What is a hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy is surgery to take out a
woman's uterus, the organ in a woman's belly where a baby grows during
pregnancy. After a hysterectomy, you will not be able to get pregnant.
Other organs might also be removed if you have severe problems such as
endometriosis or cancer. These organs include the
cervix (the lower part of the uterus that opens into
the vagina), the
ovaries (glands on both sides of the uterus that
release eggs for pregnancy), and the
fallopian tubes (the passageway between the uterus and
Whether or not the ovaries are removed will depend
on your age and risk for certain types of cancer. For example, removing the
ovaries lowers the risk of ovarian cancer and some types of breast cancer. But
if you have your ovaries removed before the age of menopause, you will go into
early menopause, and you may be more likely to get heart disease or
osteoporosis. Be sure to discuss with your doctor all the benefits and risks of
removing your ovaries.
See a picture of the
female reproductive system .
What problems does this surgery treat?
hysterectomy is done to treat problems with the uterus, such as pain and heavy
bleeding caused by
fibroid tumors. The surgery may also be needed if
there is cancer in the uterus, cervix, or ovaries. Some women may have the
surgery during childbirth to save their lives if there is heavy bleeding that
cannot be stopped.
Before you choose to have a hysterectomy,
consider all of your treatment options. In many cases, this surgery is a last
resort after trying other treatments for the problem.
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