A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the womb. After this operation you’ll no longer be able to get pregnant. If you haven’t gone through menopause, then, despite your age, you’ll no longer have periods. A hysterectomy is very common, especially among women around 40-50.
Why have a Hysterectomy?
When a hysterectomy occurs, it’s often due to a health condition which affects the female reproductive system and a hysterectomy is a way to treat it. Some of these health conditions are;
- Heavy periods
- Long-term pelvic pain
- Non-cancerous tumours (fibroids)
- Ovarian cancer, Uterine Cancer, Cervical Cancer or Cancer of the fallopian tubes
A hysterectomy is a major operation with a longer recovery time, this treatment will only come into consideration when other, less invasive treatments will not work.
Types of hysterectomy
There are many types of hysterectomy. The type you have will depend of why you need to have the operation and how much of the womb and the surrounding reproductive system can be left in place safely.
The most common types of hysterectomy are;
- Total Hysterectomy- this is the removal of the womb and cervix (the neck of the womb). This is the most common operation
- Subtotal Hysterectomy- This is the removal of the main body of the womb, keeping the cervix in place
- Total Hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy- The removal of the womb, cervix, fallopian tubes (salpingectomy) and ovaries (oophorectomy)
- Radical Hysterectomy- the removal of the womb and surrounding tissues, including the fallopian tubes, part of the vagina, ovaries, lymph glands and fatty tissues.
There are 3 ways to carry out a hysterectomy
- Laparoscopic Hysterectomy (keyhole surgery)- this is the removal of the womb through several small cuts in the tummy.
- Vaginal Hysterectomy- the removal of the womb through a cut in the top of the vagina
- Abdominal Hysterectomy- This involves removing the womb through a cut in the lower tummy
Recovering from a Hysterectomy
A hysterectomy is a major operation. You can stay in hospital for up to 5 days after the surgery and it then takes a further 6-8 weeks to fully recover. Yet, the recovery time does depend on the type of hysterectomy.