Medical Advances Can Provide Alternative Choice to Hysterectomy

Many medical conditions can be treated without removing uterus

Renshaw HSMASON, Ohio (August 8, 2016)Amy Renshaw, MD, routinely asks her patients when their mother entered menopause as a part of gathering their medical history, and for the majority of women they simply don’t know the answer.

“Twenty to 50 years ago, it seemed as if most women had a hysterectomy before they hit menopause because it was an answer to solving issues such as heavy bleeding or pelvic pain,” says Dr. Renshaw, an OB/Gyn with the Center for Women’s Health & Wellness in Mason. “It is becoming less and less routine for women to have a hysterectomy because we have so many good forms of medical management for these issues.”

A hysterectomy is the removal of a woman’s uterus. The type of hysterectomy a woman undergoes depends on the reason why she is having it done in the first place. For instance, a hysterectomy may also include the removal of her cervix – the tissue that connects the cervix to the vagina – and one or more of her ovaries – the organ that produces the vital hormones, estrogen and progesterone.

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH)Off Site Icon, in-patient hysterectomies peaked in 1998 and have shown a steady decline up until 2010, when the latest stats were available. Hysterectomies for some of the most common pelvic issues drastically dropped during that time. Those performed for abnormal bleeding, for instance, dropped by nearly 30 percent while those performed for endometriosis dropped by over 65 percent.

Women who experience abnormal bleeding – including frequent or irregular periods – can often find relief through treatments such as an endometrial ablation, a minimally invasive procedure that scars the uterine lining so a woman’s menstrual bleeding is drastically reduced. Likewise, fibroids – an abnormal growth in a woman’s uterus that can cause pelvic pain – can now be removed laparoscopically.

“The removal of fibroids instead of the entire uterus can give a woman options as far as fertility in the future,” says Dr. Renshaw, who practices with Premier Health Specialists.

There are times when a hysterectomy is the best option for a woman. Such cases involve the presence of cancer or when other medical treatments have not provided relief. In these cases, women can benefit from the new minimally invasive approaches. However, most women should work with their physician to discuss alternative treatments and understand the risks and physical changes that a hysterectomy can bring.

Surgical menopause – A woman who undergoes a hysterectomy that includes the removal of her ovaries will enter surgical menopause. This means her body will experience the symptoms of menopause – such as vaginal dryness and hot flashes – caused by the absence of estrogen. 

Hormone replacement – The lack of estrogen will not only create symptoms, but also eliminate a layer of protection the hormone provides to her bones and heart. Hormone replacement therapy can help a woman maintain the benefits of estrogen until she reaches the natural age of menopause. This will require a woman to work closely with her physician to reach the right dosage and within the safest timeframe.

Surgical risks – There are risks to any surgical procedure and a hysterectomy is no exception. Dr. Renshaw says women need to know that while procedures have become less invasive there is still a risk to the organs around the uterus which is being removed.

For more information on hysterectomies or to find a Premier Health Specialists physician near you, visit

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