Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus. Different portions of the uterus, as well as other organs, may be removed at the same time.

Facts about hysterectomy

  • Hysterectomy is the second most common major operation in women of child bearing age.
  • The most common conditions for hysterectomy are fibroid tumors, endometriosis, and uterine prolapse.

Reasons for having a hysterectomy

The following are several possible causes or reasons for hysterectomy:

  • Fibroid tumors. Non-malignant tumors may grow and become large, causing pressure on other organs and possibly heavy bleeding or pelvic pain.
  • Endometriosis. Endometrial cells sometimes grow outside of the uterus, attach themselves to other organs in the pelvic cavity, and bleed each month in accordance with an ovarian cycle. This can result in chronic pelvic pain, pain during sex, and prolonged or heavy bleeding.
  • Endometrial hyperplasia. A cause of abnormal bleeding, this over-thickening of the uterine lining is often due to the presence of continuous estrogen without progesterone. This is common during perimenopause when hormone levels are changing.
  • Cancer. Approximately 10 percent of hysterectomies are performed to treat cancer—either cervical, ovarian, or endometrial.
  • Blockage of the bladder or intestines. A hysterectomy may be performed if there is a blockage of the bladder or intestines by the uterus or a growth.

What are the different types of hysterectomy?

  • Total hysterectomy. Includes the removal of the entire uterus, including the fundus (the part of the uterus above the openings of the fallopian tubes) and the cervix, but not the ovaries. This is the most common type of hysterectomy.
  • Hysterectomy with bilateral oophorectomy. Includes the removal of one or both ovaries, and sometimes the fallopian tubes, along with the uterus.
  • Radical hysterectomy. Includes the removal of the uterus, cervix, the top portion of the vagina, most of the tissue that surrounds the cervix in the pelvic cavity, and may include the removal of the pelvic lymph nodes. This is done in some cases of cancer.
  • Supracervical hysterectomy (partial or subtotal hysterectomy).Removal of the body of the uterus while leaving the cervix intact.

The type of hysterectomy performed and the technique used to perform the procedure will be determined by your physician, based upon your particular situation.

For women who have not yet reached menopause, having a hysterectomy means that menstruation will no longer occur, nor will pregnancy be possible