A Natural Approach To Health
Living With a Hysterectomy
I had a question the other day about a hysterectomy.
Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of your uterus.
This is done for many different reasons.
A common reason is fibroid tumors, benign growths in your uterus.
More than 30% of the hysterectomies performed in the U.S. are done to remove fibroids.
Other conditions for which hysterectomy is performed include endometriosis (20%) and prolapse of the uterus (16-18%).
Hysterectomy is the second most common surgery among reproductive-age women in the U.S.
One in three women in the U.S. will have one by age 60.
Hysterectomy effectively and permanently causes sterility.
Symptoms leading women to consider hysterectomy include: a constant heavy, bloated feeling; urinary tract problems or incontinence; unusually long and heavy menstrual periods; unusual swelling in your abdominal region (due to fibroid tumors); infertility (due to fibroid tumors or endometriosis); complications of childbirth; cancer; and intolerance to drug therapy usually prescribed for endometriosis.
Many women who have hysterectomies experience significant problems as a result.
The most obvious of these is when your ovaries are removed together with your uterus; menopause begins abruptly, with its difficulties and discomforts, because your body is suddenly deprived of estrogen.
This hormonal loss can lead to an increased risk of bone mass loss, and to an increased likelihood of heart disease, as well as depression, urinary tract problems, joint pain, headaches, dizziness, insomnia, and fatigue.
Even women who keep their ovaries often have a drastic reduction in estrogen production, and menopause comes earlier than it would have naturally.
Another problem common among women who’ve undergone hysterectomy is diminished sexual interest and desire after surgery.
Research shows one-third of all women who have hysterectomies find their sexual desire and enjoyment greatly diminished.
Hormone replacement therapy can alleviate this problem.
Not all the problems following hysterectomy are directly hormone related.
Some women experience depression because they know once the uterus is gone, it’s too late to change their mind about having children.
Also, no surgical procedure is 100% safe, foolproof, or guaranteed.
There’s a 50% chance of at least one minor postoperative complication (usually fever, bleeding, or wound trouble).
It’s estimated 11 women in 10,000 who have a hysterectomy will die as a result of complications.
If there’s a possibility you may need a transfusion because of this surgery, you should talk to your doctor about donating your own blood for use during the operation.
To deal with a hysterectomy, it’s beneficial to:
*Drink 6-8 cups of purified water daily to keep hydrated and flush toxins, whether thirsty or not. Add Performance for electrolytes.
*Herbs acting as natural estrogen promoters include anise, dong quai, fennel, fenugreek, red clover, suma, and wild yam.
*The following herbs may alleviate symptoms of ovarian cysts and uterine fibroids: black haw, dandelion root, lady’s mantle (yarrow), milk thistle, and pau d’arco.
*Eat a hypoglycemic diet.
*Eat plenty of foods high in fiber, like vegetables, whole grains, and high-fiber fruits, plus fish, skinless white turkey or chicken breast, soy products, and low-fat yogurt, kefir, and cottage cheese for protein. Eat starchy foods in moderation only.
*Don’t eat any refined sugar, white flour, alcohol, processed foods, saturated fats, or foods containing artificial colors, preservatives, or other additives.
*Eat 6-8 small meals spaced regularly throughout the day, rather than 2 or 3 larger meals.
*Add more fiber to your diet. Chronic constipation is a known complication of radical hysterectomy. To increase fiber in your diet eat lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and use a fiber supplement to get at least 23 grams a day of fiber.
*Avoid caffeine, colas, dairy products (except for low-fat soured products), processed foods, red meat, and sugar.
*Use vitamin E to help prevent incisional scarring and relieve itching and discomfort in the area surrounding your stitches. Open a vitamin E capsule and apply the oil along your incision (but not on the stitches themselves).
*If you’re considering a hysterectomy, give it close and careful consideration. Seek wise counsel and second opinions. Check into alternative treatments. Remember, once the operation has been performed, it’s impossible to restore the uterus if you find the symptoms unacceptable or unbearable. The results of a hysterectomy are irreversible.
*Consult medical AND complimentary health professionals.
*Do everything possible to strengthen immune system and support ALL cellular function/strength.
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