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A 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 a hysterectomy include heavy or painful periods and fibroids.
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 your 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 90 minutes.
Your gynaecologist will make several small cuts on your abdomen.
They will insert surgical instruments, along with a telescope, inside your abdomen and perform the operation.
Your gynaecologist may need to place instruments through your vagina to help them remove your womb. They will make a cut around your cervix at the top of your vagina so they can remove your womb and cervix.
You will usually be able to go home after one to three days.
Rest for two weeks and continue to do the exercises that you were shown in hospital. You can usually go back to work after 4 to 6 weeks, depending on your type of work.
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 intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.
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