Are Hysterectomies a Little "Too" Usual ? Please discuss...

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by DaisyFace, Sep 20, 2011.

  1. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    I know there was a time when it was common for kids to have their tonsils removed. These days - doctors are not so quick to schedule surgery for tonsils.
    I'm wondering if docs are a little too quick to schedule hysterectomies?

    I went to see a new dr today to get an opinion on fibroids and bloating...

    Evidently, my fibroids are very small - but the bloating seems HUGE.

    The doctor talked casually about how I'll probably be a candidate for a hysterectomy soon...

    and then she said something that really disturbed me:

    She mentioned that it would be great if we could all automatically have a hysterectomy right after the birth of our last child - and then we wouldn't have to worry about it.


    I'm not sure if this is the attitude I want in a doctor. Are we really supposed to have our kids and then have the thing removed? Why is this such a common surgery today?
    Why are we in such a hurry to remove body parts? It just seems strange to me that this kind of procedure is routine treatment.

    I mean - not to get religious or anything - but why would we be designed with parts that need to be removed?

    Yes - I am all for removing cancers and abnormalities causing pain....I just wondering if the uterus is today's tonsils ? And in a generation or so docs will question the wisdom of automatically removing it...

    What do you think?
  2. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I think in 100 years our practices will seem as archaic as the surgeries of the 18th century seem to us now....
  3. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I, too, am concerned about the prevalent medical attitude that a woman's reproductive parts are an automatic problem to be cast off. There are times and certainly there are candidates that require that sort of major surgery but to be so cavalier is very disturbing. Our society has seen the same trend with cesarean sections (both can have major complications). Plus, removing ovaries and a uterus is disruptive to the body's chemistry and only should be done when the benefits outweigh the risks.
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    You can apply that line to every single medical intervention you can think of. medications. Surgery. Xray. MRI. CAT. and on and on.
  5. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I don't think I've ever heard any of my doctors suggest that hysterectomies should be the norm. In fact, both my gynos are very much against hysterectomies unless medically necessary.

    That said, I have heard MANY younger women in their late 30's, after they've had their kids, say that they would welcome that option! I am always horrified at the idea.
  6. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    ...How do you automatically "know" it will be your last child???

    OK, I admit, I've had no real problems with mine. Aside from it being underutilized for its purpose, in my opinion. And I have a 26-y/o friend who had hers removed a little over a year ago due to massive issues. She was understandably sad, but on the other hand, she knew she would have no more kids - due to the fact that her one son was a miracle, and her H (love of her life) was "fixed" after his FOURTH kid. But still...

    I had my tonsils out at age 13... My Mom worked in medicine, so mine weren't automatically removed. At the point they were taken out, they were about to kill me. If someone were to suggest to me, "we'll just remove your ___ (whatever), then you won't have this problem anymore," I'd research it. I mean - everything has a purpose, right? Even the appendix did, at least at one point. And from my IVF adventures, I know that the uterus and ovaries work together to secrete necessary hormones... Thanks, but I will keep it doing its job as long as it can. I do not like having periods, they're gross and yucky and annoying, but the alternative is not having that slim chance of having a child. I'll take them.
  7. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    With tonsils... we got the best advice ever. Duckie was four and having lots of problems (no surprises there, right?) and one of our appointments was with an ENT. She could have had the surgery as she barely met the criteria but the ENT felt she was a little too young and didn't want to risk anesthesia and surgery unless absolutely necessary. He told husband and I that if Duckie were his child he would wait... and sure enough (!!) she had "grown into" her tonsils within a year or so.
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I see her point, but I don't like her philosophy. I've known several people who have had elective hysterectomies, but they had gone for yrs with-bloating, pain, bleeding, and other issues and could not function. They were so happy when it was all over.
    But ... you have to be ready. If you're not, don't let anyone talk you into it.
  9. keista

    keista New Member

    I understand the blase attitude about "just removing it" when you're done having kids. doctors are still really learning the differences between men and women, let alone all the minutia details that makes any particular woman tick. Uterine cancer is missed all the time until it is too late. If the uterus is causing problems 'they' can't figure out, then it has to come out. From a dr's perspective, after treating a gazillion such patients, why not just make it a standard procedure and avoid the problems altogether?

    Hysterectomy does not necessarily mean oophorectomy where the ovaries are taken as well. Hysterectomy has minimal if any hormonal effect and does away with the monthly cycle without doing away with monthly hormones.

