When is a Hysterectomy Necessary?
Hysterectomy surgery can be both a life-saving and a life-changing procedure for women. At Phase II Center for Women’s Health in Millcreek, UT, board-certified OB/GYN Dr. Elizabeth Graul is proud to help patients restore or improve their health with advanced hysterectomy surgery. In this blog, we’ll discuss some of the most common scenarios where a hysterectomy would be necessary, as well as the various techniques that can be used to remove the uterus.
What is a hysterectomy?
Hysterectomy refers to the surgical removal of the uterus. In many cases, the cervix is also removed during a hysterectomy. An oophorectomy – or removal of the ovaries – may be performed in conjunction with a hysterectomy in certain cases, but this is typically avoided if possible, as removing the ovaries will send a woman into forced menopause. This is a particularly important consideration for younger women facing hysterectomy surgery. Regardless of if the cervix and/or ovaries are removed, a hysterectomy will prohibit the patient from being able to become pregnant in the future.
Who would need a hysterectomy?
There are several reasons why a woman may need (or want) a hysterectomy, some of the most common of which include:
- Gynecological cancers
- Uterine fibroids
- Heavy periods
- Genetic predisposition to certain diseases
- Chronic gynecologic or pelvic pain
- Uterine prolapse
In many cases, less extensive measures – like medical therapy – can help to resolve more mild uterine issues, such as heavy or abnormal bleeding. If these steps are ineffective, however, hysterectomy surgery may be appropriate and necessary. For life-threatening conditions, like uterine cancer, a hysterectomy may be required as soon as possible.
During your initial consultation for uterine concerns in the Greater Salt Lake City area, Dr. Graul will perform a comprehensive evaluation, review your medical and surgical history, discuss your symptoms, and answer all of your questions at length. Based on the findings of this evaluation, as well as your individual needs and goals, Dr. Graul will determine if you are a good candidate for hysterectomy surgery.
How is hysterectomy surgery performed?
There are several different techniques used to surgically remove the uterus, including:
- Vaginal hysterectomy
- Laparoscopic hysterectomy
- Robotic hysterectomy
- Abdominal hysterectomy
The most suitable hysterectomy approach will vary from patient to patient, depending on the reason for the surgery, the patient’s surgical and health history, the size of their uterus, and other factors. For example, women with a large uterus and/or severe scarring due to endometriosis may be good candidates for robotic hysterectomy, while patients with more “normal” anatomy are often encouraged to undergo a vaginal hysterectomy, as this approach is the least invasive and boasts the quickest recovery time.
When can I have sex after a hysterectomy?
Full recovery after a hysterectomy may take up to 6 – 8 weeks or longer. During your postoperative follow-up appointments, Dr. Graul will assess your healing progress and determine when it is safe and appropriate to resume sexual activity. It is important to keep in mind, however, that removing the ovaries often results in vaginal dryness, which can affect the sexual experience. Rest assured that Dr. Graul is committed to helping you return to your normal routines and will discuss your options for an enhanced sexual experience after a hysterectomy.
Facing hysterectomy surgery in Salt Lake City? We can help
Most women don’t love the thought of having their uterus removed, but a hysterectomy can both save your life and, in many cases, provide relief from frustrating and uncomfortable pelvic symptoms. To learn more about if a hysterectomy may be beneficial for you, call our caring team at Phase II Center for Women’s Health in Millcreek, UT to schedule your one-on-one consultation with board-certified OB/GYN Dr. Elizabeth Graul today.