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Are Hysterectomies Always the Only Option?

Hysterectomies have become a common occurrence in mainstream medicine, a procedure that happens all over the world, countless times a day. Contrary to what you may have been told, however, not all hysterectomies are even necessary. Most of them are used to remove a fibroid uterus, but even in cases of women who have these benign tumors, a hysterectomy is not always the best option. In fact, uterine fibroids often need no treatment at all unless the pelvic pain and heavy bleeding that are sometimes associated with the condition become too severe.

Removing the Issue

So what is a hysterectomy, then; and why is it a procedure that seems to be so common to women’s healthcare? Hysterectomies are the removal of the uterus, and two forms of this surgery exist partial hysterectomy and total hysterectomy. Partial hysterectomy refers to the removal of the uterus alone, while a total hysterectomy removes both the cervix as well as the uterus. One of the reasons that they’re so quickly presented as an option is simple: money. Hysterectomies are a great source of revenue for many hospitals and physicians, so they become that much more attractive when a patient is diagnosed with uterine fibroids. Still, there are other options that need to be explored, including hormonal therapy or fibroid embolization, which is a non-surgical procedure that cuts off the blood supply feeding the tumors. Both treatment methods have proven to be extremely effective and often negate the need for hysterectomies.

Times of Necessity

There are, of course, certainly reasons that a hysterectomy is completely necessary. For treatment of cervical cancer, radical hysterectomy will be performed to remove the uterus, the cervix, the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, nearby tissue, and the surrounding ligaments which hold the uterus in place. Additional reasons for a hysterectomy include endometriosis, chronic pelvic pain, extreme cases of vaginal bleeding, and uterine prolapse.

The most common hysterectomy risk is the development of blood clots and complications including damage to areas of the pelvis such as the bladder, the urinary tract, and the rectum. Hysterectomy recovery can be as short as two weeks in some cases, and most women are released from the hospital the same day or on the day following their surgery. Heavy lifting should be avoided during recovery, and sexual activity will need to cease for a period of six to eight weeks.

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