Total Abdominal Hysterectomy Hysterectomy Procedures
Total abdominal hysterectomy is the most common of the hysterectomy procedures. It involves removing the uterus and the cervix through an incision in the abdomen. While the reasons for having a total abdominal hysterectomy may be compelling, if there is not diagnosis of malignancy a woman may want to consider options short of this procedure.
There are many circumstances under which a doctor might prescribe a total abdominal hysterectomy; certainly the most severe situation would be cervical or uterine cancer. If cancer is diagnosed unless a woman mistrusts the diagnosis, a total abdominal hysterectomy is the only option. If a woman wants a second opinion on the doctor’s finding she should proceed with all speed; cancer of the reproductive organs can spread quickly. As a result delaying treatment could cause the need to remove other organs or could cause the condition to become incurable.
Many times, though, a total abdominal hysterectomy may be used to correct less severe maladies such as large fibroid tumors, chronic endometriosis or continued heavy bleeding. At some point a total abdominal hysterectomy may become necessary to alleviate these problems; however, before that time arrives a woman may want to consider less invasive procedures such as endometrial ablation and/or hormone therapy. Once it has become evident that lesser therapies are not the solutions, a woman may still want to contemplate having a hysterectomy in which her cervix is preserved. A procedure of this sort is referred to as a subtotal hysterectomy or a supracervical hysterectomy.
If a woman opts to have a total abdominal hysterectomy she should be prepared for surgery lasting one to two hours followed by a hospital stay of two to four days. The amount of abdominal scarring will depend upon the size of the uterus when it was removed. Often a doctor can make a horizontal “bikini line” incision that is less visible and more easily disguised. Women should realize that the extent of scarring often depends on individual skin types.
Some women feel that the loss of the uterus dampens their sexual desire and/or sexual response. Additionally, if a woman’s cervix was removed along with her uterus she may notice that her vagina will be significantly dryer. Since the ovaries are not removed as part of a total abdominal hysterectomy, menopause should not begin. However, diminished blood flow to the ovaries or subsequent ovarian failure may cause the onset of menopause at a later date. There are treatments available for any ailments which may result from hysterectomy. Do not be embarrassed to ask your doctor about these therapies. Lower back pain, pelvic pain, pain in the upper thighs and/or painful urination should all be reported to the doctor; as should nausea, dizziness, fever, swelling and/or unusual bleeding or leakage.
Once released to go home recovery from an abdominal procedure will take from three to six or perhaps even eight weeks. During this time the woman should refrain from driving, strenuous activity and sexual activity. She should also get plenty of sleep, eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of water. After receiving her physician’s approval a woman should be able to gradually return to her normal routine.
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