Nothing is more personal, or permanent, than the decision to have a hysterectomy. It's also alarmingly the second most common procedure performed on women of childbearing age, the first being Cesarian sections. By the age of 60, 1/3 of American women have had a hysterectomy.
There are different types of hysterectomies:
Supracervical Hysterectomy: part of the uterus is removed, typically leaving the cervix.
Total Hysterectomy: the entire uterus + cervix are removed.
Radical Hysterectomy: the entire uterus + surrounding uterine tissue is removed + cervix + top portion of the vagina are removed.
Oophorectomy: this can be a uni-lateral or bi-lateral removal of the ovaries (one or both). A hysterectomy does not indicate removal of the ovaries. Please understand that the ovaries are separate structures from the vagina, cervix, & uterus.
I share this information because hysterectomies are performed for non-lifethreatening reasons such as uterine fibroids, pelvic pain, cysts, endometriosis, "abnormal" uterine bleeding, & uterine prolapse. Sometimes ovaries are also removed with hysterectomies, whether a patient understands the reasons for this procedure or not. This information is not meant to frighten, but rather educate. Any of these procedures may be called for, or you may choose them with your eyes wide open. I just want this choice to be made from an educated place. Understanding how your body works is NOT reserved for medical professionals. Especially in the age of the Internet, we have endless resources at our fingertips. Know that you can almost ALWAYS step away to consider your options. You can ALWAYS seek a second, third, or fourth opinion. You are NOT at the mercy of anyone else's opinion.
Recently I came across the HERS Foundation: http://www.hersfoundation.org
I cannot recommend this resource enough! If your physician is talking hysterectomy, educate yourself! They also have counselors who can provide you with support & a wealth of information. If you are pregnant or attempting to get pregnant, I urge you to learn more about this procedure, as women are often persuaded into hysterectomies & oophorectomies when they are post-natal, & not always in the best state of mind to make these decisions. Plan ahead!
Without a doubt, there may be times when a hysterectomy is called for. But know that there are other, less invasion options to work with female health issues, namely acupuncture & herbal medicine. Removal of your organs is permanent! For further edification, I'd also recommend "Down There: Sexual and Reproductive Health."
To talk about this further in depth, or for personalized treatment, please schedule your appointment today. Here's to your health! - Holly Christiansen, Licensed Acupuncturist at Bluegrass Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine in Lexington, Kentucky.
The content provided is for information purposes only and is in no way intended to be a substitute for medical consultation with a qualified professional. We encourage Internet users to be careful when using medical information. If you are unsure about your medical condition, consult your own health practitioner. We cannot guarantee nor take responsibility for the medical accuracy of documents published on this site, nor can we assume any liability for the content of Web sites linked to and from our site.
About the Author:
Holly Christiansen, Licensed Acupuncturist, currently practicing in the gorgeous, horse capital of the world: Lexington, Kentucky.