The reasons for having a hysterectomy are explained by Dr. Taryll Jenkins, a gynecologist in Katy, TX
Several medical conditions can lead to the need for a partial or total hysterectomy. Most people have heard the term “hysterectomy” or know someone who has had this surgical procedure but aren’t sure what the procedure is, what it involves, or why it would need to be performed.
Below, the reasons for having a hysterectomy are explained by Dr. Taryll Jenkins, an experienced gynecologist in Katy, TX. He and his associates at Jenkins Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Medicine provide high quality, compassionate care for women with medical conditions requiring this procedure and can consult with you about whether the treatment is the right solution for your medical issues and any questions or concerns you have.
What is a hysterectomy and what does it involve?
A hysterectomy is a procedure that removes part or all of a woman’s reproductive organs. Depending on the medical reason for the hysterectomy, some or all of a woman’s uterus may be removed. In some cases, only the upper part of the uterus needs to be removed, which is called a subtotal hysterectomy. For other conditions, a total hysterectomy is performed, which removes the complete uterus and cervix. In cases of cancer, a radical hysterectomy may be needed, in which all of the uterus, cervix, and upper area of the vagina are taken out, and possibly also the ovaries.
Hysterectomies are surgical procedures that can be performed in several different ways. Historically, the procedure involved creating a surgical cut in the patient’s lower abdomen to remove the organs, but there are now more advanced, less invasive methods that can be used. In a laparoscopic hysterectomy, which is a minimally invasive procedure, a small incision is made in the woman’s belly button and then a very small camera is inserted to guide the removal of the uterus. In a vaginal hysterectomy, the surgeon removes the uterus through the vaginal canal. Recovery from a traditional hysterectomy takes approximately six weeks, while recovery from a vaginal or laparoscopic hysterectomy is approximately two weeks.
Types of medical conditions that may require a hysterectomy
The following types of conditions may lead to the need for a hysterectomy:
- Endometriosis: This painful condition occurs when cells that are normally inside the uterus lining start to grow outside of the uterus on other organs such as the bladder, ovaries, or rectum. Endometriosis can cause a variety of painful symptoms and other issues that affect your quality of life.
- Uterine, cervical, or ovarian cancer: Reproductive cancers of the uterus, cervix, or ovaries may necessitate a hysterectomy to ensure that the cancerous cells are removed from your body.
- Uterine fibroids: These are non-cancerous growths in your uterus that can develop at any time but typically appear during your childbearing years. They vary in size and symptoms, and some women may never notice that they have them. However, some fibroids can cause heavy bleeding, pain or pressure in the pelvis, constipation, and other issues.
- Prolapse of the uterus: In this condition, the uterus moves down into the vagina. It happens because the pelvic floor muscles and ligaments have stretched or weakened and can no longer support the uterus. There are several possible causes for this condition, including pregnancy and childbirth, repeated heavy lifting of objects, chronic constipation or straining, chronic coughing, and being overweight or obese.
- Uterine thickening: Also called adenomyosis, this condition occurs when the cells that line your uterus start taking over the muscle tissues in your uterus wall and cause it to thicken. It is similar to endometriosis and can cause pain, heavy periods, and spotting between your periods.
- Chronic pelvic pain or abnormal vaginal bleeding: There are a variety of other conditions that can cause chronic pain in your pelvic area, abnormal bleeding between periods, or heavy or irregular periods.
A hysterectomy is not typically the first treatment that is tried for most medical conditions since it is a major surgical procedure and removes some or all of the female reproductive organs. However, if other treatments fail to produce results or you have certain types of cancer, you may ultimately require one to regain your health and quality of life.
Your doctor can evaluate and diagnose your condition and discuss the best treatment options for you. Getting a hysterectomy is a big decision, and experienced gynecologist Dr. Taryll Jenkins is here to guide you through your choices. The team at Jenkins Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Medicine provides personalized and high-quality care for women at all phases of life. Call 855 346 8610 today to schedule an evaluation.