The hysterectomy and oophorectomy industry is growing annually with approximately 700,000 hysterectomies performed every year. The oophorectomy rate is about 70% of the hysterectomy rate. These are merely estimates based on a sample of inpatient data from short-term, acute-care, nonfederal hospitals along with hysterectomy and oophorectomy outpatient percentages published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). In 2003, 8.6% of hysterectomies were outpatient (ambulatory) according to Table 10 in this publication. In 2012, that rate was much higher at 39.8% as shown in the right-hand side bar here. And according to page 8 of the aforementioned publication, the 39.8% pertains to only abdominal and vaginal routes. The 2012 oophorectomy outpatient rate was 36.7% (bottom of page 7). The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports only inpatient hysterectomies which is why hysterectomy rates are typically understated by the media. A 40% understatement is a gross misrepresentation and outpatient hysterectomies now likely exceed 40%.
Hysterectomy is seen as panacea for a multitude of women’s health issues. Unfortunately, it is not, and yet, this perception that hysterectomy is a cure-all survives, largely because of false information from gynecologists, gynecologic oncologists, other medical professionals, hospitals, surgical centers, the media, and women who have had the surgery(ies). Below are some comments I have read and heard since my unwarranted hysterectomy. I am curious what other women were told before their surgeries.
What Gynecologists Say Before the Hysterectomy
- The uterus is just a useless, bleeding organ once you’ve completed your family.
- Well, you can’t continue with these problems.
- It’s time for that hysterectomy we’ve been discussing.
- You’ll wish you’d done it sooner.
- You’ll feel like a new woman.
- What’s your problem? A lot of women have hysterectomies.
- Sex won’t be any different; I’m not operating on your brain.
- Myomectomy won’t work. Your fibroids will come back and you’ll need another surgery.
- We can’t keep checking your lining and you don’t want uterine cancer. Let’s just get it out so you don’t have to worry about it.
- You should not be bleeding after menopause. (Fails to mention that most cases are nothing serious.)
- I’m removing the crib, not the playpen.
- You are close to menopause anyway.
- You don’t need your ovaries since you’re close to menopause (or in menopause).
- You may have cancer.
- You won’t have to worry about endometrial cancer. (Does not reveal how rare it is.)
- You won’t have to worry about cervical cancer. (Does not divulge that it is rare and takes years to develop from untreated abnormal cells.)
- You won’t have to worry about ovarian cancer. (Does not reveal how rare it is in women who do not have a genetic predisposition.)
- Everything has to come out.
- If you have a hysterectomy, you won’t have to take a progestin / progesterone. It will make HRT much easier.
What Gynecologists Say After the Hysterectomy
- You were a mess in there. It’s good we didn’t wait any longer.
- You are lucky you did not have cancer.
- No more worries about gynecologic cancer.
- That (problem) wasn’t caused by the surgery.
- We’ve never heard of that / those problems before.
- You can’t be having those symptoms…you still have your ovaries.
- None of my other patients have that problem. Maybe you need to see a psychiatrist.
- You are just depressed. Here’s a script for an anti-depressant.
- It’s all in your head.
- The patch works for all my other patients. I don’t know why it doesn’t work for you.
- You were already in menopause. You shouldn’t be having any symptoms.
- Your ovaries have nothing to do with your thyroid.
- I can’t help you anymore. You’ll need to find another doctor.
What Women Say About Hysterectomy
- You’ll be fine. You’ll just be a little tired for awhile.
- My husband can’t tell the difference during sex (but fails to divulge that sex is disappointing for her until after you’ve had surgery).
- I can have sex any time now…don’t have to worry about bleeding (but fails to mention she no longer has any interest / libido).
- I will save so much on pads and tampons! (She doesn’t realize she may very well trade those for incontinence supplies down the road since hysterectomy is associated with incontinence.)
- I’ll be fine once I balance my hormones.
- I’ve gained some weight but doesn’t everyone after menopause?
- It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. No more periods. Woo-hoo!
- I feel like a new woman.
- I wish I’d done it sooner.
Hysterectomy Facts: What No One Seems to Talk About
- Hysterectomy destroys a woman’s figure due to the loss of structural / skeletal support (citation).
- Hysterectomy compromises bladder and bowel function (see articles here and here).
- Hysterectomy increases risk of bladder and bowel prolapse (see articles here and here).
- Your vagina will likely prolapse over time (citation).
- Many women report a loss of sexual function (libido, arousal, response) regardless of whether or not ovaries are removed (see articles here and here).
- Hysterectomy is associated with an increased risk of heart disease even when ovaries are not removed (citation).
- Hysterectomy is associated with lower bone density even when ovaries are not removed (citation).
- Hysterectomy increases risk of thyroid cancer (citation).
- Hysterectomy is associated with a 30% increased relative risk of renal cell (kidney) cancer (citation).
- Hysterectomy is associated with reduced ovarian function or complete ovarian failure causing an increased risk for a number of health problems (citation).
- The ovaries of intact women produce hormones their whole lives and keep us healthy (citation).
- Gynecologic cancers are rare and account for only a small percentage of hysterectomies. If you look at the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) cancer statistics, the 2015 estimate of new cases of cervical cancer is 12,900 and endometrial cancer is 54,870. This total of 67,770 accounts for just a small percentage of the 700,000 hysterectomies each year. The 2015 estimate of ovarian cancer is 21,290 with a woman’s lifetime risk being a measly 1.3% which does not justify the 450,000+ oophorectomies each year. According to this JAMA Surgery article on 2007 inpatient procedures, “Two operations on the female genital system, hysterectomy and oophorectomy, accounted for a total of 930,000 procedures (89.3% and 84.6%, respectively, were elective).” These figures do not include the roughly 300,000 outpatient hysterectomies and oophorectomies. Another procedure of the ob/gyn specialty, c-section, is reported as the “highest-frequency procedure in this list and accounted for $7.7 billion in aggregate costs.” Also concerning is that c-sections increased by 46% from 1997 to 2007. Oophorectomies decreased by 20% during that same time frame. The article does not say if hysterectomies increased or decreased. This points to long-standing overuse of harmful surgeries in the ob/gyn specialty.
- Graduate Medical Education requires that each resident do at least 70 hysterectomies. Organ sparing myomectomy (fibroid removal) and cystectomy (cyst removal) are not required procedures for gynecology residents (citation).
The Myth of the “Happy” Hysterectomy
I am always curious why women who claim to be happy with their hysterectomies hang out on hysterectomy forums. You would think they’d be out living life now that they are free of whatever gynecologic problems led to the surgery. Other types of surgeries don’t have dedicated forums and people posting long after their surgical recoveries. Surgeries are supposed to solve your problems so why would you need support and advice once you have recovered from the surgery?
