What Is Hysterectomy?

By  , Expert Content
Jun 20, 2012

Hysterectomy is the term used for surgery done to remove a woman's uterus or womb. The uterus is an organ where the foetus (unborn baby) grows when a woman is pregnant. After hysterectomy, a woman does not have menstrual periods and cannot become pregnant. Cervix is the lower part of uterus which forms the passage between the vagina and the uterus. It is the mouth of the womb that opens in the vagina and forms the passage for birth of the baby.

Reasons for Hysterectomy

Hysterectomy is done for various diseases of the uterus and ovary. Some of the common indications for hysterectomy include:

  • uterine fibroids
  • uterine prolapse
  • cancer of the uterus, cervix, or ovaries
  • endometriosis
  • abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • chronic pelvic pain
  • adenomyosis, or a thickening of the uterus.  

Hysterectomy is usually recommended after conservative treatment approaches have been tried without success.

Types of Hysterectomy

In hysterectomy procedure, all or part of the uterus may be removed. In some women the fallopian tubes and ovaries may also be removed. Ovary is a part of female reproductive system and there are two of them. They produce eggs called ova and also secrete the main female hormones, i.e. oestrogen and progesterone. The fallopian tubes carry the eggs formed in the ovaries to the uterus. All these organs are located in a woman’s lower abdomen.

Depending on the disease for which hysterectomy is done, the surgeon may choose to remove all or only part of the uterus with or without ovaries. The type of surgery done is based on many factors which include your health history and the reason for your surgery.

  • Supracervial or subtotal hysterectomy: In this surgery only the upper part of the uterus is removed, keeping the cervix in place.
  • Total hysterectomy: When the whole uterus and cervix is removed, it is known as total hysterectomy.
  • Radical hysterectomy: In this type of surgery the whole uterus, tissue on the sides of the uterus, the cervix, and the top part of the vagina is removed. Radical hysterectomy is usually done for cancer only.

Women who have not yet reached menopause and undergo hysterectomy without removing  ovaries may enter menopause at an earlier age than most women. If the ovaries are removed in the hysterectomy procedure, you enter menopause. You may experience menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness. Consult your doctor to know about ways to manage menopausal symptoms.



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