Each year, about half a million women in the United States have a hysterectomy, making it the second-most common women’s surgery after cesarean birth. All hysterectomy surgeries involve removing part or all of a woman’s uterus to treat a serious medical condition; in some cases, it’s also necessary to remove the ovaries and fallopian tubes. The top-notch team of board-certified OB/GYNs at South Sound Women’s Center in Olympia, Washington, are surgical specialists with extensive hysterectomy experience. To learn more, call or book an appointment online today.
In most cases, hysterectomies are a last-resort option to treat a serious gynecological problem that hasn’t responded to more conservative treatment approaches. A hysterectomy can be the best treatment option for a variety of gynecological conditions, including:
If you have cancer or precancerous cells of the ovaries, cervix, uterus, or endometrium (the uterine lining), a hysterectomy is usually the most effective treatment option.
These noncancerous growths in the wall of the uterus can cause chronic pelvic pain and heavy bleeding. Fibroids are the most common reason for hysterectomy surgery.
Uterine prolapse, which can cause urinary and bowel problems, occurs when the uterus slips out of place and moves down into the vagina. A hysterectomy is often the best way to resolve the condition.
Endometriosis involves tissue similar to what lines the uterus, but growing outside of it. The condition can cause pelvic pain and heavy periods. Although endometriosis can often be managed effectively with conservative treatment measures, a hysterectomy is the only way to cure it completely.
A hysterectomy may also be a suitable option for other conditions that cause chronic pelvic pain or abnormal uterine bleeding, particularly when other treatment strategies don’t help.
Depending on why it’s needed, a hysterectomy proceeds in one of three ways. A total hysterectomy removes your entire uterus, including the cervix. In a subtotal or partial hysterectomy, the upper part of your uterus is removed, but the cervix is left in place.
Certain cancer cases may call for a radical hysterectomy, which includes the removal of your uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes, and ovaries.
The team at South Sound Women’s Center provides two types of hysterectomy surgery. Whenever possible, they perform a vaginal hysterectomy, which is done through the vaginal canal and usually results in quicker post-surgery recovery.
In cases where a vaginal hysterectomy isn’t possible, they use traditional open surgery, which requires an incision in your abdomen. The hysterectomy procedure your gynecologist chooses largely depends on which elements need to be removed.
A hysterectomy is a major surgery, which means it will likely take you several weeks to recover fully. You can expect to stay in the hospital for a day or two following your procedure; if your case involves cancer, your in-hospital recovery time may be a bit longer.
In the first six weeks after your surgery, you should plan to get plenty of rest and avoid heavy lifting of any kind. Balancing rest with a certain amount of activity can mean the best recovery; your South Sound Women’s Center gynecologist can help you understand how much and what type of activity is best for you.
You can expect to have some pain in the first few days of your recovery, and some amount of vaginal bleeding or discharge for the first few weeks. Constipation is also normal immediately afterward.
Your hysterectomy won’t cause hormone-related symptoms or menopause unless you had your ovaries removed during surgery. Because a hysterectomy puts an end to your ability to bear children, the surgery may cause you to feel emotional or depressed. Don’t be afraid to let your doctor know how you’re feeling; the team at South Sound Women’s Center is always ready to help.
To learn more about hysterectomy surgery or to schedule a visit, call the office to book an appointment online today.