What is hysterectomy? Simply stated it is the surgical removal of the uterus or womb. It was found that in US alone, surgeons perform around 600,000 hysterectomies a year. It is the second common surgery performed in US , first being the Caesarian itself. Also be aware of the fact that one in three American women remove her uterus before she turns sixty.
Why Have a Hysterectomy?
There are a number of gynecologic disorders, which may demand a hysterectomy to be performed on the patient like:
• Abnormal bleeding: This is the most common cause of performing a hysterectomy. This becomes necessary when a woman's period is disturbed and she gets a heavy to light bleeding amid periods or extreme bleeding during periods. This type of abnormal bleeding may occur due to several reasons such as hormonal imbalance, poor nutrition or tumor growth.
• Fibroids: These are growths that happened either inside or outside of the uterus and sometimes to get rid of them hysterectomy may be advised. These tumors or growths are generally noncancerous and not much evident sometimes.
• Uterine prolapse: When the uterus slide down from its original position to the pelvis and into the vagina a uterine prolapse is said to have happened. This condition also might require a hysterectomy if symptoms like frequent urination, chronic pain, or bladder infections are causing problems to the normal life of the person affected.
• Endometriosis: This is a painful condition in which the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus begins to grow on the outside of the uterus or on other organs. This is also another situation where hysterectomy might be preferred by the doctor.
• Gynecologic cancer: This condition is characterized by the abnormal growth of the cells in the female reproductive system. In America, uterine cancer is the most common gynecologic cancer and almost 35,000 new cases and 3,000 deaths are recorded each year due to this illness.
How Is a Hysterectomy Performed?
There are two methods in which we can perform hysterectomy. First method is going in for a traditional open surgery and the other is the laparoscopic surgery. Also note that, in some cases the uterus will be removed only partially whereas in some other cases it will have to be removed fully. In traditional open surgery, surgeons cut open the abdomen about 5 to 7 inches long and take out the uterus. But such opening up is not necessary with laparoscopic surgeries. With this technology, surgeons insert small tools into the abdomen, including cutting and grabbing instruments as well as camera and perform the operation.
This operation usually takes many hours and it will be better if you can stay at the hospital for three or four days. Also make sure that once you reach the home take good rest for about four weeks. You will usually get pain after the operation. Be prepared to endure that.
What Are the Risks of a Hysterectomy?
The most common risks of performing a major surgery like hysterectomy include:
• Problems related to anesthesia
• Allergy due to medicines
• Heavy Bleeding
• Possible blood clots in the lungs or legs
• Pain caused by scarring
In addition to these probable risks it also carries its own risks, like early menopause if the ovaries are removed and injury to nearby organs like the bladder, rectum and bowel. The operation can also be associated with hysterectomy pain.
Hysterectomy pain generally concentrates on pelvic and abdominal as well as in the lower back. This pain is usually due to adhesions or a scar tissue that form naturally in the soft tissue in the pelvic region that is burnt or cut during the operation.
The adhesions cause pain when they accidently join the incision sites to neighboring organs, such as the bladder or bowel. This binding causes painful pulling inside the body.
How Is Hysterectomy Pain Treated?
The basic treatment for hysterectomy pain is medication. If the pain does not subside with medications and is still is severe and chronic, additional surgery may be required to remove the painful adhesions. But it is to be remembered that even with the most advanced surgical techniques there is always a possibility to form new adhesions. This may lead to a frustrating cycle of operation-adhesion-formation-operation that can persist for years.
Some herbal treatments are found useful to treat these adhesions. Also, physical therapy can be employed to break down or eliminate these scar tissues altogether which will eliminate the pain caused by them.
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