Over half a million hysterectomies are performed every year in the U.S. Up to 90% are considered to be medically unnecessary. Therefore, healthy hormone-producing sex organs are “routinely” removed. For this reason, removal of healthy sex organs is considered to be the ‘standard of care’ for women. If this doesn’t alarm you, it should. The U.S. leads the world in hysterectomies – not something to take pride in for sure.
I should note here that approximately 60% to 70% of hysterectomies include removal of the ovaries or “castration” which is linked to loss of sexuality, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Osteoporosis and other numerous mental and physical health problems. I wrote about my own story regarding unconsented hysterectomy and castration here. I also wrote about how our hormones animate us here and about how the loss of hormones resulting from castration can lead to severe depression and even suicide here.
Unnecessary Cesarean Births
Now, let’s talk about another alarming and often unnecessary surgery being performed on women daily in the U.S., the cesarean. Cesarean is the now number one surgery. The U.S. leads the world in C-sections rates. In fact, 15% of current in-patient surgeries nationwide are Cesarean deliveries. The following data may help shine a light on why so many C-sections are being preformed. The centers for Medicare and Medicaid have found that the average physician’s charges for uncomplicated vaginal delivery in the U.S. is just under $4,500. But for an uncomplicated cesarean delivery, it is $7,000. Hospitalization costs are doubled, going from an average of a little over $5,000 to over $10,000.
C-sections are necessarily exhausting hospital, surgical, and nursing services and as a result, they’re causing an increase in waiting time and nursing coverage for other needed procedures. Consider that for every 5% increase in U.S. C-section rates, there may be as many as 14 to 32 more maternal deaths and $750 million to $1.7 billion in health-care expenditures. Why then, do C-section rates keep rising? Could money be the incentive? You decide…
Unsafe Birth Control
Money is too often an incentive when it comes to unnecessary surgeries, medical devices, drugs, etc. and this seems to be especially true in reference to women. Birth control is something most every woman has to confront and manage in some way. Birth control pills are long associated with well-known risks such as blood clots, stroke, and heart attack, etc.
One would think that after so many years, there would be a safer method of birth control, but that isn’t the case at all. Many women are undergoing irreversible sterilization every day in our country via a permanent method of birth control known as “Essure”. Hundreds of thousands of unsuspecting women have been coerced by their doctors into agreeing to having the Essure coil implanted. Sadly, this form of birth control is not the risk-free procedure that the gynecological community would have us believe. Instead, many women with the Essure coil in their body are now suffering unspeakable pain and serious medical conditions – some leading to hysterectomy.
The Essure coil intentionally causes an inflammatory response that encourages the growth of scar tissue, which then blocks the openings to the fallopian tubes – thereby preventing pregnancy. The problem is that the inflammatory response is intentionally chronic and the metals all too often evoke severe allergic reactions causing the coil to migrate, become misplaced, or even perforate the uterus, fallopian tube, and other organs. Obviously, a variety of problems are likely to develop when a woman’s body begins the fight to reject the Essure coil. It’s estimated that over 800 women have filed reports with the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) regarding the adverse effects Essure has had on their physical health.
Let’s move onto another alarming issue in women’s health that has only recently come to light – at least for those of us who aren’t gynecologists or the maker of medical devices. In April 2014, the FDA issued a safety communication discouraging the use of laparoscopic power morcellators for the removal of the uterus and uterine fibroids. Based on an analysis of currently available data, the FDA cited a risk of the spread of unsuspected cancerous tissue.
The strange thing is that most women who undergo hysterectomy or myomectomy (removal of fibroids only) have no earthly idea that something called a morcellator is ever used. Most have never even heard of such a device. In other words, women are not giving their doctors consent to use this device to splice up their uterus or fibroids. When you consider that over 600,000 hysterectomies are performed every year (never mind all the myomectomies performed), the number of women who may have been subjected to morcellators could be quite substantial.
Unlike the morcellator, transvaginal mesh is something that has been in the news a lot over the past couple of years. Most people have seen the advertisements on television regarding mesh-related lawsuits. The truth is that transvaginal mesh has been labeled a risky medical device by the FDA due to the high numbers of health complications associated with its use. Thousands of women have filed vaginal mesh lawsuits after suffering from the many complications related to transvaginal mesh surgery.