Granted, some of the problems can take years to manifest. Others are more immediate such as loss of sexual function and hormonal / endocrine havoc if ovaries were removed or shut down shortly post-op. The skeletal changes that destroy our figures, backs, and hips are gradual but start to become evident within the first couple years. Many women don’t seem to realize (or maybe they are just in denial) especially if they gained a bit of weight. We can feel the changes before we see them. There are odd sensations (which are uncomfortable and maybe even painful) due to the bones and tissues (as well as bladder and bowel) shifting and migrating “south” via gravity. The figure changes are typically evident long before the chronic back, hip, and leg pain sets in from the shifting and misalignment of bones (ribs resting on the hip bones) and compression of nerves and blood vessels.
The bladder and bowel effects can be just as distressing and life-altering as detailed here. This Medscape article on the long-term effects of hysterectomy has several sections about impacts to pelvic organs (may require free registration to read full article). You can read more about the anatomical and skeletal effects of hysterectomy here. Even though I aged 15+ years in a matter of months after my hysterectomy, I am just as devastated by the disfigurement…maybe more so. And the bowel changes and loss of my sexual self are big losses too! This “Can Hysterectomies Hurt Sex Lives?” article talks about this after effect as well as others. This Medscape article states:
Even hysterectomy alone, for example, without the removal of the ovaries, can result in sexual dysfunction because of neurovascular injuries. Removal of the uterus and ligation of the arterial supply at the uterine pedicles can result in ovarian atrophy and fibrosis of the vaginal wall and clitoral cavernosal smooth muscle.
This “Evaluating Sexual Dysfunction in Women” article cites mechanisms of sexual dysfunction post-hysterectomy as follows:
Scar tissue may prevent full ballooning of the vagina, which makes intercourse more difficult. The loss of the uterus results in diminished total vasocongestion and the lack of uterine contractions, which may trouble some women. Internal scarring or nerve damage from the surgery may on occasion result in pain or lack of feeling during or after sexual intercourse.
The article also cites statistics from the Maine Women’s Health Study (see page 621) showing a significant increase in sexual dysfunction post-hysterectomy. Of the patients for which complete data was available, “no interest in sexual activity” increased from 49% pre-hysterectomy to 75% at 12 months post-hysterectomy. “No enjoyment of sexual activity” increased from 44% to 84%.
If you do some sleuthing, you will usually find these “happy hysterectomy” women posting elsewhere about problems they’ve developed since surgery such as mood and personality changes, weight gain, joint pain, fibromyalgia, bladder and bowel problems, sexual dysfunction, prolapsing vaginas, no longer feeling like a woman, poochy bellies, back, hip, and leg pain, bloating, sleep problems, nerve issues, vision changes, rapidly aging skin, thinning and graying hair, muscle wasting. They may go from doctor to doctor only to hear “well, you are getting older.”
Mood Changes Post Hysterectomy and Oophorectomy
The mood changes, especially for women who have had their ovaries removed, can be so severe they lead to suicide or thoughts of suicide (ideation). Even absent depression, many women report a blunting of emotions and loss of joy / vibrancy and interest in life. It’s as if all the color in life has changed to a blah gray. This article talks about these brain chemistry changes. It’s difficult for people to grasp or fathom how such drastic changes can result from a surgery that is so common to the point that 40% of women aged 45 to 54 have had one (4th paragraph). If you think about the fact that the uterus and ovaries are the very parts that make us female, it is no wonder we feel dead after their removal. If you think of the uterus as the only uniquely female organ (since the testicles are a man’s equivalent of the ovaries), that may explain why women who keep their ovaries oftentimes complain of blunted emotions and loss of femininity.
Also of note in the article on brain chemistry changes is that women tend to never forget the date of their hysterectomies. It is that life-altering! For women who do not connect the dots, it can be a big aha! moment when they finally do. But we still can’t, for the most part, count on them to warn intact women. After probing, some women do eventually admit they regret having had the surgery. But those who “sing the praises” early post-op seldom admit to regret once the problems set in. Granted, some women’s gynecologic problems, especially those involving chronic pelvic pain, are so severe that the long-term trade-offs of hysterectomy are worth it. Endometriosis is one such condition; however, hysterectomy and/or oophorectomy is not a cure so the pain may continue or return.
Financial Interests Disguised as Support
To make matters worse, many of the hysterectomy forums are sponsored by device companies, and thus, have deep conflicts of interest. One of the larger forums, has drawn the attention of a former New York Times reporter for their questionable presentation of hysterectomy information. Here she discusses the deep conflicts of interest between the site’s founder and the parent company, Intuitive Surgical, and their promotion of the da Vinci robot, a surgical tool.
On these particular forums, negative comments are censored, posts about hysterectomy’s effects on a woman’s figure are deleted and post-hysterectomy ovarian failure is represented as if it is natural menopause. It is not. Even more disturbing is the manner in which they present hysterectomy. For all intents and purposes, hysterectomy is a perfect solution.
I always wonder too what’s with women who ask for input or advice and then attack those who share their negative experiences and try to warn them about the many risks and long-term effects. Why is that? We are only trying to save you from a life of never-ending heartache and health problems.
The fact that the “sister”hood site has so many sub-forums – HRT, no HRT, sexual dysfunction, pelvic floor and bladder issues, the road less traveled (long-term problems), separate surgeries, return of endometriosis, aching hearts – is a huge red flag that hysterectomy is typically fraught with more problems than it solves. And some of those problems are permanent and progressive. That is why you see women posting many years after their surgeries even though they may have been “singing its praises” early post-op.
A Surgical Racket
Wake up ladies! We are kidding ourselves if we think physicians don’t remove organs unnecessarily. Or that they are upfront about the negative effects. Is it possible some of them are not aware of the after effects? I suppose that could be the case if they aren’t taught in medical school. But surely any doctor who has been doing hysterectomies and/or oophorectomies for years has to see the harm. And the studies prove these surgeries are harmful. They would have to put their heads in the sand to not see it. So often, women are neither advised about all of the treatment options, surgical and non-surgical, nor fully informed of the risks and benefits of those options. As Dr. Ernst Bartsich, former Clinical Associate Professor of Ob/Gyn at New York Weill Cornell Medical Center, says in “Hysterectomy: The Operation Women May Not Need” women would not choose hysterectomy if they knew the “dramatic and life-altering” consequences.
