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Should You Have a Hysterectomy?

Or is it a Permanent Solution to A Temporary Problem?uterus

Next to cesarean section hysterectomy is the most  common  surgery performed annually in the United States.

Over 600,000 hysterectomies are performed annually in this country and over 90% of them are for benign (not cancerous) conditions. Hysterectomies are performed for five main reasons:

  • Symptomatic Uterine Fibroids
  • Abnormal Uterine Bleeding
  • Pelvic Pain
  • Pelvic Organ Prolapse (falling uterus, vagina)
  • Cancer and precancerous disease (<10% of all hysterectomies)

Major Surgery=Inevitable Complications

The decision to proceed with hysterectomy is often offered and made without hesitation, yet nearly ten percent of women who undergo hysterectomy suffer one of the following major complications of the surgery:

  • Hemorrhage (2.5-5%)
  • Injury to the Urinary Tract (1-2%)
  • Pelvic blood clot (Hematoma: 0.7-2.1%)
  • Wound separation (0.3%)

Retaining Ovaries Does Not Prevent Menopausal Symptoms

Hysterectomy, even with sparing of the ovaries, can lead to a 50% reduction in ovarian blood supply and causes menopausal symptoms an average of four years earlier compared to women who do not have hysterectomy.

“That’ll be $30,000. Would you like to pay with Master or Visa?”

The surgeon’s fee is a fraction of the bill–usually about ten percent. By the time you add in operating room costs, anesthesia, hospital costs, and related expenses the bill for hysterectomy can run $30,000-$40,000 or more, depending on your geographic area.

In the present era of high-deductible health insurance plans, with high premiums, and the hassle of having to argue with the insurance company to get them to pay what they said they’d pay, hysterectomy appears to be a less attractive solution, especially now that there are cheaper, safer, effective alternatives.

“If Only a Man Were More Like A Woman”

Man with hands on earsThe above quote from “My Fair Lady” is inverted, but consider this:

What if men were women and they had as much trouble with their reproductive systems as we do? How likely do you think the main treatment for men would be to surgically remove their entire reproductive systems to deal with the problem?

Or do you think men would have quickly invented finesse situations to avoid the drastic move of “taking it all out”. Feel free to weigh in with your experiences and opinions in the comments section.

  • Have you had a hysterectomy?
  • What was your experience with hysterectomy?
  • What factors did you consider in your decision for surgery?
  • What is life like after hysterectomy?

 

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