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Hello from a Newbie/Hysterectomy Questions Hello from a Newbie/Hysterectomy Questions

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Unread 01-08-2004, 01:42 PM
Hello from a Newbie/Hysterectomy Questions

Dear Ladies:

Oh, I am so happy to have found you!! I am 43 years old, live in Salt Lake City, Utah, and had a cone biopsy done in August, 2002, because my pap smear came back with HSIL in July. This was after having had NORMAL pap smears my entire life. The cone biopsy showed inflammation, but no dysplasia.

I went in for my follow-up pap smear in December, and the results are LSIL (low-grade lesion). My doctor has said that my options are to either have a repeat pap smear in April, to see if this resolves itself, or to have a hysterectomy now and "just be done with it."

I have decided to take the conservative route and wait until April to see what's up then, but I have some questions -- lots of questions!! -- about a possible hysterectomy.

1. My dr. told me that the uterus does not produce any hormones, and because they would leave my ovaries, I would not go into menopause. Has anyone found this to be the case?

2. While being aware of the pg guidelines here, I will ask this as delicately as I can: Has anyone had a hysterectomy that takes the cervix as well? If so, did you notice any loss of sexual response?

3. Does anyone have any experience with doing what I am doing; i.e., waiting and seeing, with the undestanding that a hysterectomy might be necessary down the road?

THANK YOU all for your responses. This is a very tricky road to navigate. It's complicated by the fact that both of my half-sisters have had hysterectomies because of cervical cancer. I know that genetics has nothing to do with getting cervical cancer, but I can't help but wonder if it predicts a response to it? And of course, then there is the anxiety about making the right decision, etc.

Thanks again.
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Unread 01-08-2004, 02:39 PM
Hello from a Newbie/Hysterectomy Questions

I have CIN3 and was given the option for cone , LEEP or hysterectomy. I am 32, but done with certain areas in my life and opted for the hysterectomy due majorly to the fact that I don't have the time to play patty cake with cancer and I don't have the finances to be in and out of the drs office with all these different procedures, when the gyn/onc seems fairly sure that I will end up with a hysterectomy in a few years anyways. they are taking everything except the ovaries. no, if you keep your ovaries you should be fine. But as I told my Dr. if you take one ovary take them both cause getting your body to balance with one ovary and partial hormone therapy is another thing I don't have time for. The erogonous area's that affect orgasm are no where near the cervix/uterous and from what I have been told orgasm is usually better. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. Therefore it is strictly case by case, but most say its better, with hieghtened sensuality. Many here have had such pain/bleeding/trouble with sex anyways, having those troubles removed is very liberating. On whether its the right decision, there are many things that you need to consider before making the choice, for me this is best. There are certain things you will never be able to do. Would that bother you?
Unread 01-08-2004, 03:07 PM
Hello from a Newbie/Hysterectomy Questions

Thanks so much for your quick reply. Yes, I'm done with certain areas of my life, so that is not a concern. I appreciate your comments about playing peek-a-boo with cancer; that is the biggest concern of mine in not having this done.

Thanks again.
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Unread 01-08-2004, 05:50 PM
Hello from a Newbie/Hysterectomy Questions

Hi Donna-
I had my hyst 2 weeks after seeing my dr, so I cant't help you there!
As far as leaving your ovaries, sometimes they still work, and sometimes they don't. I don't have good statistics on this, the only study I have seen had a 60% success rate. Another thing that can happen is that your ovaries sort of go into shock, sometimes taking up to 9 months after surgery to get back online, so don't give up hope if your hormones seem out of whack at first.
As far as having no cervix--it's **** wierd, but for me, not having it hasn't altered my sensations at all.
Good luck on your path--hang in there!!!
Unread 01-08-2004, 07:46 PM
Hello from a Newbie/Hysterectomy Questions

I haven't had surgery, so perhaps I shouldn't be commenting, but I don't think that the cervix has anything to do with sexual satisfaction. There are no nerve endings in the cervix.

