Hysterectomy alternatives

There are circumstances in which a hysterectomy is medically necessary to save a female’s life, however there are many hysterectomies performed yearly that are not deemed medically necessary. Over the years, hysterectomies have been performed for many medical conditions that may be solved just as easily with another procedure or with a form of medication. Sometimes a hysterectomy is requested by a patient in order to eliminate problems they have been experiencing, however the side effects of having a hysterectomy may not be fully understood.

A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that removes all or part of the uterus. Depending on the circumstance, a woman may need other parts of the female reproductive tract removed as well, such as the fallopian tubes, ovaries, cervix or vagina. Once any of these parts are removed from the body a woman can no longer bare children and if the ovaries are removed from the body a woman will enter into the menopausal stage after the surgery is performed. Some women who have already entered the menopausal phase of their life may not be bothered by this so much but those who are young will suffer through menopause many years before the body naturally would. This can cause many problems in a woman’s life, including mood swings, weight fluctuations, hormonal problems and interference in a woman’s sex life.

If your medical condition is not urgent, it is a good idea to get a second opinion and research all your options before committing to a hysterectomy. Some conditions such as cancer, chronic bleeding or uterine rupture are urgent and should not be put off. However if you have a condition that is not life threatening then you have time to get a second opinion. Since hysterectomies have been performed more often than needed, a lot of insurance companies will not cover a hysterectomy until a patient has received two medical opinions that agree a hysterectomy is the best medical procedure to cure the patient’s condition.

Depending on the medical condition, there may be some hysterectomy alternatives that one should be aware of. Medication therapy can be used to treat different uterine problems as well as control the symptoms associated with them. Hormonal therapy may be used to help with endometriosis and pain medications may be prescribed to control the pains that one may have due to ovarian cysts. Nerve blocks are injections of anesthetic delivered straight to the nerve causing the pain. The effects of the injections are temporary but can be repeated as necessary.

Other hysterectomy alternatives may include having a myomectomy, ablation, or balloon therapy. A myomectomy is a simple outpatient procedure that removes fibroids from the uterus. Fibroids are often painful and some may eventually lead to cancer, however most are harmless. Since they can cause severe discomfort, the fibroids can be removed through the use of a telescopic instrument that is inserted through the cervix and into the uterus. At times there may be the need for a small incision to the abdomen to remove the fibroids. An ablation is another outpatient procedure in which the endometrial tissue is cut or seared to destroy the tissue and stop chronic bleeding of the uterus. This can prove to be beneficial but for those who wish to have children this may not be the best option. Balloon therapy is another way to destroy the lining of the uterus in order to stop chronic bleeding.

There are many other hysterectomy alternatives that should be thoroughly researched before one commits to having a hysterectomy. By avoiding a hysterectomy one can avoid having an invasive and life changing surgery. Make sure that you know all the details of a hysterectomy and the side effects before you agree to have the surgery.

Last updated on May 27th, 2010 and filed under Women's Health. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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