Let’s Talk About Hysterectomies
More often than not, doctors are going straight to performing a hysterectomy before further examining a patient’s issues, many of which could be solved by a minimally invasive procedure, rather than a total hysterectomy.
“With the number of options available in this day and age, a hysterectomy is always the last resort for my patients,” said Dr. Burt Webb of Scottsdale Center for Women’s Health. “Whether it’s heavy bleeding, fibroids, or pelvic pain, there are many other ways to treat these problems, including robotic hysterectomies, ablations, or by myomectomy.”
Ten myths that can be dispelled regarding this complex and sometimes life-threatening procedure include:
- If you have fibroids, you need a hysterectomy: FALSE.
Alternatives include a myomectomy, which only removes the uterine fibroid tumors, rather than removing the entire uterus via a hysterectomy. Other options include a hysteroscopy, an ablation, selective embolization, or a uterine artery embolization.
- If you have a hysterectomy, you need your ovaries removed: FALSE
- Abnormal pap smears increase your risk for a hysterectomy: FALSE.
- Heavy bleeding is best treated by a hysterectomy: FALSE.
Heavy bleeding can sometimes be treated with an ablation, an IUD (intrauterine device), or birth control pills.
- Irregular bleeding is best treated by a hysterectomy: FALSE.
The problem can be better defined (leading to a safer and faster recovery) through a physical and pelvic exam, sonohysterography (a special type of ultrasound), and a lab work up.
- The only treatment for bad cramps, pain during periods (a.k.a. dysmenorrhea) is by a hysterectomy: FALSE.
This is treatable via many other procedures, including an IUD.
- Having a hysterectomy causes loss of orgasms and vaginal sensation: FALSE.
Recent studies show leaving the cervix in does not aid sexual enjoyment. However, if ovaries are removed, testosterone/estrogen must be replaced to not affect libido.
- Pelvic pain is a reason to have a hysterectomy: FALSE.
Pelvic pain can be caused by problems other than the uterus. You should see a specialist to discuss your symptoms, rather than your normal OB/GYN.
- If you have ovarian cysts you need a hysterectomy: FALSE.
The best tool for evaluation ovarian cysts is a vaginal ultrasound or an MRI. These tests can decipher the type of fluid in the cyst and a hysterectomy can often be avoided.
- An open hysterectomy is safer than a laparoscopic hysterectomy: FALSE.
For more information regarding Dr. Webb and the services he offers at Scottsdale Center for Women’s Health, visit www.ScottsdaleOBGYNs.com or call the office at 480-425-8700 to schedule an appointment.