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5 Reasons Not to Have a Hysterectomy

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Over 500,000 hysterectomies are performed each year in the United States and there are many women who could benefit from alternative treatment options instead. While there are some compelling reasons to have a hysterectomy, there are also reasons not to have a hysterectomy.

A hysterectomy is a major surgery which can impact you from head to toe–positively in some cases, negatively in others. Though the surgery is successful for most women, some end up regretting the surgery with every fiber of their being as the complications and ensuing new health issues are worse than what lead them to have their hysterectomy. It is very important that you weigh the pros and cons and are 100% sure that a hysterectomy is the best option for you and your situation.

Here are 5 reasons for which a hysterectomy is NOT advisable.

5 Reasons Not to Have a Hysterectomy

1. Birth control

Although a hysterectomy does provide permanent birth control, a hysterectomy is not a reasonable birth control option. A hysterectomy is a major surgery involving the removal of an organ, so the risks are far too significant compared to the birth control benefits. Rather than risk the possible hysterectomy complications and side effects which could negatively impact you for the rest of your life, there are multiple birth control options which are far less invasive and risky that you should consider. Choices could include pills, patches, shots, IUD's, Essure, tubal ligation, and more. Talk to your doctor about your needs so the two of you can work together to find the best solution for you.

2. Eliminate periods

Though having a monthly period can be a nuisance, you should not have a hysterectomy to eliminate the normal bleeding aspect of periods. The possible hysterectomy side effects and complications are far too great to use a hysterectomy as a means to end normal monthly bleeding. If bleeding is an issue for you, there are a wide variety of other options which can minimize or eliminate it. These can include continuous birth control pills, certain shots, an endometrial ablation, some IUD's, and more. To determine which choice is right for you, you and your doctor can discuss how your life is being impacted by your periods and why you want to eliminate them.

3. Manage PMS, PMDD, or Menopause

Because the majority or all of PMS, PMDD, and menopause symptoms are related to hormones produced by the ovaries, removing the uterus is not a solution for managing these conditions. Rather than having a hysterectomy, it can be better to work with a knowledgeable physician who understands the hormonal changes and imbalances which can cause PMS, PMDD, or menopause symptoms. Regulating your hormones may be what is needed to eliminate the symptoms you are experiencing. This can be done using a wide variety of hormonal medications in pill, patch, shot, or IUD form. Some vitamins, supplements, and antidepressants may also be helpful in some cases. Before talking to your doctor, it can be helpful to keep a symptom diary. You can then show your physician what you are dealing with so s/he can help you find an acceptable solution for you.

4. Asymptomatic fibroids

Fibroids which do not cause symptoms may not require any medical treatment, and rarely do these types of fibroids require a hysterectomy. There are multiple treatment options besides a hysterectomy which you can consider if you have a problematic fibroid. Besides non-surgical fibroid treatments, there are also outpatient options such as MRgFUS, uterine artery embolization (UAE/UFE), Acessa, and more. Besides talking to your gynecologist, a consultation with an interventional radiologist who performs fibroid treatments may be helpful. You can then determine if a wait and see approach for your fibroid is best, or if you need to consider choosing another fibroid treatment.

5. Minor prolapse, bladder, or bowel issues

The concerns involved with minor prolapse, bladder or bowel issues typically do not warrant a hysterectomy. Instead, there are many options for managing these issues without removing the uterus. Minor pelvic organ prolapse can be treated with pessaries, kegels, losing weight, and avoiding lifting. Strengthening pelvic muscles, bladder training, certain medications, and lifestyle adjustments can help with minor bladder and bowel issues. Working with a knowledgeable urogynecologist and/or pelvic floor physical therapist may also allow you to treat your symptoms without a hysterectomy.

Always Get a Second Opinion

If there is not a cancer or life-threatening diagnosis, taking the time to try less invasive options can be beneficial for your overall health situation. It is also wise to seek a second opinion about what is best for you. Besides a hysterectomy, there are a wide variety of options and alternatives which can be appropriate for your situation and diagnosis, and many of these options come with fewer risks than a hysterectomy.

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HysterSisters, a woman-owned, "social advocacy" health education company dedicated to medical and emotional issues surrounding the hysterectomy experience and gynecologic-related conditions and illnesses, supports women from diagnosis to treatment and through recovery. Since 1998, HysterSisters has provided personalized support, dispersed educational materials, and conducted research--all at no cost to the women who visit our website. For Hysterectomy Information and Support, visit HysterSisters.com.

09-06-2014 - 07:28 AM


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