“Oh female problems.”
The statement shuts down questions (especially around men). It is like bringing up PMS or infertility. Female sexuality is mysterious and talking about when things aren’t what they should be is scary.
So knowledge is power and understanding why women must face this surgery and what it means to their ongoing health and wellness can take some of the fear and stigma out of the surgery.
There are various reasons why a woman may need to consider hysterectomy:
- Cancer of the:
- Fallopian tubes
- Heavy Menses to the point of anemia
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
- Prolapse of the Uterus
- Adenomyosis, or a thickening of the uterus
There are other possible treatments for some of these and hysterectomy should be considered after other options have been considered or attempted. Also, no one except the doctor you are currently seeing is going to be offended by you seeking a second opinion. Your uterus is more important than someone’s ego.
In the USA 600,000 hysterectomies are performed each year, at a cost of $5 billion per year. It is the second most common major surgery among women of child-bearing age.
Types of Surgery
Just as there are different causes that lead to a hysterectomy there are different types of hysterectomy. This is both in terms of how the operation is performed as well as in what is removed from the patient.
Taken from Medical News Today ( MediLexicon International Limited, 2015), the three types of hysterectomy are:
A subtotal hysterectomy – only the body of the uterus is surgically removed. The cervix stays.
A total hysterectomy – the body of the uterus and the cervix are both surgically removed.
A total hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy – the uterus, fallopian tubes, cervix, and ovaries are all surgically removed. This is also known as radical hysterectomy.
Of course technology has made advances and there are different options as far as how the surgery is conducted. Whether it is laparoscopic, robotic or an incision through the vagina, those are less intrusive than traditional abdominal surgery. However, the traditional method may be necessary if other exploration is necessary due to tumors or due to the physical condition of the woman. Though sometimes the method selected is due to the comfort of the surgeon so be sure to ask.
Post Surgery Implications
Any time you are facing removal of such a critical part of the body there are chemical and hormonal implications. These can be scary. The emotional impact and the connection to one’s sexuality can be scary as well.The surgery can be especially devastating to women of child bearing age who wanted children or even more children. It can be confusing for men to understand how this can impact a couples intimacy post operation recovery.
One of the things many women may have a hard time with post hysterectomy is discussing issues in regards to their sex life. Things such as the need for lubrication, vaginal dryness or even continued pain post operation. Once again, unfortunately, too many women suffer in silence.
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Until Next Time
The Passion Professor