I had radiation and chemo to 'fry' my cervix and kill the cancer. My sexual response has not changed at all. I couldn't feel anything in my cervix before cancer and I still can't! But sex is still fun!

Unread 01-08-2004, 08:31 PM
Hello from a Newbie/Hysterectomy Questions

's Donna! Welcome to Cancer Concerns !

It's wonderful that you are taking the time to investigate your options. A hysterectomy is major surgery and it's important to do your homework before deciding on a course like this, when you are given the option.

Lots of women wait and see what's going to happen. Keep in mind that you are seeing one small segment of the population here--we are the segment that needed (or for some, chose) to go forward with the hysterectomy. We have had lots of women come through here with questions, decide not to do the hysterectomy, and then go on with their lives. Occasionally, one comes back and ends up having the hysterectomy because of a recurrence. Many never come back, and I assume that their bodies have managed to fight off the condition and that they are healthy. The vast majority of women are able to keep this under control. Some of us just have immune systems that aren't able to kick it. I had a cone in 1987 followed by 10 years of normal PAP's. Then I had 2 cryo's over the next few years, and finally had to have the surgery. I wouldn't go back and change that--I just felt it best to go with the least invasive procedures for as long as possible.

As far as the uterus producing hormones, well, I've read some conflicting information on that, and I'm just not totally sure of the exact answer. What I can tell you is that 3 years ago I had my TAH, kept my ovaries, and they are working as well as they ever did. Hormonally I feel exactly the same. So, if the uterus does produce hormones, perhaps it's a very small amount, or it's one that doesn't impact the hormonal feelings very much. Most women whose ovaries are still working feel pretty much the same way that I do.

An aside: lots of women live for years with only one ovary and don't have any hormone issues. If one ovary is removed, the other one picks up and takes over for it to keep your hormones balanced. HRT can be complicated to get right for some women, so having both ovaries removed may be more complicated than leaving one working ovary behind.

With sexual response and the cervix, well, it apparently varies from one woman to another. Some women say their cervix adds into pleasure, some women say it does not contribute. Mine did not contribute to the orgasmic process, so losing my cervix was not a big deal for me. If your cervix contributes to the process, then it might be an issue for you. The cervix does have nerve endings (mine certainly hurt when it was biopsied, for example), but perhaps all of us are "wired" differently. While my orgasms are not the same as they used to be (mine were always accompanied by strong uterine contractions, and now I have no uterus), they are still wonderful--just different. My vaginal walls contract more now than they did before, so it seems to be a replacement for the uterus. It was an adjustment, but I would only say they are different, not any better, not any worse. Some of the women (not all) who have been having pain for years and years do say that sex is better for them after their surgeries. I haven't really heard many women say that sex is better for them in situations such as cancer where pain was not the reason for the hysterectomy, but most seem to think it's equivalent. And of course there are some women who unfortunately find themselves unable to enjoy sex after their hysterectomy where previously it was wonderful. It's a mixed bag, and while most women do fine, some do not, and you just don't know which category you are going to fall into.

Have you seen a gynecologic oncologist? If not, you might like to request a referral to see one. They are the experts when it comes to female cancers and precancers, and they know all the most current treatment and surgical techniques available. Since you are taking the time to think this through, you might like to get that second opinion.

It sounds as if you are making positive progress if your PAP changes from HSIL to LSIL. And if I'm reading you correctly, it sounds as if your cervical canal was clear--only inflamed. Dysplasia does not have to affect both inside and outside of the cervix--it can involve only the outside, and that can frequently be treated with cryotherapy. And if your body continues it's work, you may not need even that.

While you are making your decisions, you might like to consider putting your body into the best situation possible to encourage it to continue to fight off this condition. Eat well--lots of fruits and veggies. Take a multivitamin (include folic acid which may be beneficial in fighting dysplasia). Get lots of sleep. Keep your stress to a minimum. Exercise moderately. Pray, meditate, and/or do yoga. All of these things are believed to contribute to improved immune function.

Good luck to you! Please let us know what you decide to do or if you have more questions!


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