Hysterectomy or not?
One of the Biggest Decisions a Woman Can Make…
Is whether to have a hysterectomy or not!
This is a blog to help you with that decision.
I am not slanted either way… I don’t know your history.
I just want to help you make the right decision for you… right now.
What is a hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy is the removal of a woman’s uterus (you may know it as your womb).
There are many reasons why a woman might elect to have a hysterectomy (that means it’s an option) or sometimes it is removed as a medical emergency (that means it was decided on your behalf due to bleeding or trauma, in order to save your life).
Deciding whether to have it out electively can be a life changing decision…
There are many reasons why your doctor might suggest having your uterus out..
Let’s first look at the role of your uterus.. what it does and what NOT having a uterus means.
The role of the uterus has medically been assumed to house a baby for pregnancy and that’s about it.
BUT if you look to other female folk lore (and my gut instinct) is that the uterus is the home of the feminine energy – her powerhouse, her spiritual compass.
I don’t necessarily have proof of this. But until the 1990s we didn’t have proof that the heart was the emotional epicentre of the body, not the brain. And now that is widely accepted as medical truth. I am confident in time to come the same will be true of the uterus.
I believe the uterus is the female epicentre of nurturing, connection and love.
The uterus, along with the two ovaries, fallopian tubes, vagina, constitute the unique organs that make a woman a woman!
Together they form our gynaecological tract and store/release and house the woman’s eggs, fertility, conception, and pregnancy. Men do not share the same anatomy and these parts are the main difference.
Procreation is the core role of the gynaecological tract, and when you discuss the removal of these parts with a doctor, often this consideration is the ONLY consideration.
Do you want babies any more or not.
I believe there is a lot more at stack.
The uterine lining (endometrial lining) sheds every month once the egg has not been fertilised.
This is what is commonly known as a period, or menses.
Once all the eggs are released by the ovaries (during the woman’s fertile years), the uterus simply sits in the body – seemingly doing nothing.
Why remove the uterus?
There are many reasons put forward to remove a uterus.
Bleeding is the main reason.
Bleeding can cause heavier periods, anaemia (low iron), unwanted and uncontrolled pain, fatigue and time off work.
Heavy, uncontrolled periods can cripple people’s lives.
I have had patients in my clinic that are too scared to leave their homes for fear of break through bleeding, flooding or pain. I understand why hysterectomy is an appealing option. After a few months of that you want an end. I totally get it.
The other reasons for removing someone’s uterus, is due to cancer (either in the uterus, or the lining, or surrounding tissue), prolapse, pain with sex with no identifiable cause, or urinary issues.
What are the causes of heavy bleeding?
The causes of bleeding can vary from fibroids, endometriosis, cancer, low progesterone, high estrogen and even low iron.
I can assist with some of these conditions with my hormone programs and we can try to manage the symptoms. Many have success and don’t need a hysterectomy. Others don’t have success and still opt to have the operation. It is totally the individual’s choice and I always support my patients in whatever they decide is the right thing for them. It’s a touch choice.
The Downside of Hysterectomy.
As with any general major operation, there are risks associated with it – such as bleeding, accidental snipping of your bowel wall, post op deep vein thrombosis, infection risk and others.
There are also anaesthetic risks which include arrythmias, breathing issues post operatively, chest infections, complications such as nausea and vomiting.
To Minimise Risks from the Operation
There are many supplements you can take pre-operatively to help with the process. Most surgeons will ask you to stop all natural supplements a week before – especially blood thinners such as gingko and fish oils. Supplements such as magnesium and zinc are ok to take up until the day before your operation.
Magnesium has been shown to decrease post op pain.
I think a probiotic before and after is a great idea and will protect your gut.
For specifics though, seek advice from a naturopath (or me) and I can give you more ideas to help your healing.
If you want to try to keep your uterus, and if it is causing you issues, I suggest doing the following:
Obtain all your data –
Ultrasound: Your doctor has probably done an ultrasound.
This is a great measuring tool. Improvements should be seen on ultrasound if the steps you are doing are working.
Monitoring your periods: It’s really fuzzy and hard to track periods and bleeding in your head.
Use an ap like period tracker, or monitor on a graph and see what is actually happening over time. Are there correlations to other activities (eg feeling run down, travel, working long hours).
Saliva testing: Measure your hormones on an accurate saliva test. The most accurate method and recommended by World Health Organisation. This is also my preferred method of testing sex hormones. You will be out of pocket for the test but well worth it in the long run. This is a link to order yours.
When you come and see me, (or do one of my programs on line) we measure your hormones (using saliva testing), conduct a hair test, look at all variables, and options.
You may still elect to have a hysterectomy but we can explore all options.
In terms of opinions, I would recommend seeking out a few opinions.
Seek out a good Naturopath’s advice.
Consider Acupuncture and other body work specialists.
You can try supplements to see if they help with the issue.
Above all, have an empathetic Doctor. One who is willing to list the pros and cons and help you come to your own decision.
Be mindful that when you are referred to a surgeon (gynaecologists are surgeons) that it is likely they will recommend surgery.
They specialise in this area to do surgery. Expecting natural medicine advice from a surgeon is unrealistic. So be prepared when you go to an appointment with one, it will likely result in being recommended an operation, or a “let’s wait and see and catch up in a few months..”. Don’t feel pressured into an operation. The doctor is just giving you their surgical opinion.
Do what is right for you.
If you struggle, please reach out and I will see if I can assist.
A hysterectomy is like getting a tattoo. Once it’s done, you can’t reverse it!
Take your time to make the best decision for you and you alone.