Another gynecologist who has been outspoken about the deception and overuse of hysterectomy is Dr. Stanley West, author of “The Hysterectomy Hoax.” He talks about how gynecologists are urged to cultivate their patients for the ultimate revenue producing treatment, hysterectomy, in this article “Far Too Many Hysterectomies Still Being Performed.” He is quoted as saying:
It is time we doctors stopped disassembling healthy women. But nothing will change until more women look their doctors in the eye and calmly state their determination to remain intact women.
Another noted gynecologist who appeared on Dr. Oz said that the mantra at Tufts when she was chief resident was:
There is no room in the tomb for the womb.
This article calls out the absurdity of gynecologists treating the uterus as a “useless, bleeding, symptom-producing, potentially cancer-bearing organ” that needs to be prophylactically removed once women have completed their families. Here the uterus is called “a terrible thing to waste.”
This “Unnecessary Hysterectomy: Lack of Informed Consent” article delves into the profit motives of the healthcare industry, lack of regulation of medical professionals, and the public’s misguided belief that medical professionals are ethical and competent. These factors coupled with sexual prejudices and women’s ignorance about their bodies makes women even more vulnerable to medical abuse.
The lure of “less invasive” surgical methods (laparoscopic, robotic) is just another marketing ploy to get women into the operating room. Sure, the smaller incisions are a plus but the same amount of cutting and damage happens internally so the long-term effects are the same as traditional / “more invasive” methods. Dr. Ernst Bartsich is quoted in this Health Day article about the overuse of hysterectomy and how discussions about the surgical methods distract from the issue that hysterectomy is rarely necessary. Unfortunately, we cannot count on our government to address this over-treatment and harm. I recall reading of someone being told by a legislator that it would put too many gynecologists out of business. Another legislator said that Congress does not legislate healthcare because it is a “slippery slope.” There have been two Congressional hearings on the overuse of hysterectomy, one in 1978 and one in 1993 but still the problem persists. The healthcare providers member organizations (e.g., ACOG, AMA) have very powerful lobby efforts / Political Action Committees (PAC’s). Their political action websites, Ob-GynPAC and AMPAC, can be found here and here, respectively. The full gamut of ACOG’s advocacy efforts can be found here. The following quote by Upton Sinclair explains it in a nutshell:
It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.
Three of the most overused surgeries – c-section, hysterectomy, and oophorectomy – belong to the ob/gyn specialty. And even though c-section has been added to ACOG’s Choosing Wisely list of overused tests and procedures, hysterectomy and oophorectomy are not on the list. Notice too that the Patient List includes only one of the five items from the Clinician List. Is ACOG trying to keep patients in the dark? Ironically, clinicians are advised not to screen for ovarian cancer in asymptomatic women at average risk. Yet, gynecologists are removing women’s healthy ovaries at alarming rates!
You would think women’s organizations would want to take on the issue of unnecessary female organ removal. But the only one that has is the HERS Foundation which was founded in the early 1980’s to educate the public about the critical lifelong functions of the female organs. Women who have undergone hysterectomy and/or oophorectomy reported these adverse effects. HERS also provides information on treatment alternatives. This 12 minute video of female anatomy and the functions of the female organs is eye-opening.
Efforts by me and others to engage National Organization for Women (NOW) and National Women’s Health Network (NWHN) have not been acknowledged. The mission of these two organizations is deeply rooted in reproductive choice so they may view the issue of unnecessary hysterectomies and oophorectomies as counter to a woman’s choice. However, by not recognizing the gross overuse and failure by doctors to fully disclose the harm and treatment alternatives, they effectively limit the very reproductive choice they seek to promote.
I will say that at least NWHN strongly discourages women from undergoing hysterectomy on its Hysterectomy Fact Sheet. But why then does it give so much more press to hysterectomy than treatment alternatives? The Fact Sheet gets mired down in questions to ask your doctor about hysterectomy and a detailed explanation of each surgical method when it should be focusing on conditions and treatment alternatives. At least they list the HERS Foundation as a resource. But it’s concerning that they also list Hystersisters. Menopause Hormone Therapy is one of their Advocacy Issues presented as “a triumph of marketing over science and advertising over common sense.” Hysterectomy is also much more about marketing than science and common sense! NWHN states that menopause is a normal transition versus a disease that needs to be treated with drugs. There would be much less need for hormone therapy if there weren’t so many hysterectomies and oophorectomies!
You May Be A Guinea Pig
Did you know that many of the unnecessary hysterectomies are done for training purposes? Gynecology residents in accredited Graduate Medical Education (GME) programs must do a minimum of 70 hysterectomies. Not only that, you may be surprised to learn (as late as the day of surgery) that “your” hospital is a teaching facility despite no university affiliation, the big Mercy system included. With a woman’s lifetime risk of all gynecologic cancers being less than 3%, it is obvious that the removal of female organs is rarely necessary. So why have nearly 40 percent of women aged 45–54 had a hysterectomy? We should also question why the oophorectomy (ovary removal / castration) rate is as high as 73% of the hysterectomy rate as shown in the chart below.
The average woman’s lifetime risk of ovarian cancer is very low at 1.3% and history has shown that ovary removal has not reduced ovarian cancer deaths. Not only that, studies have clearly shown that ovary removal even after menopause is associated with many increased health risks – heart disease, osteoporosis, dementia, Parkinson’s, depression, anxiety, lung cancer to name just a handful. You can see all the studies here. Of course, these risks also apply to women whose ovaries fail after hysterectomy since the ovaries are essential for good health.
Naturally menopausal ovaries continue to produce hormones from the inner stroma as mentioned in this article and hysterectomy with ovarian conservation is associated with reduced ovarian function. Female organ removal is a very lucrative business and no one seems to care about all these unnecessary surgeries that are causing so much harm to over 700,000 women every year.
To All Intact Women Out There
Be on your guard…you could be next.
- Make sure you get a definitive diagnosis and do your own research on all of your treatment options and their risks and benefits.
- Be wary of any procedure that alters the “reproductive” system (hysterectomy, unilateral or bilateral ovary and/or tube removal, ablation, tubal sterilization). Even ablation that is sold as a hysterectomy alternative can do just the opposite – increase your risk for hysterectomy as explained here.
- Keep in mind that with hysterectomy and/or oophorectomy you may be trading temporary (gynecologic) problems for the permanent and progressive problems caused by these surgeries.
- Don’t be lured in by the “minimally invasive” sales gimmick, the “sister”hood, or cancer scare tactics. The high rate of hysterectomies leads women to falsely believe that it is a benign surgery.
- If you are still considering hysterectomy, keep in mind that actions speak louder than words. Be observant of women who’ve had hysterectomies. If you knew them before surgery, you can oftentimes tell they have changed, if not in their looks at least in their demeanor / disposition. If they are a number of years post-op, they will have that altered figure with the thick and shortened midsection.
