At The Wellness Way, we daily hear from women who are struggling with hormone-related health challenges. Many of these stories are filled with heartbreak. With a different perspective, the situation can go from hopeless to hopeful. To make that shift, it’s important to know why hysterectomies are recommended, how common they are, and how to restore health to avoid this devastating procedure. There is hope; you just need to know how to do health differently!
What is a Hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure to remove a woman’s uterus. Additional organs may either be left or removed as well, including the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and cervix. Following a hysterectomy, women are no longer able to get pregnant, nor have a menstrual cycle.
Hysterectomies can be performed through laparoscopy or abdominal surgery. The uterus may be removed either through the vagina or out of an incision in the abdomen. Each method of surgery carries risks of complications and long-term effects and a lengthy recovery. The typical recovery, no matter the type of surgery, is regarded by OB’s as four to six weeks. However, for some, it could take up to four months.
What Conditions Do Doctors Recommend Hysterectomies For?
When women struggle with period problems, they are often looking for any sort of relief. In some cases, women may try hormone blockers. While they may find a relief of symptoms, they aren’t correcting the cause of the issue, which may lead to further symptoms and dysfunction in the future. Unfortunately, the most common thought is to remove the organ that seems to be the source of the problem, but is it really? This is a question that deserves a lot of consideration before such a drastic decision is made.
Many women suffer from several conditions in which a hysterectomy is recommended, including:
- Uterine fibroids
- Endometrial polyps
- Ovarian cysts
These conditions often come with painful, heavy periods and heartbreaking infertility. While a hysterectomy will definitely leave a woman infertile and stop all future periods, it won’t necessarily remove the trigger that is causing the life-altering condition. There are answers that offer hope for correcting the condition and maintaining, or even restoring fertility.
How Common Are Hysterectomies?
According to the National Women’s Health Network:
- Approximately 600,000 women undergo hysterectomies annually
- By the age of 60, 1 in 3 women have had a hysterectomy.
- Of those, almost 1 in 5 were not supported by pathology, according to a study published by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
- In over 37% of women who had a hysterectomy, there was no documentation of an alternative treatment prior to the surgery.
Trading One List of Symptoms for Another
While a hysterectomy may eliminate heavy, painful periods, it isn’t without a list of side effects of its own. The procedure will impact hormones, even if the ovaries aren’t removed.
Some side effects of a hysterectomy may include:
- Sexual dysfunction
- Vaginal dryness
- Loss of sexual interest
- Bowel dysfunction
- Urinary incontinence
- Organ prolapse
A study done in 2018 followed women who had a hysterectomy before the age of 35 for up to 21.9 years. The study revealed a rise in medical conditions, including:
- 14% increased risk of lipid abnormalities
- 13% increased risk of high blood pressure
- 18% increased risk of obesity
- 33% increased risk of coronary artery disease
- 4.6-fold increased risk of congestive heart failure
- 2.5-fold increased risk of coronary artery disease
If the ovaries are removed, menopause won’t be the gradual change it is intended to be, but rather a change brought on by the immediate adjustment in hormones. While many people consider these “symptoms” to be common, they aren’t normal. Menopause doesn’t have to be so difficult. The common symptoms of a transition into menopause without proper hormonal support include:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness with discomfort, itching, or pain during sex
- Urinary incontinence
- Sleep problems
- Mood swings
- Memory and concentration challenges
- Bone density loss
- Heart disease
Hormone blockers and surgery aren’t the only options. There is another way.
There’s Hope and Restoration: Alternatives to Hysterectomies
Hormones will do what they are genetically programmed to do. If that hormone is designed to grow tissue fast, it will. But what happens when that system is in a state of dysfunction and the tissue that is produced is in the wrong place, as is the case in endometriosis? Or what if those cells metastasis and grow as a tumor of cancer cells? Removing the uterus doesn’t correct that problem. That tissue may grow somewhere else, as in the case of breast cancer.
First, it is important to know what is causing the condition. That cause, or dysfunction, takes a deeper look to find. Triggers can range from dysfunction in an organ or pathway needed to convert hormones into a more usable form, a nutritional deficiency, an overproduction of a hormone, an under production of a hormone, the ability of the body to efficiently uptake and use the hormones and nutrients provided, or possibly an infection. Your body operates like a Swiss Watch. Any disruption to the system can cascade and cause dysfunction in another. But how would you know where the disruption is or how to support it?
Testing. Thorough, state-of-the-art, comprehensive, uncommon testing. Unfortunately, most doctors don’t know what to do with these types of tests, so they don’t order them. They may order tests that give a glimpse, but they don’t have the full picture. Why? Because they don’t know what to do with the results they are given. They don’t know how to support biochemistry, metabolism and pathways. That is something The Wellness Way does and does well!
Fireman vs Carpenter
At The Wellness Way, we often use an analogy between a fireman and a carpenter. We refer to the mainstream medical approach as the fireman and The Wellness Way as the carpenter. If you have a fire, an emergency, you need to call the fireman. They’ll use hoses (drugs) and axes (surgery) to put out the fire and stop the emergency. But the house you are left with isn’t fit to live in, and it’s not able to sustain life very well. They are unable to rebuild the house with those tools. That’s when you need a carpenter.
A carpenter identifies weak, vulnerable areas and helps to rebuild the house so that you won’t face another emergency. Through proper testing and a clear picture, we can come alongside you and guide you on your health journey.
Educate and Empower Yourself for the Journey Ahead
We have numerous resources available to help you get started on that journey. Contact a Wellness Way Clinic to start your journey. In the meantime, check out our YouTube channel for videos on how to keep your uterus happy, and to hear the story of a lady who was able to avoid a hysterectomy through proper testing and support.
Read Dr. Patrick Flynn’s story and how he came to educate other doctors on how to support and restore women’s health. When he was bold enough to say the words I Disagree, women’s healthcare was changed.
To get proper testing and guidance, and to start your health restoration journey, reach out to a Wellness Way clinic today. A hysterectomy and hormone blockers aren’t your only answer. We do health differently!