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Reality Check: When is Hysterectomy Necessary?

As we’ve shared previously on the blog, many women in this country have hysterectomies they don’t need. Since a hysterectomy–the complete removal of a woman’s uterus–is a really big deal, that’s scary news. But are there cases when hysterectomies are a must? Let’s take a closer look! 

What’s a Hysterectomy?  Even with multiple fibroids, hysterectomy can be avoided

As we said, a hysterectomy is an operation to remove a woman’s uterus. Oophorectomy is a process where the ovaries are removed. When only the fallopian tubes are removed, the process is called salpingectomy. The uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries are removed in a hysterectomy with a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy.

There are partial, total or radical hysterectomies. Partial hysterectomies leave your cervix remains in place. Total hysterectomies remove the whole uterus and cervix. Radical hysterectomies remove the whole uterus, including its tissue and its sides, the cervix and the top part of your vagina. 

When Do You NEED a Hysterectomy?

Hysterectomies are appropriate responses to life-threatening conditions. Radical hysterectomies are often given to women with cancers of the uterus, fallopian tubes, cervix or vagina. It may be necessary if a woman’s uterus ruptures during childbirth, or if her post-delivery bleeding is life threatening. In some cases, women with severe PID (pelvic inflammatory disease) will need this surgery. 

So, that’s when you really need a hysterectomy. But there are other times when hysterectomies are also considered. Many women with fibroids and endometriosis are told they need to remove their uterus to get relief. And, while this may sometimes be true, other women can avoid this major surgery with less invasive treatment options. In our opinions, as Houston fibroid specialists, if there are treatments that could help women avoid hysterectomies, that should be the first line of defense. Except in cases of emergency, hysterectomies should be the last option your physician recommends.