    I personally don't think any form of surgery should become standard and usual, but can see how a Dr who sees more problems than benefits of a body part would 'go there'.
  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I can see if a woman wanted her tubes tied after her last child being offered the choice of having the partial hysterectomy. I would have chosen that. It would have saved me years of issues with my periods as my fibroids grew. I did not have the ovaries removed and I still have not gone through menopause. I do not think this should be mandatory or even something a doctor pushes on a patient but I do think if a patient asks about it they should be able to have it done. I had to wait until I was having to get a transfusion to replace blood loss and had to take progesterone to stop periods before they would consider it.
  11. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    I think 10 years ago it was almost like a trend. Every other person that had fibroids or endometriosis was having their uterus out. It was just thought to be the common protocol for these sorts of ailments.
    My cousin has a HUGE problem with fibroid tumors, is very bloated and sick a lot. They told her she was going to have a hysterectomy, but before doing so they gave her a new medication that is out that reduce the tumors. She is feeling tons better, and now the doctors are backing off the surgery.
    So I don't know if it is that doctors "think" these should be done, or it is just what has been routinely prescribed for women with these problems. The good news is that is sounds like there are some new medications out there that might turn that around.
  12. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I am trying to wait until next year when difficult child can drive and hopefully after bowling season to have mine. For now I am putting up with 3 weeks of heavy periods and then about 2 - 3 months of nothing. By the end of the third week, I am often about ready to sign up for it now! I have heard that you are off of work for about 6 weeks if all goes well - no lifting/driving/ ect. for much of that time, thus I will wait until difficult child can get himself around with a driver's liscense if I can.

    When I read the "automatically after the last child", my mind went to after delivery while you are still in the hospital so you get discharged with a new born and are unable to get around much for about 6 weeks. If that is the case - no way!!!! Then, if you do wait until your child is older, when will that magical time be that you can be unable to drive or get around for almost 6 weeks? Not many people have the support to be able to do that and even if they did, your child needs you.

    I think this would be too big of a change to the body to try to make it a "automatic" thing just for convenience sake. As many has stated, each person needs to research and question if it is right for her and never do anything "just to get it over with".
  13. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Find another doctor, her attitude stinks and will likely cloud her judgement.

    Nothing should be removed unless the benefits out weigh the risk, same with anything else you have done medically.
  14. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    20 years ago this was definitely the norm. C-sections were up there, too. It has gotten better. Is your doctor older?

    I wanted a hysterectomy. I was so miserable every month, I wanted it out. I already had endometriosis and two kids, but I was only 29 and the doctor wouldn't do it. He would, however, tie my tubes and keep my on BC every day to try to keep the endometriosis at bay. My new gyn said that was irresponsible. The endometriosis came back after the lapraoscopy (sp) and I was no longer a candidate for a hysterectomy with the vaginal assist - which would have meant much less recovery time. Plus, they would have to take my ovaries and the idea of me without hormones....well, it wouldn't be long til I was in prison for murder. Instead, I take synthetic progestin everyday. I haven't had a period in years. I don't mind having my uterus anymore. I wish that had been offered years before it was.
  15. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Thanks everyone!

    Yes, this doctor is a litle older - but she has such a great reputation....I was really surprised to hear her say those things.

    After all, in my mind - by catching things early, I figured we could AVOID a hysterectomy. Obviously, once fibroids reach a certain size and are really wreaking havoc on your system - removing the uterus is the only option left.

    So now I don't know what to do...

    Second opinion? Maybe...

    I've got to give it some time. Right now I'm still too aggravated.
  16. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I would DEFINITELY want to get a second opinion. In many cases the benefits of a hysterectomy do outweigh the risks, but your doctor's attitude toward the procedure sounds WAY too cavalier for major surgery.

    As for things that can be done for fibroids other than a hysterectomy, there are options. too much information-warning, if you're squeamish.

    I had fibroids which first appeared when I was about 20. My docs monitored them over the years, and by the time I was about 28 I had 2 fibroids that were large enough to cause major trouble -- the size of a watermelon and a grapefruit respectively. Large enough that I stopped getting periods because they were completely blocking my cervix and preventing my body from shedding the lining.

    The first treatment they tried was Lupron to shrink the fibroids. When that proved unsuccessful, they did a myomectomy: surgical removal of the fibroids, while leaving the uterus, cervix and ovaries intact. There were other treatment options that involved treating the individual fibroids, but mine were too large for anything other than surgery. Since I hadn't yet had children and wanted to have them, I wasn't willing to countenance a hysterectomy and neither was my OB-GYN.

    I later had issues with a recurrence of the fibroids and heavy bleeding causing anemia and other issues, so I had a hysterectomy at that point. With a family history of women haemorrhaging due to fibroids, in my case it made sense. But it was the last resort, and only after all other treatment options had been exhausted.

    The "great reputation" may have come from people who want the convenience-surgery. It doesn't sound like this doctor meets your needs, however good she might be as a practitioner.

  17. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Trinity...obviously you had your hysterectomy after you had the twins...or you would have been like me delusional and convinced that you can carry a baby after having a hysterectomy! I will never forget that. LOL. I was in my early 40s when I had mine but the fibroids had scared me into thinking I was pregnant 3 times before that. I was never so glad to get that thing out of me. Of course, the second it was gone I wanted it I keep telling Tony he can be darned glad I dont have it because I would want to get pregnant again.
  18. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Yes, I had the hysterectomy when the babies were 9 months old. After the fibroid surgery, another to remove scar tissue and 2 c-sections, there wasn't anything more they could do with it other than remove it. Honestly, I was grateful to finally be free of the medical complications from fibroids, not to mention not having to deal with painful, messy periods anymore.

