Surgery

Preparing for a Hysterectomy



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Finding out that you need to have a hysterectomy can be one of the scariest moments in your life. For some, losing the ability to have children is life changing, and others face a cancer diagnosis. Thankfully, there are numerous resources available to help you not only prepare for the operation, but also to offer support with the emotional aspects.

Your doctor will be your first source of information. He will explain why you need the hysterectomy, and the options available to you. These are the different types of hysterectomies you should be aware of. The reason for your hysterectomy will determine the one best suited for you.

A laparoscopic hysterectomy is the least invasive, causes less stress to the body, has a shorter healing time, and leaves minimal scarring. With the laparoscopic procedure, the surgeon makes 3 to 4 small incisions through which he inserts the instruments used to remove the uterus. If you are diagnosed with fibroid tumors (noncancerous growths of uterine muscle tissue); that are not too large, this type of hysterectomy is often recommended. Another advantage of a laparoscopic hysterectomy is that it can often be performed on an outpatient basis.

A vaginal hysterectomy is another option that may be open to you. It is often used when the removal of the cervix and/or ovaries is involved. It can be used in conjunction with the laparoscopic procedure. This type of hysterectomy is used if the doctor doesn't suspect any other problems, and the uterus isn't too large. There is minimal hospital time involved with this type of hysterectomy, usually just an overnight stay.

An abdominal hysterectomy is the type that's been around longest. This type of hysterectomy is performed by making an incision in your lower abdomen. If you have been diagnosed with cervical cancer, have endometriosis, or any other such condition, your doctor will most likely suggest this type of hysterectomy so he can check for disease presence in other organs. Abdominal hysterectomy requires a longer hospital stay, and more recovery time.

Once you know which type hysterectomy you need to have; and have given yourself a few days to get used to the idea, make a list of all the questions you have, and call your doctor's office back. Most will have a surgical nurse that will go over everything with you and help to ease your mind. Don't be afraid to ask lots of questions, it's what they're there for.

There is also an abundance of information available online. Sometimes reading too much technical information will increase your anxiety, so it's a better idea to find a support site. One such site is www.hystersisters.com. It is an online community that offers support for women both before and after a hysterectomy. This site, and others like it, also offers comfort and advice for women that need hysterectomies because of a cancer diagnosis. Remember, cervical cancer is almost 100 percent curable if found early, so don't let the diagnosis overwhelm you. Talking about your fears and concerns will make them more manageable.

The place you will find the most help and support will be your family, especially after the surgery. Don't be afraid to ask for assistance with meals, house cleaning, and watching any children you may have.

Recovering from a hysterectomy, no matter which type, takes time and rest. Allow yourself all the time you need to heal. If you follow your doctor's advice and adhere to certain restrictions, you will heal faster and feel better.

As you can see, you don't have to go through this alone. The amount of information available is immense, whether from your doctor's office, online, or through friends and family. Use all the resources available to you, let other's help, and you will find the task is not a daunting as you feared.

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