A hysterectomy is irreversible and a woman should only consent to the operation if she does not wish to have children in the future. There are two types of hysterectomy:
Vaginal hysterectomy - the womb is removed through the vagina.
Abdominal hysterectomy – the womb is removed through an incision in the stomach. The fallopian tubes and ovaries may also be removed.
A hysterectomy is nearly always necessary if there is a confirmed diagnosis of:
• Cancer of the cervix (neck of the womb) or uterus (womb)
• Fibroids - fibrous tissue that can develop in the wall of the womb causing painful and excessive bleeding
• Endometriosis - where pieces of womb lining appear outside the womb cavity, causing inflammation and discomfort
• Pelvic inflammatory disease
• Prolapse of the womb.
The procedure is also usually recommended when ovarian cancer is diagnosed.
Many hysterectomies are still performed even if cancer is not present. A doctor may strongly advise the procedure where bleeding or pain from the womb is causing increasing difficulties.
Risks associated with both procedures:
• Heavy bleeding during surgery
• Post-surgery infection involving the wound or bladder
• Damage to the bladder or tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder.