Hysterectomy: A Surgical Procedure For Uterus Removal

Hysterectomy refers to a surgical procedure for removing a woman’s uterus. The uterus also called the womb, is where a baby develops when a woman is pregnant. The uterus lining is the source of menstrual blood.

You may require a hysterectomy for several reasons. It may be performed to treat many chronic pain conditions as well as certain types of infections and even cancer.

Hysterectomy is done in various ways depending on the reason for the surgery. In the majority of cases, the complete uterus is removed. The surgeon can also remove the ovaries and the fallopian tubes during the procedure if required. The ovaries are the organs that make estrogen and other hormones. The fallopian tubes are the structures that carry the egg from the ovary to the uterus.

A woman stops having menstrual cycles and cannot become pregnant after having a hysterectomy.

Why Is Hysterectomy Done?

There are many reasons or health conditions where hysterectomy becomes essential, including:

  • uncontrollable vaginal bleeding
  • fibroids, which are benign tumors that develop in the uterus
  • endometriosis, which is a medical condition in which the inner lining of the uterus develops outside of the uterine cavity, resulting in pain and bleeding
  • chronic pelvic pain
  • uterine prolapse, which happens when the uterus drops through the cervix and extends from the vagina
  • adenomyosis, which is a condition in which the inner lining of the uterus develops into the muscles of the uterus
  • cancer of the uterus, cervix, or ovaries
  • pelvic inflammatory disease, which is a severe infection of the reproductive organs

Are There Any Alternatives To Hysterectomy?

Research says that hysterectomy is the second most common surgical procedure performed on women in the United States. It is believed to be a safe, low-risk surgery.

However, is it the best alternative for every woman? Perhaps not! In fact, it can be the worst option for some women. Women who still wish to have children are advised not to consider this surgery unless no other treatment alternatives are possible.

Fortunately, several conditions that can be treated with a hysterectomy can also be treated in other ways. For example, hormone therapy may be used to treat endometriosis. Fibroids can be treated with various other types of surgery that remove the uterus. In some cases, however, a hysterectomy is undoubtedly the best choice. It’s often the only alternative for treating uterine or cervical cancer.

Discuss your options with your doctor and determine the best treatment alternative for your specific condition.

What Are The Types Of Hysterectomy?

There are three main types of hysterectomy:

  • Partial Hysterectomy: During a partial hysterectomy, the doctor removes only a part of your uterus. They might leave your cervix intact.
  • Total Hysterectomy: During a total hysterectomy, the doctor removes the complete uterus, including the cervix. You will no longer be required to have an annual Pap test if your cervix is removed. However, you should continue to have routine pelvic examinations.
  • Hysterectomy and Salpingo-Oophorectomy: During a hysterectomy and salpingo-oophorectomy, the doctor will remove the uterus along with either one or both of your ovaries and fallopian tubes. You might require hormone replacement therapy if both of your ovaries are removed.

Also Read: Anorgasmia: The Female Orgasmic Disorder

How Is A Hysterectomy Performed?

Hysterectomy can be performed in various ways. All types of hysterectomy need general anesthesia or local anesthesia.

  • General anesthesia will keep you asleep throughout the procedure so that you don’t experience any pain.
  • Local anesthesia will numb your body below the waistline, but you will be awake throughout the entire procedure. This sort of anesthesia can sometimes be provided along with a sedative, which will help you feel relaxed and sleepy during the procedure.

Hysterectomy can be performed in the following ways:

Abdominal Hysterectomy

In this procedure, your doctor will remove your uterus through a large incision in your abdomen. The cut may be horizontal or vertical. Both types of cuts tend to heal well, not leaving much scarring.

Vaginal Hysterectomy

In this procedure, your uterus is removed through a small cut made within the vagina. There are no external incisions, so there won’t be any evident scars.

Laparoscopic Hysterectomy

During a laparoscopic hysterectomy, the doctor will use a tiny instrument known as a laparoscope. A laparoscope is a thin, long tube that has a high-intensity light and a high-resolution camera attached to the front. The device is inserted through cuts in the abdomen. 3 – 4 small incisions are made rather than one large cut. Once the surgeon can view your uterus, they will cut the uterus into small pieces and remove them one by one.

Are There Any Risks?

Hysterectomy is considered to be a safe procedure. However, it has certain risks associated with it. Some people may develop a serious allergic response to the anesthetic. There is also a risk of infection and heavy bleeding around the incision site. You may also have injuries to adjacent tissues or organs, including blood vessels, bladder, or intestines.

In most cases, these complications don’t occur. However, if it occurs, you may require another surgery to correct it.

Recovering From A Hysterectomy

Your hospital stay will be for about 2 – 5 days. The doctor will prescribe you some pain relievers and check your vital signs, including your breathing and heart rate. You will also be advised to walk through the hospital as soon as possible. It will help keep blood clots from developing in the lungs.

If you’ve undergone a vaginal hysterectomy, your vagina will be packed with gauze to check the bleeding. The doctors will take out the gauze within a couple of days after the surgery. However, you can experience bloody or brownish drainage from your vagina for nearly ten days. Use a menstrual napkin to keep your clothing from getting stained.

When you come back home from the hospital, it’s essential to continue walking. You may walk around inside your house or in your neighborhood. However, you should avoid performing some activities during recovery, including:

  • lifting heavy items
  • pushing and pulling objects, for example, a vacuum cleaner
  • sexual intercourse
  • bending

If you’ve had a laparoscopic or vaginal hysterectomy, you will most likely be able to return to most of your everyday tasks within 3 – 4 weeks. You may take more time to recover if you’ve had an abdominal hysterectomy. You will be recovered completely in nearly 4 – 6 weeks.

Photo of author

Natasha Patel

Natasha Patel is the senior writer for the women’s health edition at CheapMedicineShop.com. She worked as a primary care provider before joining the writer’s panel of the blog. She is also trained in routine obstetrics and continues to practice in Oklahoma, where she lives with her family.