I just love this website: http://www.endo-resolved.com/hysterectomy.html ! It has a common-sense approach to many of the questions I have about endometriosis. Today’s topic: endo and hysterectomy chosen specifically for C’s sister. Please see below:
“For many women, a total hysterectomy is advised by their doctors if they have severe Endometriosis. These women are hopeful of gaining relief from the pain and symptoms of this disease by having a hysterectomy. This advice is fuelled by the thinking that if you remove the diseased organs then you will remove the disease. This is not the case.
It is known that the implants, and the evidence of Endometriosis can be found all over the pelvic cavity. So removing the uterus and ovaries will very often leave some of the disease behind. Some surgeons will attempt to remove the disease which is scattered around the pelvic cavity, as well as removing the reproductive organs. But even so, this can still leave undetected or microscopic implants behind.
Some women as young as their early 20s are opting for a Hysterectomy as a means to gain relief from Endometriosis. It is doubtful whether these young women are aware of the possibility of a return of the disease. Then there are the problems of dealing with a surgically induced menopause at such a young age. These women will be prescribed synthetic hormones (hormone replacement therapy) for years, only to have to deal with all the side-effects they can bring.
There are many reported cases where a woman has had a total hysterectomy (removal of uterus and ovaries) as treatment for Endometriosis, only to be given hormone replacement therapy. This can encourage the disease to flare up again, because estrogen is part of the hormone replacement therapy, and endometriosis feeds on estrogen. Of course hormone replacement therapy is prescribed to replace the hormones that are lost because of the removal of the ovaries. This begins to turn into a vicious circle. So hysterectomy is not the answer for Endometriosis no matter what stage the disease is at.
Why is this situation allowed to continue? There are many newly qualified gynecologists, surgeons, and doctors who are still taught that the only way to ‘cure’ Endometriosis is either through pregnancy or menopause. So, drugs are prescribed to try and induce a woman’s body into a state similar to pregnancy or menopause, and if that does not work, then cut the disease out.
Firstly the ‘cutting out’ is done by remedial measures to try and cut out the growths, lesions, and implants. As a last resort the whole lot is taken out and women are mistakenly advised to have all their reproductive organs removed with a total hysterectomy.
There is plenty of information that these doctors could use to alter their methods of treatment, but there will be a myriad of reasons why this does not happen.
Endometriosis after Hysterectomy
If you are a woman with Endometriosis which is severe, and have been advised to have a hysterectomy, then please be advised that this may not be the correct path to take. This may not remove the symptoms. It is not a guarantee to remove the disease. It is not a guarantee that Endometriosis will not return. So why go through the agony and risk of such a serious procedure. There are many women who have gone down this path and have had a total hysterectomy to try and be rid of Endometriosis, and many of these women have seen the disease return.
The alternative here is to improve your general health so that you have a better chance to fight this disease. You can keep your body intact, maintain your reproductive function, and retain the natural chemistry and balance of your body.”
As for me, at one point I was so desperate for an end to pain that I begged my gynaecologist for a hysterectomy. Begged! I’m grateful now that I was denied. While I still regularly battle with my symptoms, I’m reasonably healthy and working towards only having a period four to five times a year. I may have to demand several more surgeries to clean out the worst of the endometrial cysts before I’m through, but at the moment I am in control of my life and my pain. I try to ensure that I only experience pain on my terms and I have all this while maintaining a fantastic intimate life with my husband. Unfortunately I will never know what life in a “normal and healthy” body is like but having control over my pain while still feeling like a woman is, I know, the best I can achieve without a cure.
Wishing you all a healthy tomorrow!