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Healthy Living for Women
Hysterectomy, the surgical removal of the uterus, is a recommended intervention in a variety of gynecologic conditions, including:
A hysterectomy can be performed using traditional methods or using a variety of minimally invasive solutions that result in:
Ask your doctor for the best surgery option for you. To find a doctor who specializes in minimally invasive surgery, search our online physician directory.
Estrogen and progesterone are the main hormones that control your menstrual cycle. Medicines can help control these hormones. This helps limit the swelling of all endometrial tissue. This treatment may be tried instead of surgery. Or, it may be used along with surgery. Some medical therapy prevents a woman from becoming pregnant. Common types of medical therapy include:
GnRH agonists. These hormones stop the body from making estrogen. They help with pain and may be used with low doses of other hormones to help prevent side effects.
Birth control pills. These prevent the hormone levels from fluctuating like they would during a normal menstrual cycle.
Progestins. These are a form of progesterone. They help keep estrogen levels low.
Danazol. This is a weak male hormone. It stops or lowers a woman’s production of estrogen and progesterone. This is less commonly used. A nonhormonal form of birth control must be used with this therapy.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These are analgesics that help with pain, but they do not treat the endometriosis.
If medical therapy doesn’t control the problem, surgery can be done. During surgery, endometrial implants may be removed. This may help women get pregnant if the endometriosis was causing fertility problems. If a woman does not want to get pregnant, in some cases, the uterus may be removed. This is called a hysterectomy. The ovaries may be removed along with the uterus. There are 2 techniques for doing surgery:
Laparoscopy. This is surgery done through small incisions in your stomach. An instrument called a laparoscope (a thin, lighted tube) is used. It is put through 1 of the small incisions. Surgical tools are put through the other small incisions.
Laparotomy. This is surgery done through 1 larger incision in your stomach. It is used to remove large implants that can’t be reached with the laparoscope. It may also be used when pelvic organs, such as your bowel, are involved.
To learn more, try the sources below:
Endometriosis Association 414-355-2200
Endometriosis Research Center 800-239-7280
Endometriosis can cause cramps and pain during your period or pelvic pain the whole month. With early diagnosis and treatment, it can be managed.
Fibroids are firm, compact tumors made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. They develop in the uterus. Uterine fibroids are very common in women of reproductive age. Only a small number of these fibroids are large enough to be found by a healthcare provider during a physical exam. Fibroids are also known as uterine myomas, leiomyomas, or fibromas.
In most cases, the tumors are not cancer. These tumors are not linked to cancer and do not increase a woman's risk for uterine cancer. They may range in size, from the size of a pea to the size of a softball or small grapefruit.
The cause of uterine fibroids is not known. But, it’s thought that each tumor develops from an abnormal muscle cell in the uterus. This cell multiplies rapidly because of the effect of estrogen.
Women who are nearing menopause are at the greatest risk for fibroids. This is because of their long exposure to high levels of estrogen. Women who are obese and of African-American heritage also seem to be at an increased risk. The reasons for this are not clearly understood.
Other risk factors:
Some women who have fibroids have no symptoms, or have only mild symptoms. Other women have more severe, disruptive symptoms. The following are the most common symptoms for uterine fibroids. Symptoms of uterine fibroids may include:
Fibroids are most often found during a routine pelvic exam. Your health care provider may feel a firm, irregular pelvic mass during an abdominal exam. Other tests may include:
Since most fibroids stop growing or may even shrink as you approach menopause, your health care provider may simply suggest "watchful waiting." With this approach, your health care provider monitors your symptoms carefully to ensure that there are no significant changes and that the fibroids are not growing.
If your fibroids are large or cause significant symptoms, treatment may be necessary. Treatment will be determined by your healthcare provider based on:
In general, treatment for fibroids may include:
In some cases, the heavy or prolonged periods, or the abnormal bleeding between periods, can lead to iron-deficiency anemia. This also requires treatment.
Uterine fibroids may have effects on the reproductive system, causing infertility, increased risk of miscarriage, or adverse pregnancy outcomes.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:
Some women who have fibroids have no symptoms or have only mild symptoms, while other women have more severe, disruptive symptoms. In women whose fibroids are large or are causing significant symptoms, treatment may be necessary.
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