Monday 8 August 2016

Marla Ahlgrimm Explains Hysterectomy

A hysterectomy is usually the last resort when treating certain reproductive issues, says Marla Ahlgrimm, retired pharmacist. . It is a major surgery and one that should be performed only under extreme circumstances. In today’s post, the women’s healthcare expert answers a few common questions about this life-altering procedure.

Q: What is a hysterectomy?

Marla Ahlgrimm: This is a surgery to remove a woman’s entire uterus and, sometimes, the ovaries and fallopian tubes. It is a major surgery that can take anywhere from an hour to several hours, depending on the method of removal and health of the patient. It is performed in a sterile operating room by a highly skilled surgeon when there are no better alternatives to protect the woman’s health.

 Q: Why would a woman need a hysterectomy?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Women with certain reproductive issues including uterine fibroids, uterine prolapse, endometriosis, adenomyosis, severe menstrual bleeding, or endometrial, cervical, uterine, or ovarian cancer may require a hysterectomy.

Q: Are there alternative treatments for any of these conditions?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Often, yes. However, sometimes a hysterectomy is the only viable means of saving, or improving, her quality of life – for instance, when a woman has uterine fibroids that return after removal (myomectomy) and they cause severe pain and heavy bleeding. A full hysterectomy may also be the only option for women with aggressive uterine cancer.

Q: How does a hysterectomy change a woman’s life?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Obviously, a hysterectomy will cause infertility. Some women experience severe anxiety prior to the procedure and grief at the loss of their reproductive ability after the surgery is over. The surgery may affect a woman’s sex life by making sex more enjoyable if intercourse was painful before. Adversely, if the hysterectomy triggers menopause, a woman may lose interest in sex altogether. When both ovaries are removed, it increases the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, and incontinence.


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