What is Hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy ends your ability to become pregnant. If you think you might want to become pregnant, ask your doctor about alternatives to this surgery. In the case of cancer, a hysterectomy might be the only option. But for other conditions — including fibroids, endometriosis and uterine prolapse — you may be able to try less invasive treatments first.
During hysterectomy surgery, your surgeon might also perform a related procedure that removes both of your ovaries and your fallopian tubes (bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy). You and your doctor should discuss ahead of time whether you need this procedure, which results in what’s known as surgical menopause.
“A surgical procedure to extract all part of the uterus is known as Hysterectomy.” A woman may have a hysterectomy for various reasons, including:
- Uterine fibroids which cause pain, bleeding, or other problems
- Uterine prolapse, which is a sliding of the uterus from its usual position into the vaginal canal
- Cancer of the uterus, cervix, or ovaries
- Irregular vaginal bleeding
- Constant pelvic pain
- Adenomyosis, or a thickening of the uterus
Hysterectomy for noncancerous causes is usually counted only after all other treatment approaches have been tried without success.
Depending on the cause for the hysterectomy, a doctor may choose to extract all or only part of the uterus. Patients and health care providers seldom use these terms inexactly, so it is necessary to clarify if the cervix and/or ovaries are removed:
- In a supracervical or subtotal hysterectomy, a doctor extracts only the upper part of the uterus, keeping the cervix in place.
- A total hysterectomy extracts the complete uterus and cervix.
- In a radical hysterectomy, a doctor removes the whole uterus, tissue on the sides of the uterus, the cervix, and the top part of the vagina. Radical hysterectomy is commonly done when finding cancer.