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So many questions So many questions

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Unread 04-21-2003, 12:17 PM
So many questions

I am going crazy trying to get used to the idea that I have to have a hysterectomy, and am trying very hard to make all the right decisions. I am 53 years old, still having regular periods, but have multiple fibroids. For the past 13 years, the fibroids have given me very heavy periods which have resulted in anemia on more occasions than I can even remember. I could live with the heavy periods, iron pills, and stock in tampons and pads. In March, though, I had a 32 day period, of which probably 26 or 27 days were a hemorrhage-like. After 2 different attempts at hormone pills to stop the bleeding, a D & C, it finally stopped on its own about a week after the D & C. My gynecologist, who's been telling me for 2 years that I need a hysterectomy, finally said if I start bleeding again, he will not be able to stop it without an emergency hysterectomy (no pathology problems, but he feels the fibroids are bleeding). I'm on restricted activity until surgery, which is scheduled for May 19.

He already told me it would be abdominal surgery. He wants to do a TAH-BSO. I'm debating, though, whether I want him to remove my ovaries. At my age, should I keep them or not? Obviously they are producing some hormones since I'm still having regular periods. And by keeping them, could I avoid hormone replacement altogether? Or is this a stupid idea since I will probably be going through menopause at any moment anyway?

Should I keep my cervix, or if I don't am I risking vaginal prolapse at some time in the future, or will my sexual experiences be less than "exciting" without the cervix? Lots of questions to ask my doctor (a male), but I'd sure like some female perspective on this matter.

Other than the fibroids and bleeding problems, there does not seem to be any other reason my ovaries or cervix should be removed.

Also, what are your thoughts about hormone replacement after surgery?

I sure would love to hear from my new "hyster-sisters!"
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Unread 04-21-2003, 12:34 PM
The ovaries


I was just a bit younger than you, 48, last May when I had a TAH/BSO. My uterus was also full of fibroids, causing heavy bleeding and month-long symptoms. I received a referral to the surgeon because of a cyst on my right ovary, so the original plan was to take the uterus, including cervix as well as the right ovary and tube.

After reading on here and talking with everyone I could think of, I decided to discuss with the doctor taking both ovaries. He was very agreeable, saying it was up to me, but that after surgery, many time the ovaries retire and that once the uterus is out, the only thing ovaries know how to do is grow cancer. That was enough for me. I let them both go, started on Premarin the day after surgery and never looked back.

I have never had a hot flash or any other symptom of menopause. The Premarin was right for me.

I know every woman is different, as is each doctor, but that's what my experience was.

Keep reading and asking. Only you can make the decision.

Good luck.


P.S. No complaints about sex!! It's better than ever.
Unread 04-21-2003, 12:38 PM
So many questions

Interesting question on keeping ovaries, since your's still seem to be working fairly well at 53. A distant cousin of mine ,who's a doc told me that his observation of patients is that those who go into menopause naturally seem to need less hormonal replacement, but he may not have very many 53 year olds not yet menopausal to go by. I was 43 at the time of my surgery . (TAH; kept ovaries). I saw no point in keeping the cervix, although my PAPS had always been normal.

As far as the cervix, studies show sex to be the same with or without. I had have orgasms just as before. Sex has improved because the location of one of my fibroids caused a lot of pain during sex. I don't think you are more at risk for prolapse when the cervix is removed. Please be aware that a TAH INCLUDES the removal of the cervix. The cervix and the uterus are one organ, not two; some doctors feel it's easier to remove the uterus/cervix; others are more skilled in the removing the upper part of the uterus and leaving the lower part (cervix).
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Unread 04-21-2003, 04:45 PM
To keep, or not to keep...that is the question


I'm 49, having a TVH/BSO on May 14th. My surgeon said if I were 10 years younger, she would leave the ovaries, but since I'm not, they're going along with all the other gear, cervix included.

I must say, that it is a relief that I won't have to worry about cervical, uterine, or ovarian cancer, even though I have no family history of any of them.

Best wishes to you, no matter what you decide!

Peace of mind and a calm spirit to you,
Unread 04-21-2003, 05:49 PM
So many questions

I am 48, 10 days post op. from a TAH/BSO. My Doctor wanted to leave my ovaries, because it would throw me into menopause. I insisted that he remove them, because for the past three years I have been going through the night sweats, and the hotflashes , and the mood swings . If I had kept my ovaries it would have been more of a problem with any HRT. I am on Premarin, which at this point I'm not sure is working for me, but the hotflashes aren't any worse, and at least the mood swings are gone.
Also the way I looked at it....I have to take off from work for this long. If my ovaries fail that means another surgery, and more time off work.
Blessings to you !
Unread 04-21-2003, 06:24 PM
So many questions

Hi Lucy..and welcome!

I was 49 when I had my LAVH/BSO (everything removed) almost a year ago. I had mutiple fibroids and put up with heavy bleeding for far longer than I should have. What got my attention is when my doctor said to me "You do not want to go into hyst surgery on an emergency basis". I had wanted to ride it out and see if the bleeding would go away with menopause, but it was not to be. I have no regrets over electively choosing to have my surgery before it became life-threatening with uncontrollable hemorraghing.

The question to keep my ovaries was a tough one for me, as they do continue to trickle out hormones even after menopause. My decision to have them removed was based on my desire to not have to worry about ovarian cancer in the future....and i felt I could better control my hormonal activity with ovaries being gone and supplementing with HRT (I'm doing very well on Vivelle Dot), I was already in peri-menopause. And, as it turned out, when my doc saw my ovaries at the time of surgery there were (undiagnosed) cysts on both ovaries, so my Dr. felt it was a good decision to remove them.

As far as the cervix issue: I did not have a choice in that matter because I had a past history of pre-cancerous cervical cells. Studies regarding cervix removal/orgasms is a gray area IMO. From what I've read on this board it's about 50/50 if orgasm is affected without a cervix. For me, orgasm was affected--still pleasurable, but not as intense as they were pre-hyst. We are all individual and different, some women notice no change at all, and others do.

As you prepare for your surgery, please be sure to read the valuable information in the pre-op/post-op hints.

Pre-Op Hysterectomy Page

Post-Op Hysterectomy Page

Keep posting any questions that come up for you and best wishes to you!

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