- Don’t shortchange yourself (or your significant other). You deserve to remain whole. There may be other options available but you will likely have to seek them out. I fell into that trap. Here is my story.
For Women Who Have Had Hysterectomies
- Make sure you understand the repercussions of organ removal so you can make the best health decisions for your altered body.
- Do not make excuses for doctors who remove organs unnecessarily and are not honest with their patients. We deserve better!
- Be honest about how the removal of your organ(s) has affected your life and health. Share what you have learned about the life long functions of the uterus and ovaries. We need to stop treating hysterectomy as a surgery that most women are expected to have as a sort of rite of passage. It is only through open and honest communication that we can make a difference going forward.
- Tell your story to various organizations. You can do it here on Hormones Matter. Consumers Union (a subsidiary of Consumer Reports) and ProPublica have patient safety projects. You can submit your story to CU’s Doctor Accountability and Medical Errors. ProPublica’s Patient Harm form can be found here.
In conclusion, most hysterectomies and oophorectomies are unnecessary and there is plenty of evidence that many women are conned into getting these damaging procedures. As women, we need to see through the con and protect ourselves and other women. These surgeries have risks and long term consequences. Here is how the con worked on me. I am curious what you were told by doctors and other women before your surgery. Please share. You can find all my articles about hysterectomy here.
I am soon to be 64 years old. When I was 47 I decided to have a procedure done to shrink my fibroids which put me instantly into menopause. It was terrible. After a few years of trying natural remedies I got on bio hormone replacement therapy. I felt fine on them for years. I recently had slight bleeding which I then had a D & C and there was no cancer. She told me there would be no reason for me to have a hysterectomy. In the meantime I go to a clinic in a natural type clinic environment Who keeps badgering me that I need a hysterectomy because he can’t continue to give me hormone replacement therapy. Twice I have asked him to just lower the dose a little bit. Yesterday he badgered me again and I told him him first why doesn’t he go get neutered first! I told him I have read up on the terrible things that happened to your body afterwards. He said eight out of 10 women want a hysterectomy I said well I’m not one of them. So far I still have my hormone therapy but I recently read where the FDA wants to get rid of it. Now I need to find another doctor in that same clinic or another place that knows how good compounded hormone replacement helps women until the day they die.
I hope you found a better provider, one who isn’t into removing or recommending removal of the uterus and/or ovaries.
A lot of GP’s /PCP’s will prescribe hormones especially the standard FDA approved ones vs compounded. But the FDA ones are consistent across batches unlike compounded ones.
WOMEN PLEASE TAKE HEED OF DR GOLDFARB’S WORDS before you become the next victim of greedy gynaecologists who fabricate disease where none exists to find easy prey to mutilate for profit and surgeons-in-training at slaughterhouse teaching hospitals…
Women are at an especially high risk of unnecessary surgery
Women may be at an especially high risk for unwarranted operations, since hysterectomies and Cesarean sections also top the list of “overprescribed and unnecessary” surgeries. Of the approximately 750,000 hysterectomies performed each year, 90 percent are unnecessary, writes Goldberg in Alternative Medicine, making the removal of a woman’s uterus one of the most commonly performed unnecessary surgeries. And the risk that comes with an unwarranted hysterectomy is high. “Each year 750,000 hysterectomies are performed and 2,500 women die during the operation. These are not sick women, but healthy women who go into the hospital and do not come out,” says Dr. Herbert Goldfarb, a gynecologist and assistant clinical professor at New York University’s School of Medicine, in Null’s Woman’s Encyclopedia Of Natural Healing.
Teresa, Thank you for the words of warning. Dr. Goldfarb, Dr. Ernst Bartsich and Dr. Stanley West are a few gynecologists that have been outspoken about the overuse and harm of hysterectomy. It’s troubling and shameful that a specialty that should preserve and improve women’s health do the exact opposite at epidemic proportions.
And a number of hysterectomy forums are complicit as they censor posts and ban users who share the facts of the aftermath. It’s a very demented “sisterhood.”
Hi, your insights are great, however, what you share is not what everyone else goes through
You have to accept that there are positive experiences coming out of this, and that those that post on the forums such as Facebook, are not hanging in there because they are desperate. Otherwise, they would be lashing out left, right and centre about their bad experiences
Not all your comments make sense, but I do appreciate that some women have a tough time with it.
All the best to you
You need a Facebook presence. Hystersisters 2.0 just kicked me off for saying don’t do it unless your life is in danger.
People are going on there asking for advice … no wonder 90% of the stories they get there is how “fabulous” it is … such bull and scientifically proven incorrect. I wonder how many people go ahead based on their rosy advice.
I will help with raising the social media awareness.
I didn’t get one btw.
I’m so glad you didn’t get a hysterectomy Victoria.. I wasn’t so lucky. A group of criminal doctors colluded together in fabricating I had a number of non-existent problems, including non-existent cancer, and bullied me into a radical hysterectomy, removing all my healthy female organs, and healthy lymph nodes because they needed guinea pigs for surgeons-in-training at a teaching hospital. These bad apples fabricate disease where none exists to find trusting, unsuspecting women to exploit for personal gain. They botched the surgery leaving me severely harmed, immobilized and traumatized. They destroyed my health and my life is a living nightmare. All for nothing. All my mutilated organs had been healthy.. A surgical racket which is rampant in the gynaecological industry. And Victoria, I’m so glad you see HysterSisters for who they truly are. They get subsidized by the gynaecological industry to promote and sell hysterectomies to unsuspecting women with their deceptive marketing and misinformation…
The “sisters” threatened to kick me off because I was angry at my surgeon for castrating me against my stated wishes.
I don’t regret my hysterectomy as much as I regret going to the only Ob-Gyn in my county to have it done. The heavy menstrual bleeding caused by fibroids was destroying my life and my health, but other than the fibroids, and the rectocele I had, I had no other gynecological issues.
I did not find out until 4 months after my TAHBSO that there was no medical indications for removing my ovaries, and I did not find out until 6 months after my surgery that the surgeon decided to remove my ovaries because “the average woman reaches menopause at 51, and the average woman has a 1% lifetime risk of developing and dying from ovarian cancer”, and that he believed that leaving even healthy ovaries when doing a hysterectomy for benign reasons was substandard care.
The surgeon told the state board of health that he didn’t know I wanted to keep my ovaries if they were healthy, and if he had known, he would have cancelled my surgery. The Ob-Gyn, the surgeon’s partner, who referred me to the surgeon documented in my medical records that I wanted to keep my ovaries and that I did not want HRT at the time he referred me to his partner.
