Hysterectomy, or removal of the uterus, has ranked among the top surgical procedures for women for decades. But despite its frequent occurrence and high safety and success rates, some misconceptions continue to circulate. If you’re considering hysterectomy, make sure you know the facts about it so you can make an informed decision.
MYTH #1: Getting a hysterectomy will throw you into menopause.
FACT: A hysterectomy alone will not trigger menopause. Many women only need their uterus removed, and can keep their ovaries. In this case, you will go into menopause naturally at a later time. If you also get your ovaries removed (known as an oophorectomy), you will lose your body’s main source of estrogen and subsequently go into “surgical menopause,” which is menopause caused by removal of both ovaries.
MYTH #2: If I have heavy periods, my only option is hysterectomy.
FACT: Years ago, this was true. But thanks to advanced, minimally invasive procedures like uterine ablation, many women can keep their uterus and get effective treatment for heavy bleeding. In an ablation, the physician uses a tool to remove the uterine lining and help keep it from growing back. Most women will try less invasive options like ablation or even medication before a hysterectomy is considered.
MYTH #3: A hysterectomy is always major surgery.
FACT: Today’s surgical techniques allow many hysterectomies to be performed with smaller incisions and faster recovery time. They can be done laparoscopically or vaginally, and don’t include the week-long hospital stay that was involved 30 years ago. Many women can go home the same day and will complete their recovery at home within a couple of weeks. In certain cases, if a woman has adhesions or other complications, a classic abdominal incision may still be necessary — but less invasive options are explored first. Your gynecologic surgeon can discuss these options with you.
A hysterectomy can be a beneficial and necessary procedure for women with uterine fibroids, cancer, and endometriosis. Your gynecologist will talk with you about your individual case and why a hysterectomy may — or may not — be needed. The procedure should be considered when non-surgical methods of treating your condition haven’t been successful.
Some women feel emotional changes after a hysterectomy, like they’ve lost a part of themselves. If you are struggling with your feelings after a hysterectomy, there is help and support available. Online groups and websites offer a forum for women to talk with others who’ve been through it. Having a strong support system can help you cope with your feelings and work through them.
A hysterectomy should only be done in the best interest of the patient's health and well-being. If you and your physician decide to go forward, be confident in knowing its benefits will outweigh any drawbacks.
CarePoint Health Gynecology
With the help of a skilled gynecologist at CarePoint Health, you can make educated decisions about your health to be at your best at any stage of life. For more information about the comprehensive women’s services we provide, please contact us.
Content on our website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical treatment.