One urogynecologist, Dr. Richard Reid, told ABC news: “Since a mesh scar is quite fibrous and the bladder is very soft, it’s considered to be a compliance mismatch – which means the same as rubbing a piece of cheese over a metal grater.” In July 2011, the FDA issued a formal warning saying that transvaginal mesh was a “greater risk” with “no evidence of greater clinical benefit”. Johnson & Johnson removed its product from sale earlier this year and class actions are already underway in the U.S., Canada, and now Australia.
The HPV Vaccine
As alarming as all the information I’ve shared so far may be, there is even more alarming information regarding the medical abuse of young girls via an HPV vaccine known as “Gardasil”. As if targeting women wasn’t enough, many doctors are recommending the Gardasil vaccine to girls as young as nine and there’s no shortage of information regarding the many serious side-effects associated with this vaccine.
But, perhaps the most troubling thing about Gardasil is the negative effect it may have on the ovaries. At least one Gardasil ingredient, polysorbate 80 is a known cause of ovarian deformities. Another Gardasil ingredient, L-histidine, carries significant risks as well. Because it’s a naturally-occurring substance in the human body, injecting it could have the effect of causing an autoimmune response. It would seem very probable that Merck -the maker of Gardasil- would almost have to have known that the vaccine would be putting young girls at risk for ovarian problems and even ovarian failure – leading to full blown menopause and all the associated health risks.
As of September 2013, there have been more than 57 million doses distributed in the United States, though it is unknown how many have actually been administered. There have been 22,000 Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) reports following the vaccination.
I’ll ask my original question I posed in my title: “Is medical abuse of women the new standard of care?” While I’m not sure abuse has become the “new standard of care” exactly, I’m very sure that women cannot afford to simply trust that their doctor will do what’s best for them. That kind of blind trust is just not a good idea. The sad reality is that we must take charge of our own health. We cannot rely on doctors to do what is right for us. Doctors are under extreme financial pressure and it is just too easy for them to recommend expensive surgery or an unneeded medication for a condition that can be treated alternatively. Research in women’s health issues remains inconsistent, incomplete and often slipshod. Too often, women wind up being experimental “guinea pigs” for surgeons without ever being told of all the potentially life-shattering risks to which they are being exposed.
I’m pretty sure my Doctor did not have my best interest at heart. Starting with the Essure he recommended, than a full hysterectomy later to get rid of the Essure, only to be followed up with a request to be part of a research study. All of which I agreed to because I trusted him. He even talked me out of keeping my ovaries. Ladies we must learn to educate ourselves and stand up for our bodies.
A sad truth. Nowadays, giving birth via caesarian section are being promoted by the hospitals and doctors even the pregnant woman can safely deliver via normal delivery. An eye-opener article.
PLEASE SEE ALSO THIS ATTACHED LINK!!!
Why is the LEEP being left off this list? 1000s of women having parallel symptoms to hysterectomy, complete loss of sexual function, deteriation of vaginal area, loss of orgasm reflex due to partial cervix amputation,…
You can see the devastation its causing from the below comments. Please acknowledge this barbaric ritual in your promotion of abusive female healthcare. We cannot fight this alone.
I recently received a hospital based newsletter which stated that a researcher in the Maritimes in Canada has found a connection between HPV and brain tumors — so suppose that now they will want to be “vaccinating” EVERYONE!!!!
I agree, Robin Karr. Be very suspicious of any gynecological care that you receive: times have changed and a ‘sales force’ may be hiding in the office. At the Salazar v Boston Scientific (BS) mesh trial that ended in a $73M verdict, two of the ‘expert witnesses’ for BS represented ‘branded’ medical devices: Essure and the DaVinci robotic surgery system. The sales representative for BS was a prize-winning sales person for liquor distributors in Texas via his LinkedIn profile. These conflicts of interest are insidious: the key opinion leaders tout the brand as being the ‘gold standard’ and the insurance companies fall into line favoring that alternative because of cost/availability and in-house ‘studies’ pose as scientific proof. What is ignored is actual long-term patient outcomes. (The ‘lucky few’ show up in court as MDL’s or non-disclosure settlements.) And the play goes on . . . and on.
I just now saw your comment WS. Thank your so much! It’s been seven years for me on the 27th and, like you, I remain horrified by the whole thing – that gynecologists continue to perform these barbaric and mutilating surgeries and that there is not mutiny in the streets!
