While the thought of surgery is rarely a welcome one, when the procedure corrects a dangerous medical issue or greatly improves your quality of life, surgery may be most welcome, indeed. This is often the case with a hysterectomy.
When it comes to deciding whether or not to undergo a hysterectomy, you want a practice that has extensive experience in the area. At Women’s Clinic of the Rio Grande Valley, Dr. Fernando Otero and our team have helped scores of women navigate the pros and cons of this procedure, allowing them to make an informed decision based on their goals.
We’ll cover here what we typically discuss with every client who may be considering a hysterectomy.
A hysterectomy to improve your health
When it comes to why women choose to have a hysterectomy, the reasons are usually health-related and certainly not birth-control-related. Of the 500,000 hysterectomies that are performed each year in the United States, most women choose this procedure as a treatment for:
- Problematic uterine fibroids
- Abnormal bleeding
- Uterine prolapse
This list contains a number of conditions and a symptom (abnormal bleeding) so you might be able to check one or more items.
Outside of cancer, a hysterectomy is usually the last treatment option after trying more conservative approaches to remedy your problem. For example, perhaps you take oral contraception to treat your endometriosis, but your symptoms persist.
Another example is when you have uterine prolapse. If we try support devices, such as pessaries, as well as exercises, and your uterus still falls through your vaginal canal, it may be best to remove the organ.
Getting back to cancer, if you have a reproductive cancer, a hysterectomy is often a frontline (and lifesaving) treatment option.
Weighing your risks and your side effects
Now that we’ve shared how a hysterectomy can improve your health and your quality of life, let’s take a look at some of the downsides.
We can perform your hysterectomy using an open abdominal technique or by way of laparoscopy, either abdominally or vaginally. Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgical approach that considerably reduces the collateral tissue damage and recovery time. In either case, these approaches are still surgical, which always carries some risk of infection and discomfort.
Another point to consider is whether we need to remove your ovaries along with your uterus, which will send you into menopause right away, no matter your age.
Third, when we remove your uterus, you may lose some support systems for your remaining pelvic organs, which can lead to pelvic organ prolapse, which usually affects your bladder or vagina.
Lastly, a hysterectomy is about as final as it gets, and your chances of becoming pregnant are eliminated once we remove your uterus.
Choosing what's right for you
A hysterectomy is a major decision and we’re here to help you make the best one for your unique circumstances. Unless you’re dealing with a potentially life-threatening situation, we will follow your lead in your treatment choices, providing recommendations along the way.
If you do find that a hysterectomy may provide the best solution moving forward, please know that you’re in good hands with our team. We can not only expertly perform the procedure, we can help you mitigate any unwanted side effects afterward.
If you have more questions about the pros and cons of a hysterectomy, please contact one of our two offices in McAllen or Edinburg, Texas, to set up a consultation.