    I haven't gotten to the point yet where I want it back. The Monster Tots are fully into the terrible twos at this point, so the thought of another baby just makes me shudder...
  19. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    LOL. I had mine done in September and then one of our friends had a baby girl in November. I was there for the birth. I cried and cried when I held that baby. Thankfully though, Keyana was born the June following that November so I got my baby!
  20. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I would RUN FAST from any doctor who thought that any body part should be automatically removed with the exception of trimming overly long fingernails/toenails. Esp in this day and age. That doctor's thinking was what they thought in the 60's and 7-'s and NO responsible doctor thinks that way or tells a patient that.

    Now I did have a total hysterectomy. partials are far more common these days, but I had really messed up ovaries, a fallopian tube that tried to tie itself in a knot (doctor only found this after he got it out - no one has a clue why and he hadn't ever seen one before) and my uterus was literally falling out because the doctor who delivered Wiz did not deal with ANY of the tearing/overstretching caused by a child who's head is larger than 99.9% of all newborns. In fact, Wiz should have been monitored for hydrocephaly but no one even bothered to look for it even though his head was ginormous. the doctor who delivered J and T (different docs due to a move and the retirement of one doctor), was appalled when he went to deliver J - said that Wiz should have been a c-section because it tore me stem to stern and no repairs or effort to make repairs was made at the time - and when he got the medical records from the hospital and the OB, he was furious with the doctor. It was that bad.

    I did a LOT of research before it was done. Most sites online said docs were basically spaying women because they could not be bothered to treat their problems. While it may be true in some areas, the ONLY people I found advocating hysterectomies were women who had them and had a huge improvement in the quality of life after surgery. I am one of them. I had so many period problems, in almost every part of my body not just the uterus/ovaries - a week of intestinal cramping so bad I couldn't walk sometimes, mood swings that made me the nastiest witch you could find, migraines that made me want to kill myself - they made me seriously suicidal because they were so intense and vicious and could last twelve hours or ten days at that level.

    For me, it was amazing - I no longer only had a life three weeks out of the month. I no longer spent one week a month snapping at people and the next one being meaner than a snake. I helped wtih a lot of the IBS problems, it helped with the migraines. It was like someone finally gave me a life, a full life that I could live every day, not just 3/4 of the time.

    That being said, there is NO WAY that ANY doctor who said all women should have hysterectomies would even get close enough to me to use a stethoscope, much less a speculum. No. Way.

    I do think they are a better choice than ablation, largely because I still talk to quite a few women who have ablation done and within a couple of years are back wehre they started. Unless they have changed the way it is done in the last year or two, that wouldn't be something I recommended to my daughter. I would want a doctor to discuss that option with her though, just as I would expect a complete discussion of every option available.

    We are not dogs or cats. For the most part, people are capable of caring for their young, and so far t isn't a big enough problem that we need to severely limit the population growth. Even if that were to happen due to some global disaster, I would advocate vasectomies rather than hysterectomies. Largely because a vasectomy is nowhere near as major an operation as a hysterectomy.

    We were born with a certain set of parts. in my opinion there is a reason for each one of those parts. While we may function well with-o one or more of them, that is no reason to just yank them out. There needs to be a serious problem. Only one of my kids had tonsils removed - thank you had tubes, tonsils and adenoids done all at once. But the infections he was having were interfering with his growth and beginning to cause problems with his speech because he couldn't hear well. The other two had other problems and got those treated.

    Surgery should never be treated like no big deal. esp surgery to remove parts of your body.

    If you end up having a hysterectomy, whether partial or total, be sure the cervix is removed. It can be left in, but the docs I have spoken with have said that in most or all of the cases where they left the cervix, they had to go in and remove it a few years later (usually less than 5 yrs) and insurance did NOT pay for the second surgery because they said it should have been removed in the first surgery.

    I also advocate having them NOT go in through your abdomen - they can go in and remove everything with-o makng an incision in your tummy, and it means a far faster recovery and far less long term problems from having those muscles cut open. In some cases, they start vaginally and then have to switch to the abdominal if they run into some major probelm, but usually you would have had some really hugely major bleeding problems with each period that would have been the reason for the surgery.

    Find a new doctor, one who doesn't view you as a stray dog at a shelter to be spayed to keep the doctor from having to actually treat the various problems that you might have. Don't go back to this one.

    I hate docs like that - especially female docs. I keep expecting female docs to have a better, more compassionate view of the whole ob/gyn thing. I hope that you can find treatment that really helps and is appropriate. I found aldactone, a potassium sparing diuretic, to be a great help with bloating from periods - I would bloat up anywhere from twenty to thirty pounds each period, then spend three days peeing every ten minutes. the diuretic really helped that.