Is It A Period, Or Something More?
Women expect a regular menstrual cycle, with a period and occasional cramping lasting a few days. However, excessive bleeding outside the scheduled window can cause pain and discomfort. More importantly, pelvic pain and heavy bleeding could be a sign of a more severe condition. Doctors refer to this as abnormal uterine bleeding, which accounts for 20% of all gynecologic visits. Irregular bleeding often needs treatment, which may include hysterectomy.
What’s causing irregular bleeding?
During menstruation, the lining of the uterus thickens in anticipation of an embryo. However, several conditions can affect the lining, causing excess bleeding. Do not self-diagnose or treat the issue without medical help. Seek help from an OB/GYN immediately. The OB/GYN will uncover one of several reasons. These might include uterine fibroids, polyps, uterine prolapse, or an ectopic pregnancy. Some women may have endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, or even cancer. From there, the doctor can attempt the right treatment for the proper condition.
The right medication, the right result
For starters, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can relieve pain and menstrual cramps. The doctor may also prescribe a stronger prescription. Prescription drugs help to reduce blood loss and pain during menstruation. Oral contraceptives and IUDs are forms of birth control that help regulate the menstrual cycle and excessive bleeding. Lastly, oral progesterone can correct hormone imbalances. In critical situations or severe cases, both doctor and patient will discuss a hysterectomy.
The last resort to treat the root cause
A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus, which will, in turn, stop irregular bleeding. The operation is the second most performed surgical procedure in America, with 600,000 performed yearly. Based on the situation, the doctor may remove part or all of the uterus. In some cases, the ovaries and fallopian tubes are also removed. After having a hysterectomy, the patient can no longer become pregnant or have menstrual periods. This is often the last resort, especially for women of child-bearing age.
When should you consider this procedure?
Explore all non-surgical means before opting for this operation. If the treatments mentioned above fail, a hysterectomy may be best. Hysterectomies are sometimes the only solution in a life-threatening situation like cervical cancer. While other conditions like endometriosis may not be life-threatening, surgery may be the only way to relieve the pain. If pelvic pain and bleeding severely impact the quality of life, then consider a hysterectomy.
After the hysterectomy
Most women that undergo this procedure have little to no severe complications. However, no major surgery is without risk. Once the ovaries are removed, women enter menopause. After the surgery, patients can even enter menopause earlier than usual. Doctors recommend abstaining from sex and lifting heavy objects at least 6 weeks after surgery. When considering the surgery, here are some possible complications:
- Infection or blood loss due to surgery
- Urinary incontinence
- Vaginal prolapse, where a part of the vagina comes out of the body
- Damage to the bladder and surrounding tissues
- Occasional pain in the affected area
A serious but necessary decision
Irregular bleeding and pelvic pain can prevent women from living a normal life. Furthermore, this could be a clear sign of an underlying condition. Removing the uterus may be the only real solution. A hysterectomy is a serious, life-changing decision, especially for women who intended to get pregnant. Speak with loved ones and a doctor to make the right choice.