Connie – I am sorry that you were also subjected to this cruel treatment (castration) by a doctor who, as a gynecologist, is supposed to be an expert in women’s health. In my opinion, I cannot believe that he and every other gynecologist would not know about the lifelong functions of the ovaries and the harm caused by their removal as it has been shown over and over in the medical literature. It is time that these doctors who are intentionally harming women at alarming rates be held accountable for their misdeeds / malpractice. This egregious harm would never prevail in men’s health. The malpractice awards would be HUGE. However, I suspect that more men are having their prostates unnecessarily removed due to the marketing and high costs of the da Vinci robot. But you can bet they would NEVER remove testicle(s) just because.
Circumcision is a medical racket to harm and mutilate men sexually. I see parallels in the blatant way this is defended and perpetuated by parts of the US medical community.
Apart from commercial interest I perceive elements of control, exercise of power and sadism in these practices.
Love to you all.
Hysterectomy no doubt has elements of control, power and sadism along with greed.
Victoria – Hormones Matter has a Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/HormonesMatter/.
I didn’t get one either and it was not easy. I was dropped for non-compliance, offered hormones as a temporary solution. which I refused as fibroids will typically grow, and was treated poorly by those whom I sought out for help. I went outside the specialty after stumbling across UFE. Never did one GYN tell me of this viable procedure for fibroids. It worked wonders. Saved my uterus, hormone and endocrine system and fibroid shrank 89%.
You really need to start a Facebook group / I just got booted – fast – from hystersisters 2.0 (has a lot of members) for basically saying think twice about this procedure if your life is not in jeopardy.
A lot of women go on there for advice – which is SCARY. Now I know why it’s mostly “rosy” stories … when it is scientifically proven it’s NOT a great experience – and unnecessary if cancer is not involved.
Victoria – I too was booted off Hystersisters for my honesty – evil site to say the least! They are very sneaky because I could see my posts if I was logged on but realized that they weren’t visible to anyone else! The founder / owner of the site has gone before the FDA with Intuitive Surgical (da Vinci robot). I suspect they paid her handsomely for it. Disgusting!!!!
I am almost speechless after reading of all the women here who have suffered horribly because of lies given to them 🙁 I am so sorry to hear how you have all suffered.
As for myself, just 3 months ago in November 2017 I found out that I have a 15 cm fibroid. Yes, 15 cm. It’s pretty darn big. My ob doctor gave me 4 options: 1. Do nothing 2. Get an UAE 3. Try Lupron 4. Get an abdominal hysterectomy. As it turns out, I’m not sure that I can do nothing since this thing is getting bigger. I tried to get an UAE, but I’m not a candidate because my fibroid is too large. Lupron seems to have a lot of very bad side effects, and then even with that, it might not work at shrinking the fibroid. I thought, OK, guess I’m stuck with getting the hysterectomy. However, I had concerns after reading about bladder and bowel problems, ovarian failure, extreme fatigue, etc. I told my ob doctor about these concerns and he told me that my concerns were unfounded and that none of these things happen, and it they did, it was very rare. Still, these concerns never left me. And then I saw another doctor this past Friday (2-16-18). She told me, don’t worry and just take it out and why should I suffer? But, perhaps God sent someone my way to warn me because her nurse had a hysterectomy 4 years ago (and this nurse looks around 33 or 35 years old). So, I asked her about my concerns. She told me that she didn’t have any bowel problems. However, she told me that she had hot flashes and mood swings. She also said that at first she didn’t have any bladder issues, but that the bladder issues came later. Her bladder issues were so bad that she had to get surgery to help fix it. She also said that bladder issues were very common after a hysterectomy. After I met this nurse, I said to myself that all of my concerns were not unfounded and that there was no way in hell that I’m going through with my scheduled surgery in March 2018. Also, finding this website helped seal the deal for me. I have also been trying to find a way to shrink this fibroid naturally some how. I have come across several articles about a couple of studies where green tea extract reduced the size of a woman’s fibroid by an average of 34%. So right now, I’m going to try this green tea extract to see if that will help me and I will be praying to God every single day that he’ll hear my prayers and that my fibroid will shrink. I’d rather live with the wacked out periods that I have now and this discomfort from the fibroid than to go through the hell that so many women have gone through because of an unnecessary procedure. By the way, I am 48. And from all the research I have done lately, I have come across a book called “The Hysterectomy Hoax.” It’s coming tomorrow in the mail. I heard it’s an amazing book that talks about different options. And a final note, I haven’t told and officially cancelled my surgery, but I WILL. I am not sure what the doctor will say, it probably will not be pretty.
Rachel – Have you been able to shrink your fibroid or have it removed? Did you look into myomectomy?
What can i do? I have tried bc, progestrine only, the depo shots, D&Cs, novasure, I dont have internal fibroids, i dont have endo, i dont have cancer at least not last time i went. What i have is a very long ongoing perimenopause. I started my periods at 11, since day one they were heavy and clotty. I had nothing but a miserable life because of them. Once i hit 40 they got worse, by 45 i was bleeding out every 19 days and in the ER again. Novasure actually helped for 5 years i had no spotting no periods nothing, we hoped it would get me to menopause since i had it at 46. Not so though 5 years later its all coming back and im 51 now!
There is a good chance i wont see menopause till 60, no way i can go a decade like this! Hysterectomy is my only option, im estrogen dominant had milk duct cancer in 2000, birth control is out of the question. Progestrine and progesterones only make me bleed more. I agree many hysterectomies should not be done. But i think in cases where there is no controlling the bleeding because the problem is one of radical up and down hormones and perimenopause not fibroids and things you can physically treat what options do you have when the hormones they give make it worse? I will be talking to my doctor i understand it will be a huge invasive surgery, and i will have a lot of problems adjusting. But i am seriously house bound now. I cant even go to the store to grab a gallon of milk. Im tired of transfusions and iron infusions i will take my chances with a hyst.
Dina – That does sound miserable! Have you tried the non-hormonal medication, tranexamic acid (brand name Lysteda) to reduce your bleeding? Have you been tested for a bleeding / clotting disorder? It seems many gynecologists overlook this or do not check for it for some reason.
