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Old 06-07-2009, 02:58 PM   #1
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Alternatives to Hysterectomy?

My SIL is planning on having a hysterectomy this week. She's had extremely heavy periods, and they tend to last for 7-10 days at a time, and it is causing her to be slightly anemic, hence the hysterectomy. Her doctor told her to take birth control pills in order to control the bleeding, and iron pills in order to combat the anemia. She only takes the birth control pills every once in a while, and she only took the iron pills once because she didn't like them. But she's gone and told her doctor that she's doing everything he told her to do, and she is insisting on the hysterectomy (partially due to her mother insisting that it's what she needs....).

I think she believes the hysterectomy is going to be this magical cure that will make everything all better for her. I am really worried for her though. I have read a bunch of things about hormonal issues, weight gain, lack of sexual desire, moodiness, and higher risk of cancer after hysterectomy. Should I be concerned? Should I try to talk to her about it? I just don't think she's really looked at the whole picture. But I don't want to freak her out either.... any help would be greatly appreciated!!! Thanks!

 
Old 06-07-2009, 04:52 PM   #2
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Re: Alternatives to Hysterectomy?

Hi Marisuela.

I know it is frustrating to care about someone, think he/she hasn't looked at the full picture, and is making (what we think) is a mistake.

It is possible to have complication free hysterectomies. It is also possible to have problematic recoveries. No one knows for sure what is ahead, not even doctors.

Of course she had options, if she was a good candidate for them. But I don't know what her situation was and what discussions went into her decision.

Will you be able to help her once she gets home?

 
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Old 06-08-2009, 12:09 AM   #3
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Re: Alternatives to Hysterectomy?

Have they determined why she's having heavy periods? It is usually a symptom of something else.

Hysterectomies are also a very over-performed surgery, it's like a cure-all for any uterine problems while there are other alternatives. She needs to make sure the 'cure' matches the actual ailment and isn't just getting rid of the whole works just because it's 'easier' (on the doctor).

First, she should find out the cause of her heavy periods. Has she had a complete work up?

 
Old 06-11-2009, 10:29 AM   #4
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Re: Alternatives to Hysterectomy?

Hi Marisuela,

As others have already stated there are a variety of reasons why women sometimes have heavy periods - lasting from 7 to 10 days.

Though you haven't said your SIL's age - if she is in her late 30s to her 40s up to the early 50s it's not unusual that she could be experiencing the signs of menopause. This may or may not include the possiblity of her having fibroids which may be why there is a heavier than "normal" flow. That said the culprit behind them could be an imbalance in her hormone levels.

I would strongly suggest she put off the surgery & have her hormone levels evaluated prior to doing surgery as well as having a routine exam done to determine if there could be a cyst, fibroid or other growths going on. If fibroids are found - they can often be treated or surgically removed - though again the hormones need to looked at - as it may be her estrogen level is high & could a factor here. Estrogen levels do vary, and can be high in part due to diet, & for other reasons as well.

It used to be that hysterectomies where routinely proscribed by doctors as a cure all for almost anything it seemed - once a woman was done having children - as the male dominated profession saw little use for keeping an
organ that had served it's purpose! They are still performed way more often than necessary & can cause a multitude of health concerns, either because of surgical complications, or because your body has just undergone major surgery & now has to deal with instant menopause. None of those possiblities are what I'd call a picnic & your SIL may be setting herself up for further problems to deal with in the future.

Traditional Chinese Medicine & accupuncture would very likely resolve her problems - as can other more complementary & alternative methods, but it may not be something that she is open to. There is also what is known as
the Arvigo Mayan Uterine Massage (all done externally). You can find info online about it - as it's fascinating ancient healing work with a highly successful cure rate for many reproductive area problems for men & women alike.

It may be that your SIL just wants a quick, & what she thinks is a simple end to an annoying problem. If she chooses to go through with the surgery there will likely be anger & depression, when she realizes that while one issue is dealt with - now more things she never even considered are cropping up.

You can only do so much to try to shift someone else's thinking - so keep that in mind when you discuss this decision with her.

My own SIL went through the same journey a few months ago - so I speaking from experience & knowing her I purposely chose not to get very involved as it is her body & her life! She was convinced it was her best option. (big sigh)

At the very least - read Dr. Christianne Northrup's books on Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom & The Wisdom of Menopause & pass on the books to your SIL!

 
Old 06-16-2009, 03:57 AM   #5
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Re: Alternatives to Hysterectomy?

I had a total hysterectomy in the summer of 2007, due to very heavy bleeding which was caused by endometriosis. I only wish I had the hysterectomy done MUCH sooner!

I have had no side effects for 2 years. Nothing. No hormonal changes.....no weight gain.......no hot flashes....nothing. I don't take anything either.

I say why live with that constant, heavy bleeding when you don't need to, especially if you are done with having children? I've also not suffered from lack of intimacy with my husband and in fact, not worrying about getting pregnant has probably made our lives even less stressful.

It's not that big of a surgery than we all think. I was up and around after only 2 weeks, and pretty much healed after 6 weeks. I think your sister in law is choosing to make her life much easier, and in the long run, it probably will be.

 
Old 06-17-2009, 11:27 AM   #6
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Re: Alternatives to Hysterectomy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockford2 View Post
It's not that big of a surgery than we all think. I was up and around after only 2 weeks, and pretty much healed after 6 weeks.
You must have pretty amazing healing abilities! I'm really happy to hear that the hysterectomy resolved your problems and that you've healed so quickly. I just don't think that's very common (but maybe there are stats out there that disprove my opinion, I don't know).

In my opinion, the removal of any organ is a big procedure. It may be highly beneficial but it may also turn out not so well. It is a personal choice though. Of course you can always suggest other options to your SIL (without trying to scare her unnecessarily), but be prepared to accept her decision and offer your support. I hope all goes well for her!

 
Old 06-17-2009, 12:45 PM   #7
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Re: Alternatives to Hysterectomy?

Marisuela, how is your sister doing?

 
Old 06-17-2009, 04:40 PM   #8
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Re: Alternatives to Hysterectomy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jana83 View Post
You must have pretty amazing healing abilities! I'm really happy to hear that the hysterectomy resolved your problems and that you've healed so quickly. I just don't think that's very common (but maybe there are stats out there that disprove my opinion, I don't know).

In my opinion, the removal of any organ is a big procedure. It may be highly beneficial but it may also turn out not so well. It is a personal choice though. Of course you can always suggest other options to your SIL (without trying to scare her unnecessarily), but be prepared to accept her decision and offer your support. I hope all goes well for her!
I think it's all in how we approach things. I went into this surgery with positive thoughts...but I also never believed in postpartem depression and I suffered terribly from that.

I had 4 major surgeries all due to that endometriosis so maybe when it came down to the complete hysterectomy, I was a 'pro' about it.....or knew what to expect.
But when I had my first major surgery, ( a laporoscopy and then in depth surgery) when I was 28 years old, I was up and around in pretty much the same length of time. I was skeptical that I would have that much stamina at 45 years old when I had the complete hysterectomy, but with no help, I really had no choice.

I just wish I had had that complete hysterecomy at age 33 and when I knew I was through with child bearing.

 
Old 06-30-2009, 02:30 AM   #9
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Re: Alternatives to Hysterectomy?

Rockford2, I can only pray that my SIL will have your same experience!!! She did have the hysterectomy and so far she seems to be doing alright. She hasn't really given herself anytime to rest, so I think she is probably hurting more than necessary because of it, but she seems to be healing and doing well.

Thanks for all of the replies!

 
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