Hysterectomy is surgery to remove the uterus. After a hysterectomy, you will not menstruate (have periods) or be able to get pregnant. Uterus removal is a common treatment for a variety of conditions that affect a woman’s reproductive organs.
Most hysterectomies are performed between the ages of 40 and 50.
What is a hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy removes the uterus and the attached cervix. The type of hysterectomy you have will depend on the reason for treatment.
Types of Hysterectomies
There are several types of hysterectomies. Your doctor will discuss the risks, benefits and potential side effects of each procedure. It’s important to ask your doctor if removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes during your hysterectomy is recommended. Types of hysterectomies include:
- Total hysterectomy removes the entire uterus and the cervix (most common type).
- Partial hysterectomy (also called supracervical hysterectomy) removes only the uterus, leaving behind the cervix (research is ongoing about the risks and benefits of leaving the cervix intact).
- Radical hysterectomy removes the uterus, cervix and upper part of the vagina (usually for cancer treatment).
How long does hysterectomy surgery take?
Hysterectomy surgery can take between one and four hours. The duration of surgery depends on the type of procedure you have and how it is performed.
Reasons for a Hysterectomy
There are a variety of reasons your doctor may recommend a hysterectomy, including:
- Abnormal bleeding
- Dysmenorrhea (painful menses)
- Gynaecological cancers including cancer of the uterus,ovary,cervix or endometrium
- Heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia)
- Uterine prolaps which may be combined with bladder repair
- Gender affirmation for males who are transgender and people who are nonbinary
After a hysterectomy, avoid strenuous activity, intercourse and lifting heavy objects. Your doctor will let you know when you can resume normal activities such as work, exercise and sexual intercourse.