HYSTERECTOMY IS A RACKET ESPECIALLY HERE IN AUSTRALIA…
I’M SO OUTRAGED… THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE ARE IN PAIN AND HAVE BEEN ON THE PUBLIC HOSPITAL WAITING LIST FOR YEARS AND HERE ARE A GROUP OF PSYCHOPATHS DELIBERATELY FABRICATING CANCER AND TRICKING HEALTHY WOMEN INTO UNNECESSARY RADICAL HYSTERECTOMIES AT MONASH MEDICAL CENTRE, PUTTING THEM IN AS AN EMERGENCYWHEN THEY HAVE NOTHING WRONG… AFTER BOTCHING THE SURGERY BECAUSE THESE INCOMPETENT QUACKS ARE USING THEM FOR TRAINING PRACTICE THEY THROW THE PATIENT AWAY LIKE A PIECE OF GARBAGE… THEY GOT WHAT THEY WANTED… HEALTHY WOMEN TO BE EXPLOITED FOR TRAINING MATERIAL AND EXPERIMENTATION, USED AS GUINEA PIGS TO LEARN LAPAROSCOPIC AND ROBOT SURGERY ON… THESE ARE NOT DOCTORS…. THEY ARE CRIMINALS IN WHITE COATS COMMITTING FRAUD AND CRIMINAL MALPRACTICE…
DOCTORS DESTROY HEALTH AND NOBODY GIVES A DAMN….
It’s sickening and appalling that this epidemic is allowed to continue!
You guys hate hysterectomies i get it. But are there not times they are of a benefit? Do you expect women to suffer with transfusions and pain and not leave the house? If a hysterectomy can fix a problem that nothing else has is that such a bad thing? Dont you think many of us would rather not have a hyst, the fact that there are women nothing outside of a hysterectomy can help is real. You tell me some miracle where i can have a life and not be bleeding to death every 19 days, and ill do it.
Please research, research, research. Hysterectomy should be your last resort, and if it is, so be it. But please, educate yourself as much as possible as I can guarantee that most doctors won’t do it for you. Have your blood clotting factors been checked? Just a thought….I wish you all the best. We are all speaking from experience here. I hope there is a happy ending to your problem, whatever solution is performed. Blessings to you.
A good friend of mine recently had a hysterectomy and now has chronic fatigue and thyroid dysfunction that she attributes to old age. She’s 44. Thank you, WS for sharing your eye-opening astonishing knowledge. I’m forever grateful to you.
Here is a tidbit of information not well known in the non-medical community. OB/Gynecologists have the highest malpractice insurance than any other medical specialty. They can hardly make enough money to pay for that so what do you think they are going to do to sustain their career? Hmmm. Perform malpractice to pay for malpractice insurance. Genius.
Yes, that’s part of the problem. But sadly, not all states even require that they have malpractice insurance. So women who file suit may not get any monetary compensation if, on the unlikely chance, they even win which very few ever do. I was told that the removal of all my organs for a benign ovarian cyst was the “standard of care” so no one would take my case!
I found an attorney to take my case only to learn that the doctor did not carry medical liability insurance, yet he was allowed to walk into the hospital and perform a total hysterectomy on me without my consent. Anything and everything is the standard of care when it comes to gynecology.
Kathy, I’m sorry to hear this! It’s astonishing that doctors don’t have to carry malpractice insurance. And there are ways to shield their assets from malpractice too. I’m not sure what states don’t require malpractice insurance but I know Michigan is one. And many that require insurance don’t enforce it or minimums are woefully inadequate.
You’re right that gynecologists can get away with harming women at alarming rates that would be blatantly malpractice in every other specialty. It’s time women start speaking out about this gender biased lucrative industry.
WS, yes Michigan is where it happened! I was shocked to learn that there is no law that doctors have to carry medical liability insurance. I even called the state medical board to confirm it, and the director told me that even though there’s no law requiring malpractice insurance, that most doctors carry it because they can’t get hospital privileges without it. However, that’s not true because then I also learned that to get around that, the hospital allows them hospital privileges if they put $100k in a fund that the hospital keeps in case the doctor is sued. The 100k is only used to defend the doctor, so anyone who files a lawsuit can only get what is left over of the 100k when the suit is over (which is not much if any). If the doctor agrees to fight the lawsuit, the hospital takes over the lawsuit and hires multiple doctors to come to court and lie and if the doctor wins (which they do most of the time) the hospital picks up all the costs and reimburses the doctor for the $100k (making it to the doctor’s benefit to fight it). Every law is in place to protect the doctor and not the patient. It’s a long story, but it was a nightmare getting mutilated by a gynecologist and then it was another nightmare suing the creep.
Kathy, I recall hearing these details about malpractice in Michigan. What a joke that hospitals will “cover” uninsured doctors for a measly $100,000, most / all of which ends up being spent defending them if/when they’re sued. The patient’s left harmed with no recourse!
That’s exactly right, the patient is left harmed with no recourse and these doctors bank on it. They know they will get away with anything they do.
Another tidbit in Michigan is that if you have ever seen the doctor at his office, and then he performs surgery on you at the hospital, you cannot sue the hospital, only the doctor. They have every angle covered. If you ever go into ER and they ask you if you have a doctor, say NO.
Yeah/ How much investment went into davinci robots ?
HysterSisters do not want women to know that their real business is “Healthcare Equipment and Services.” They pose as a “Woman-to-Woman Hysterectomy Support” group while they are peddling hysterectomy, medical devices and gynecologist referrals to unsuspecting women.
This is such a well written and comphrensive article. My hysterectomy has destroyed my body; physically, sexually and emotionally. I feel as if I’ve had two lives. One pre and one post hysterectomy. Doctors take an oath to do no harm, but that is a joke. The benefit of hysterectomy definitely doesn’t out weigh the risks for most women. Everything my doctor told me was a lie. Doctors are making money and destroying the lives of so many women. Hysterectomy should be illegal except in cases of cancer or severe uterine prolapse. The informed consent I signed was totally lacking and failed to detail the true after effects that turned my life upside down. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t wish I could go back to that day and change the course of my life. After hysterectomy, most women go on to suffer in silence due to embarrassment and the lack of accountability in the medical community. I was told by my OBGYN that I will “just have to live with it”. I’ve got many years of suffering ahead of me.
CW, Thank you for the compliment. I’m so very sorry that you too were railroaded into this horrific surgery! I couldn’t have said it better about having two lives – one pre and one post hysterectomy and how hysterectomy destroyed everything about me and my life. I’m almost 11 years post-op and I’m still shocked that these doctors continue to get away with their lies and destruction of so many women’s and families’ lives. I’m also angry at the women who could have warned me (and other women) but chose / choose to stay silent. Shame on them! Even some hysterectomy forums are guilty of misrepresentation by censoring posts. Correspondence with women’s health groups, legislators and ethical medical professionals haven’t made a difference either. Why does no one care?? If this was happening to men, it wouldn’t last long at all because medical malpractice would take care of it.
