Hysterectomy is one of the most commonly performed surgical methods. It is not only common in the USA but also in other regions. There are many women who are still confused about it. Mostly, women are unaware of why hysterectomy surgery is needed and when it is not necessary.
This article will guide all our readers on hysterectomy and the most common myths that you hear about it.
What is hysterectomy?
Hysterectomy is a surgery in which a qualified surgeon removes a female’s uterus. This is common among women when they no more want kids. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), during the years 2000–2004, nearly 3.1 million hysterectomies were completed in the USA.
It makes approximately 600,000 hysterectomies per year. Following are the myths related to hysterectomy that everyone should know.
Myth one- only older women who are at risk of uterine cancer go for a hysterectomy
Well, wrong. Women of all ages can go for a hysterectomy if needed. The second part cancer being a risk factor is not the only reason to go for it. There are multiple reasons to opt for hysterectomies such as uterine fibroids, uterine prolapse, abnormal vaginal bleeding, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, and many more.
It doesn’t really matter that the women have passed her menopause or not. Hysterectomy is performed when it is needed, as per a woman’s health status.
Myth two- a hysterectomy is needed when cancer is detected
Again, wrong. Hysterectomy is seen as the last treatment for non-cancerous reasons too. But it is, in reality, one of many treatment approaches that have been tried and verified. A hysterectomy is the only treatment option for women when she is suffering from cervical, uterine, or ovarian cancer but not otherwise.
Sometimes an emergency hysterectomy may also be performed when uterine hemorrhage or uterine infection cannot be controlled otherwise. However, in other cases, there are alternatives to this surgery. An expert doctor will only suggest hysterectomy when there are no other viable options.
Myth three- hysterectomy removes the entire uterus
This is true but not completely true. There are three types of hysterectomies: supracervical, total, and radical. It depends upon the medical condition and a surgeon decides accordingly, whether to remove some part of the entire uterus.
Occasionally, a hysterectomy follows a removal of cervix and/or ovaries too. In a supracervical, only the upper part of the uterus is removed and cervix is not touched. It is performed abdominally or through laparoscopy.
Whereas the radical hysterectomy is performed in cancer and it removes the whole uterus. Ovaries may or may not be removed along with hysterectomy. The process to remove ovaries is called oophorectomy.
Myth four- Hysterectomy is performed through a vaginal route
Yes and no. There are three ways to perform a hysterectomy and only one of them follows a vaginal route. Other two routes are through laparoscopy and robotic assistance. Usually, a woman is asked to select her preferred method of hysterectomy.
Then the surgeon considers the safety of that preferred method and costs analysis as per the patient’s health status. Generally, vaginal hysterectomy is better and shows fewer complications than the other two types.
Myth five- Robot-assisted hysterectomies should be the only way to perform a hysterectomy
Doesn’t sound right, no? A robotic surgery is only accepted when there is a minimally invasive procedure required. It is not suitable for a more invasive procedure.
This robot-assisted surgery requires small abdominal incisions and the magnified, 3-D view helps to get great precision, flexibility, and control. The patient usually resumes routine activities within days.
Myth six- hysterectomy makes a menopause come early
A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus, but not always the ovaries. Therefore this is a misconception among people that removal of the uterus will make your menopause come early. This only occurs when your ovaries are also removed as a part of a hysterectomy.
As you know, it’s the ovaries that produce estrogen and not the uterus. Therefore removal of the uterus will not make any such thing to occur. And yes, removal of ovaries is not always the part of hysterectomy procedure.
Myth six- you can get pregnant after a partial hysterectomy
Any type of hysterectomy means that you can no longer have a baby. Once this hysterectomy is performed, the patient will no longer have periods. This is a clear indication of the end of fertility. And for this same reason, some women wait to have a hysterectomy after they complete their family.
Myth seven- hormone therapy will not work if ovaries are removed before natural menopause
This myth is not true. The hormone therapy can be started anytime after surgery. When your ovaries are removed, it increases the risk for osteoporosis. This osteoporosis makes the bones weak and brittle.
Going for hormone therapy will relieve the signs of menopause and hence the risk of osteoporosis will be reduced. The doctor may advise some other medicines to prevent osteoporosis.
Myth eight- you can’t have sex after a hysterectomy
This question is highly confusing. How soon you can have sex after going through a hysterectomy actually depends on the type of hysterectomy that you had. The average time to get back to the intercourse is two to four weeks post-surgery.
But your doctor will advise you better. In case, if your cervix was removed, it takes more than six weeks for the vagina to heal and then you can have sex.
Myth nine- the recovery from a hysterectomy is painful and extended
Well, this is a vague statement. Every person and everybody is different. In general, the recovery time depends upon which type of hysterectomy was performed. Usually, all three types of vaginal, robotic, and laparoscopic show faster recovery times than abdominal.
But we should not ignore that after all a hysterectomy is a surgical procedure. Yes, it is painful and recovery time can be long. Sometimes it takes as long as six weeks for a complete recovery. Most of the times women feel much better after two weeks.
Watch out for your activities and avoid lifting weight. Feel free to contact your nearest healthcare center for more details and information.