Sally, I am sorry to hear your nightmare story. And then to have insult added to injury and be told that your problems had nothing to do with the surgery. I got the same line from a gastroenterologist after I sought help for severe diarrhea that presented a few weeks or so post-op and never totally resolved. I told my story here on HormonesMatter http://www.hormonesmatter.com/unnecessary-hysterectomy/ and wrote some other articles as well.
I think every woman who has unnecessary organ removal should seek justice. But it is difficult to find lawyers and expert witnesses who will take our cases due to the prevalence of these surgeries. Filing complaints with our states’ medical boards rarely makes a difference since doctors protect their peers.
We need to get the word out to other women despite the fact that they tend to listen to their doctors over us.
Robin, Thank you for another excellent article. It has been 8 years since my hysterectomy and I continue to be horrified by the tactics used by gynecologists and that the “authorities” turn a blind eye.
Sally, I’m so sorry for what you’ve endured. Your story reads like a horror story. There really are no words… Thank you for reading my article and taking the time to comment and share your story here.
Only a lawyer can tell you for certain whether or not you’d be able to file a medical malpractice suit. It’s really difficult for a lot of reasons, but you might want to look into it. Sounds like you are definitely a victim of medical malpractice to me.
My life is in ruins, but I remain determined to speak out and speak out loudly about the medical abuse of women. It’s such a betrayal! And then to have doctors post-hysterectomy/castration act as if there’s nothing “really” wrong. It’s beyond outrageous!
Thank you for signing the petition and getting others to sign too. Yes, please make copies and hand them out. That would be great! I’m happy to hear you feel less like you’re alone. Other than wanting to warn women about the many consequences of hysterectomy and castration, I created my site so other women who’d undergone these surgeries would know they are not alone in their devastation.
I had a similar experience to yours. The doctor said my bleeding was caused by endometrial cancer. He recommended a hysterectomy with ovary removal. Somewhere I heard that ovary removal was bad so I said I wanted to keep my ovaries or at least one. He said at my age I would feel “nothing” from ovary removal. And, he said I “would get cancer of the ovaries and breast if I didn’t have them removed. The surgery was four weeks later.
To my horror I experienced instant, dramatic menopause with no chance of hormone replacement. I couldn’t sleep at all without medication. My strong libido went to zero. There was also fatigue, brain fog, anxiety and my bowels felt like they were in a knot. My life was so bad. I felt terrible and I worried that I could not keep my job much longer at the poor level of functioning.
After a year of office visits with no improvement, I confronted the nurse practitioner. She made light of my problems and said “Maybe it’s fibro myalgia?” I walked out on her.
After seeking a new doctor and having many tests. I was told my symptoms were of no consequence and not caused by the surgery. I found out otherwise when I got my records. The surgeon cut my urethra during surgery but told me it went fine. He removed a benign growth from my sigmoid even though I did not sign a consent and asked specifically that nothing be touched other than the cancerous organ. Tests showed I now have a tortuous colon and a rectocele which explains a lot of things.
The problem is the new doctors were not up front with their findings. I feel they would not support me in my claim that the surgery caused my problems. They called it constipation. This is not what I would call constipation. They told me I was anxious. They dismissed my pleas that I did not have these problems before the surgery; they started immediately afterward. Lately I’ve developed tightness and pain in the chest. From what I’ve read this is a direct consequence of hysterectomy.
It gets worse. I found out from the records that my cancer was at the 1A stage. That is not even considered cancer but pre-cancer. This type of cancer is very slow growing. My life was not in danger yet I had surgery that ruined my health.
I found a doctor who specializes in menopause. She put me on a low dose of estrogen, but I had to sign a waiver because of the CA 1A.
Now that I can sleep, and thus function a little (but in no way as well as before) I feel I need to fight to stop this practice. If women knew what would happen, they wouldn’t trade the slight reduction in cancer risk for: bowel dysfunction, loss of sex drive, brain fog and heart disease. Would they? I know that I am a victim of medical over practice. Your site helped me feel less alone. Yet I feel that something big will need to happen to stop doctors from mutilating women for profit. Do we have to go before congress? Should I sue the doctor? Can I?
I signed your petition and got three friends to sign as well. I’d like to take copy from your site and make fliers pointing people to the petition.
Thank you and thank you for your site and petition. If I had seen them before my surgery it might have saved my health.