It would be great if you would write your story for Hormones Matter. We need more hysterectomy stories. There’s a link on the website if you’re interested.
CW -you are so right !I agree -Hysterectomy should be illegal except in cases of cancer or severe uterine prolapse ! Doctors makes money on our suffering
CW I totally understand what you said. My life has been so destroyed that I feel like an alien. I knew nothing about unnecessary hysterectomies here in Australia and the dirty tricks unscrupulous doctors use to frighten healthy women into unnecessary radical hysterectomies.. Fabricating cancer has been going on for decades to lure women into unnecessary hysterectomies. Dr Stanley West said the only true reason for a hysterectomy is when a women has PROVEN cancer and even then he said not all women with cancer needs radical surgery.. He emphasized the word “PROVEN” as he is aware that the cancer word is used to frighten women into radical hysterectomies they don’t need. The whole system sided with the butchers who slaughtered me and did everything to discredit and slander me while telling me the doctors did NO wrong… If one person had told me to beware of gynaecologists, especially if they want to do any type of procedure on you. Much of what they do is a scam, done for greed. It is a shame so many women fall for the lies and deceptions that hysterectomies are harmless..
today is Sunday jan 1 2017 iam do to have my uterus removed Tuesday morning at 7:45 am that definitely won’t be happening thanks to all for their input….I have severe anemia do to heavy periods and fibroids which has enlarged my uterus to 11centimeters but because of all the research I’ve done TODAY I CHANGE MY MIND….iam gonna have to find away to help myself but iam very GREATFUL for all the evidence that this won’t have to happen to me….iam so sorry to ALL THE WOMEN who have had to endure this I thank you for helping me make a life decision thank you all !!!
Brenda, I am so happy to hear you found this article before your surgery! I’m curious how your surgeon or his/her office responded when you cancelled. Is the heavy bleeding and anemia your only (or main) symptom? Were you ever offered tranexamic acid / Lysteda? It’s a non-hormonal prescription medication that’s typically very effective at reducing bleeding. Unfortunately, it seems many gynecologists fail to offer it to their patients. Best of luck getting treatment that restores your health instead of causing new or more problems.
Hi there, I have left my situation now for a year and a half, and Im still struggling as I have 2 fibroids on my uterus. I was also told I will feel like a new person after I do a partial hysterectomy. But reading all this has certainly made me more fearfull. I teach hip hop dancing and was woried that I would struggle thereafter not been able to teach as i did before.
I wanted to just remove the fibroids first hoping they never come back, but the Gaeny says you dont want anymore kids so why bother as they can grow back. Would really apprecaite some feedback on theis.
Dorothy, I’m sorry you’re being told to have a hysterectomy! What sort of gynecologic symptoms are you having? Are you sure the fibroids are the cause? What testing has been done to confirm that? What other treatments have you tried?
While hysterectomies are commonly done for fibroids, hysterectomy isn’t necessary since surgeons with good myomectomy or hysteroscopic skills can remove the fibroids without removing your uterus. (Small fibroids can be removed via hysteroscopic resection and larger ones via myomectomy.) Yes, it’s possible they’ll grow back but there’s a good chance they won’t too especially if you are close to menopause. I don’t know the percent chance of them growing back but the uterus has life long functions (far more than having children) so you don’t want to lose it unless it’s absolutely necessary. And there may be ways (diet changes and possibly supplements or medications) to reduce the chances of them growing back.
Having had a hysterectomy 10 years ago that I regret every single day, I would do EVERYTHING in my power to avoid this surgery that is inherently destructive. Please read my other articles here to understand the importance of the uterus (and ovaries) – https://www.hormonesmatter.com/author/ws/.
Best of luck to you and please write back with any questions or updates.
I am fighting right now. I have a 15cm fibroid that causes me NO issue No pain no crazy bleeding but it has cystic degeneration so they have pushed me hard to have the hysterectomy . The first Ob I saw told me I had cancer and was doing a TAH taking my Ovaries because and I quote “your almost 50 you do not need them anyway” When he told me I have cancer I said I DO? he said you might. I said so you do not know. he said neither do you. I asked about blood work NO they do not do that I asked about a biopsy NO they do not do that. I went to another Doctor he said no worries you do not have cancer but wanted to do the hysterectomy anyway. On to #3 she made me wait 5 months because she did not think there was any concern, I asked her to do the myomectomy because she is acclaimed for it , But was told NO . at 48 my uterus serves no purpose, when I questioned her about that I was told she is the one with the medical degree and knows best. she also said she would take my healthy ovaries because my Uterus is so big they will be stuck to it and she will have to. My Uterus is the same size now it was a year ago and my Ovaries were high and out of the way. DO I have cancer? My body says no way. I told them 5 years ago I had fibroids they chose to dismiss me. SO by the time you could feel it on the outside it was huge but has never really caused any problems. a little anemic but I control that with supplements, #3 did a biopsy and all came back clear she had originally told us we could do watchful waiting but than said safest thing is Hyst. I have asked so many questions and I am always brushed off. until I have a doctor talk with me and not at me I would never consider this surgery. even than I am going to pass! OH and I am in Canada. Our health system is not so great!!
JL – Good for you for not caving to these evil-doers’ tactics to rob you of your sex organs and life. Keep persevering! Some say Canada doesn’t do as many unwarranted hysterectomies as the U.S. but I would think they’re not far behind as is the UK.
Isn’t “cystic degeneration” indicative of the fibroids starting to shrink / die off due to dropping estrogen levels?
my life should just spoil
nothing happiness in my life i hv no baby my husband wants to get second marrige so this hitatomy break me
Sana, I’m sorry you were robbed of having babies and are suffering since your hysterectomy. It sounds like you are in a country other than the U.S. India by chance? I had read back in 2008 or so that the hysterectomy “epidemic” had hit some villages in India and I’ve since read that this abuse continues. Unfortunately, greed and power know no geographic boundaries.
I hope you can get past this!
I avoided hysterectomy for fibroids. Instead I was embolized and for me this was an excellent choice as the tumor has shrunk 90%. Greedy gynecologists were unswayed and continued to badger me to have a hysterectomy. To shut them up I had an advanced medical directive drawn up where it clearly states NONE of my reproductive organs may be removed with no exceptions. I also excluded DaVinci and removal of gall bladder. This is a legal document. It invokes silence when introduced. I’ve had enough of their sub-standard, revenue generating push to hystetectomy. I highly suggest this for others.
Marjorie, I’m so glad you did not cave to these gyns’ unethical tactics and legally protected yourself! Badgering and cancer scare tactics seem to be the standard in the Gynecology specialty.
