Endometriosis and hysterectomy: weighing the risks

A significant number of women suffer from endometriosis; Some with symptoms so severe that they turn to hysterectomy as a solution to their pain. While hysterectomy may be appropriate in some cases, it doesn’t always cure the underlying problem. There are other, less drastic procedures that a woman may want to examine before deciding on a hysterectomy.

Endometriosis occurs when the tissue (endometrium) that lines the uterus thickens and grows in places other than the uterus. The condition can be both extremely painful and very disturbing. It can cause heavy vaginal bleeding at any time of the month, not just during a woman’s menstrual cycle. In addition, endometriosis can lead to uterine adhesions, in which the uterus itself adheres to other organs such as the ovaries and / or fallopian tubes. Ultimately, untreated endometriosis can cause problems with the entire reproductive system, including infertility.

The symptoms of endometriosis vary widely in type and severity. They usually occur before the start of a woman’s period, but they can raise their heads at any time. While vaginal bleeding is an indication of endometriosis outside the normal period, blood in the stool and / or blood after sex can also be signs. Pelvic pain, lower back pain, and thigh and thigh pain may also indicate endometriosis. A woman should also report pain to her doctor during bowel movements and painful intercourse.

The symptoms of endometriosis can fluctuate. They often lose weight during pregnancy and can stop completely after menopause. This is because the production of stray cells is linked to the body’s hormone production. However, endometriosis is a chronic disease that very rarely disappears completely on its own.

Before deciding on a hysterectomy, a woman should consider other less invasive treatments. These can include hormone therapy and laparoscopy. However, it is important to remember that the side effects of continued endometriosis can be as harmful as the disease itself and in some cases even more traumatic than the original disease. Endometriosis can not only lead to infertility, but the uterus is known to adhere to the intestine. The cancer of the reproductive organs is also higher in women who suffer from endometriosis.

Therefore, in consultation with her doctor and after careful examination, a woman can choose a hysterectomy. Hysterectomy can take several forms: a total hysterectomy, in which the uterus and cervix are removed; a subtotal hysterectomy, in which only the uterus is removed; total hysterectomy plus removal of the fallopian tubes and one or both ovaries. Many women choose to only remove the uterus, as removing the ovaries can lead to surgical menopause. If you omit one or both ovaries, the body can continue to produce hormones that can delay menopause symptoms. Unfortunately, although removal of the uterus can end the signs of endometriosis in some women, only the symptoms and not the cause of the disease are treated. The ovaries can also signal the body to produce endometrial tissue outside the uterus. As a result, pain, bleeding, and other side effects may persist and additional surgery may be required.

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