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Abdominal hysterectomy is an operation to remove your uterus (womb). Your cervix is usually also removed. Your ovaries may need to be removed at the same time (see figure 1).
The common reasons for having an abdominal hysterectomy include heavy or painful periods, and fibroids, where the muscle of your womb becomes overgrown.
A hysterectomy may cure or improve your symptoms. You will no longer have periods.
Heavy periods can be treated using oral medications, an IUD (intra-uterine device), or by removing only the lining of the womb.
Depending on the size and position of fibroids, you can take medication to try to control the symptoms. Other treatments include surgery to remove the fibroids only or uterine artery embolisation.
The operation is usually performed under a general anaesthetic. The operation usually takes about an hour.
Your gynaecologist will make a cut on your abdomen, usually on your ‘bikini’ line. They will remove your womb, usually along with your cervix, through the cut. To remove your cervix, they will also need to make a cut at the top of your vagina.
You will usually be able to go home after four to six days.
Rest for two weeks and continue to do the exercises that you were shown in hospital. You can usually return to work after 6 to 8 weeks, depending on your type of work.
You should be feeling more or less back to normal after three months.
Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.
A hysterectomy is a major operation usually recommended after simpler treatments have failed. Your symptoms should improve.
Author: Mr Jeremy Hawe MBChB MRCOG and Dr Clare Myers MBBS FRANZCOG
Illustrations: Medical Illustration Copyright © Nucleus Medical Art. All rights reserved. www.nucleusinc.com
This page is for information purposes only and should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.
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