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Hysterectomy - the great operation

Your doctor has suggested a hysterectomy as a solution to your health problems? Here's everything you need to know about this operation to help you make a choice!

What is a hysterectomy?
Hysterectomy is nicknamed the "major operation" because it is a surgical procedure whose purpose is to remove the uterus to treat various health problems in women. In some cases, by reason of the operation and your medical history, certain organs near your uterus may also be removed to treat your condition properly.

Different types of hysterectomy are:
Hysterectomy: Only the upper part of the uterus is removed. The cervix and other organs are not affected.
The complete hysterectomy: The uterus and cervix are removed. The ovaries and fallopian tubes are not affected. This is the type of hysterectomy more frequently practiced.

The complete hysterectomy expanded: This operation is usually performed in cases of cancer and involves removing the uterus, cervix, upper vagina, and supporting tissues of the pelvic lymph nodes.
The complete hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy: When removing the uterus, cervix, and one or both ovaries and fallopian tubes.

According to a survey on health in communities across Canada conducted by Statistics Canada, 19.6% of Quebec women aged 20 and over have had a hysterectomy.

The conditions leading to hysterectomy
There are several reasons that may lead your doctor to provide you with hysterectomy. Here is an overview of the most common conditions:

The presence of uterine fibroids (myomas): These are common non-cancerous tumors and do not require treatment unless they cause unpleasant symptoms. When fibroids grow too large, for example, they can cause bleeding, and pelvic pain during intercourse , pressure on the bladder and even anemia.

Endometriosis : This condition causes the tissue lining the uterus grow outside the uterus. Symptoms include painful periods, abnormal vaginal bleeding, scarring and infertility .

Uterine prolapse: When the tissues that hold the uterus in place become weak, the uterus descends into the vagina and can lead to urinary incontinence, difficulty emptying the bowel and feel pelvic pressure. This condition is usually caused by a cough or continuous physical exertion, hormonal changes, obesity or childbirth.

Pelvic pain with or without bleeding: Depending on the cause and your symptoms, your doctor may suggest other treatments or strategies less invasive surgical or medical before resorting to hysterectomy. This is why it is important to identify the cause of your symptoms and discuss your options with your doctor.

The cancers gynecological If you have been diagnosed with cancer of the endometrium, cervix, ovaries or fallopian tubes, hysterectomy may be performed to treat 10 to 12% of these cancers by the Canadian Network for Women's Health . Hysterectomy prevents cancer from spreading to other organs.

Sequence of operation
Depending on your condition, your doctor may recommend a vaginal hysterectomy or abdominal

Vaginal hysterectomy: As its name suggests, the uterus is removed through the vagina. This procedure causes less pain and allows you to more quickly return to your activities.

The abdominal hysterectomy: The surgeon removes your uterus by making a cut of 15 to 20 cm on your abdomen or the height of your bikini. This requires a longer recovery period and causes more pain.

In most cases, a hysterectomy is going well. But as with any operation, there may be complications that develop as infection, bleeding, injury, or, in rarer cases, the presence of blood clots. It is therefore important to monitor your health after surgery and contact your doctor if you develop severe symptoms such as:

  • Significant vaginal bleeding
  • Fever
  • Urinary incontinence or pain when urinating
  • Your wound is swollen, or there is open flow or drainage
  • Digestive problems such as nausea, swelling in the abdomen, difficulty to evacuate your gas or repeated vomiting
  • Difficulty in breathing

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