As we have discussed, the decision as to whether or not you should undergo a hysterectomy is a weighty issue. A hysterectomy should be a last resort, but unfortunately it has become all too common and is the only treatment offered. Birth control pills and surgery are often the only options women are given when it comes to “female issues”. Natural alternatives, such as bioidentical hormone replacement, are rarely mentioned as a form of treatment.
The biggest tragedy is that many women who choose to have a hysterectomy are often not informed of the serious risks that come along with and after the surgery.
Here are a few questions to ask your doctor as you are making the decision:
•Why do I need to have a hysterectomy?
•What organ or organs will be removed and why?
•Will my ovaries be left in place? If not, why?
•Will my cervix be removed? If so, why?
•Are there alternatives for me besides a hysterectomy?
•What are the advantages, risks, benefits of each?
•What will be the physical effects of a hysterectomy?
•Are these permanent?
•What will happen to my figure, my weight, my breasts?
•How will it affect my sex life?
•Will I experience menopause (change of life)? Can the symptoms of menopause be treated? What are the risks and benefits of such treatment?
•Will the operation be a vaginal or abdominal hysterectomy? And why?
•What can I expect in the hospital? pre-operative procedures? length of stay? anesthesia? infection? transfusion? urinary catheter?
•What kind of care will I need after my hysterectomy?
•How should I prepare for coming home from the hospital?
•How soon can I go back to work? Try heavy housework?
•When can I resume sexual activity?
Copyright © 1996, 2006 European Institute of Women’s Health.
The best thing you can do as a patient is to do your research and ask questions.