Last Updated: November 10, 2016

Definition - What does Hysterectomy mean?

Hysterectomy is a surgery to remove part or all of the uterus. Depending on why the surgery is being performed, the whole uterus may be removed, or only the top part of the uterus. The ovaries may also be removed if cancer or another serious condition is suspected. Women who have had a hysterectomy cannot become pregnant.

FertilitySmarts explains Hysterectomy

Reasons for hysterectomy can include known or suspected cancer, fibroids, uterine prolapse, severe endometriosis, severe pain, and severe bleeding. In some cases, a hysterectomy may be recommended by doctors to improve symptoms and make the patient's life easier; in other cases the hysterectomy may be recommended to prevent potentially life-threatening consequences, such as metastasis of uterine cancer to other organs.

Some women choose to wait to have a hysterectomy until after they have had all the children they want; others may choose to freeze some of their eggs for possible use with a surrogate pregnancy in the future.

Women who wait a long time to have a hysterectomy after it is recommended by a doctor may be at higher risk for future problems such as cancer.

Patients who may undergo a hysterectomy should discuss with their doctors which organs or parts of organs would be removed. Some hysterectomies remove the ovaries as well as the uterus, which results in the onset of menopausal symptoms due to the loss of hormones produced by the ovaries.

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