Make sure a specialist is providing your treatment. A typical OBGYN spends the bulk of their time on obstetrics, not gynecological surgery. CIGC specialists are dedicated to performing complex GYN surgeries
- Understand your options. A good specialist will take the time to talk about what kind of hysterectomy would benefit you, what surgical methods are available and what you can expect for your recovery.
- Research outcomes for the different methods of surgery. CIGC’s DualPortGYN technique has been published in major medical journals and shown to have superior results over standard laparoscopic, robotic-assisted laparoscopic and open abdominal hysterectomy.
Potential Side Effects
The short-term side effects of hysterectomy are temporary, and not everyone will experience them. You may have some pain or general discomfort, which typically improves with each day. The incision site may be tender. Urination and bowel movements may take a few days to return to normal but walking and drinking plenty of water can help. Stomach swelling and vaginal spotting the first week after surgery are normal.
A major concern that premenopausal women have before undergoing hysterectomy is whether they will enter menopause. A basic hysterectomy, in which only the uterus (and possibly the cervix) is removed, will not induce surgical menopause since it is the ovaries that produce hormones.
If both ovaries are removed (called a bilateral oophorectomy), women may want to explore taking estrogen-only therapy. It will help menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, anxiety and depression. It will also help maintain optimal sexual function.
Recovery Time for a Hysterectomy
- Women whose hysterectomies are performed with CIGC’s DualPortGYN technique are out of surgery in about an hour and return home the same day. Recovery takes about a week.
- Standard laparoscopic hysterectomy takes two to three hours and often requires an overnight hospital stay. Recovery can take up to three weeks.
- Robotic-assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy also takes two to three hours, with a one- to two-day hospital stay and recovery of up to six weeks.
- Open abdominal hysterectomy can be completed in one to two hours but may require a three-day hospital stay. Recovery can take as long as eight weeks.
CIGC’s founders, minimally invasive GYN surgical specialists Paul MacKoul, M.D., and Natalya Danilyants, M.D., developed advanced, research-backed GYN surgical techniques that use only two small incisions for 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.
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CIGC is dedicated to helping women find relief from complex GYN conditions. The CIGC founders, minimally invasive GYN surgical specialists Paul MacKoul, MD, and Natalya Danilyants, MD, developed their advanced GYN surgical techniques using only two small incisions with patients’ well-being in mind.
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 striving to improve outcomes for patients.