This condition occurs when the cells that normally line the inside of the uterus grow outside the uterus.
The female reproductive system has two ovaries, two fallopian tubes and a uterus (womb).
Endometriosis is a condition that occurs when the cells that normally line the inside of the uterus grow outside the uterus. They can be found attached to other organs that are commonly found near or attached to the uterus. This includes the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder, ureters, intestines and rectum.
An abdominal hysterectomy is surgery to remove the uterus through an incision in the abdomen. The incision can be in the lower abdomen along the bikini line (straight across or horizontal). It can also be in the area of the belly button (straight down or vertical). The type of incision is based on the reason for the surgery, previous surgeries and patient preference.
Endometriosis is common and the symptoms can vary widely from minimal to severe. Some of the symptoms include:
The exact symptoms and severity of the symptoms frequently depends on where the cells implant. They are not always determined by the actual size of the implant.
Contact your healthcare provider if you have symptoms of endometriosis. They will perform a physical exam, which will include an examination of your pelvic area (internal exam). They may also order some tests, including:
Your healthcare provider may recommend an abdominal hysterectomy if you have severe symptoms that cannot be controlled with medication or other less invasive treatments options. Endometriosis often improves after menopause starts. This makes watching the condition with periodic examinations an option for some. The treatment option that is best for you depends on several factors, including:
You and your healthcare provider should discuss why you need a hysterectomy and what alternative treatments might be available to you.
Prior to surgery, tell your healthcare provider about any medications you are taking (including over-the-counter medications and supplements). Ask about specific instructions you should follow before surgery. These may include:
If you are a smoker, you should quit smoking, as it can interfere with your recovery.
During your surgery, you will receive anesthesia to keep you comfortable and pain free.
After a hysterectomy, some younger women feel anxious, depressed or sad about their inability to have children in the future. If you have any of these feelings, talk about them with your healthcare provider.
Contact your healthcare provider if you have symptoms of endometriosis. Be prepared to discuss your symptoms and how long you have had them.
What should I ask my healthcare provider before having a hysterectomy?
Before you go home, make sure you understand all home care instructions (including medications and side effects) and follow-up plans. Your gynecologist should let your primary care physician know the details of your surgery and treatment plan.
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