I want to add a correction to the comment I have above. Obviously, I meant to write “not to be!” at the end of the first paragraph. Being a perfectionist, I don’t want to let that be. Sorry. Maybe there are others I haven’t seen.
I thank you for your work. I want to tell you about my experience. I’ll try not to be too wordy, although it’s hard not be be!
When I developed a serious fibroid condition with excessive bleeding that scared me, I saw 12 gynecologists seeking help. Most of them tried to pressure me into having a hysterectomy, and a few of them got angry when I said no. I had no knowledge at the beginning of my search of all the things that were wrong with hysterectomy; my initial concern was in holding on to my ability to have a child as long as I could. Then I started reading books by doctors who offered alternatives, and I began to learn of the many bad effects of this awful surgery. I became even more determined not to undergo a hysterectomy; I didn’t know what I would do if some fool doctor did this to me. None of the doctors had ever told me of the many aftereffects of hysterectomy.
Fortunately, I heard about a doctor who had been victimized by this procedure herself, and had learned later that it had been unnecessary. She vowed never to do this to one of her patients if she could avoid it. I started seeing her. She did perform a myomectomy, which removes fibroids and leaves the uterus in place. I was very grateful! This was in 1993, and I’m still thanking my lucky stars.
Hoewever, the story unfortunately doesn’t end there. I got the surgery I wanted, but the issue was money. This doctor was the second I had seen who specialized in alternative surgery, but they both refused to participate in the insurance I had (I can’t recall, but I believe they accepted NO insurance!), because they wanted more money. At the time they each charged $10,000, which then was a lot of money (really, it still is), and they did not want to accept payment plans. They wanted the money upfront, and I was broke. In other words, the surgery every women should be able to have in order to correct problems with her uterus was being upheld as a luxury for the wealthy only. I never got the first doctor to agree to a payment plan, because he said he never got paid when he had agreed to such a plan in the past. At first he said he’d consider it, but then claimed he had forgotten he had made such a statement.
I really worried when I saw the second doctor. How was I going to be able to swing it? I went through all the appointments as she ran tests and so forth. Then she told me that because my CA-125 count was high–indicating the presence of tumors, possibly cancerous–she wanted to operate right away. She said that fibroids could be causing this high reading, but she couldn’t take a chance. She felt it was her responsibility to respond to the problem right away. They would run an ovarian biopsy on the operating table, and if it came back negative, she’d give me the operation I wanted, not removing uterus or ovaries. When the surgery was performed, I was in luck, and that’s how I got the surgery I had hoped for!
But then, after my first post-op, I got a call from the doctor’s secretary asking when I would send the check for $10,000. I said I didn’t have the money. I asked for a payment plan. The secretary was outraged! She said the doctor would not accept this idea. I told her I was sure this doctor was kind, and that the secretary was misrepresenting her. I couldn’t believe the doctor would want to pressure me, still recovering from the surgery, to fork over money I didn’t have. Well, the whole thing struck the secretary AND doctor as a hoax. I was a cheater and schemer. We’d never discussed money before, but I had read the terms and had known about the expectations. I got an angry letter from the doctor backing up what the secretary had said. And I was told to go to three banks and bring proof I could not get a loan.
In fact, I didn’t have credit to get a loan, and I was afraid to ask my father and stepmother, who were tightfisted with money. I figured they’d want to know why I simply hadn’t had a hysterectomy, which my stepmother had had! I wasn’t sure they’d accept my explanation. Not having a hysterectomy, why, that’s being fussy and a spendthrift. You can’t always get the desirable things of this world. That’s what I thought they’d say.
I called various places and asked for advice. I was assured that the doctor would likely not be able to try to garnishee my wages, as she’d threatened, or take me to court.
The doctor’s secretary told me to bring the documents from the three banks to my second post-op. In other words, my financial health was going to be examined, probably more carefully than my physical health.
I made a bold decision. Rather than go to three banks (I’d tried my bank, Chase, and was told no dice), in my weak and post-op state, I simply decided to see a new gynecologist for my post-op! I called and asked the secretary to fax over my documents to this new doctor, who’d never seen me before. She had to do it.
This new doctor gave me my second post-op. I never saw my surgeon again. At some point she agreed to a payment plan, and although it was very difficult, I paid it all after more than a year, as I recall ($250 a month–very hard for me). The insurance had paid 2/3 to the doctor as an out-of-network practitioner.
Years later, I got a message from my surgeon, sent out to all the people on her list, probably. She’d written a gothic novel and wanted to announce it to the world, so that we might buy it and read it. (I never did.)
When I got a chance to reflect upon my ordeal, I remembered one curious fact–that in order to go in OR out of the area where the doctor had her office and examination rooms, you had to be buzzed through the door by her secretary. In other words, you could have been detained–that’s unlawful imprisonment!–if, say, you hadn’t paid the doctor!
I am so grateful for this site.
My doctor has been trying to get me to have hysterectomy for years even though the only issue I have? had was heavy bleeding. I have tried the Mirena which worked great until I had some minor spotting so they removed it and did a histeroscopy to make sure there were no other problems – there weren’t. after the second Mirena went in the bleeding got worse until 9 months later it fell out. So agqain they suggested removing my uterus. I have no fibroids, no cysts, no cancer which to me equals no reason to remove a healthy organ.
So what did I do? I looked at my mental, emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing. I started doing regular womb meditations. I looked at where I was leaking power ( Thanks to Dr Northrup’s book Womens Bodies, Womens Wisdom). I cut back on wheat and sugar. And lo and behold my bleeding has slowed down, no more big clots, no more bleeding for days on end and I feel happier and healthier than I did a year ago.
My doctors were so keen to take out my uterus but offered nothing in the way of alternative solutions. Their only solutions are: surgery, endometrial ablation, Mirena thats it. We have to be the one’s advocating for more information, more alternatives, more choice. Surgery should be reserved for cancer or exteme situations – not the norm.
Caitlin, Thanks for sharing your experience. I am so glad you did not cave in to the pressure! Good for you! I’m also glad you found something to make your bleeding more manageable. I hope you are vocal on this issue and have prevented / will prevent other women from having unnecessary hysterectomies. There are FAR too many going under the knife! It makes me angry that these doctors are getting rich off of harming women.
God bless your work. If it changes even one woman’s decision to go ahead with a radical hysterectomy, then you have saved her entire quality of life. I think that most women want to believe that their gynos are ‘saving’ them from future medical horrors, not knowing that this barbaric operation will, most likely,have a profoundly negative (and irrevocable) effect on every aspect of their existence – physically,emotionally,and even,spiritually. I won’t go into the details of my experience because most of the previous posts have done a good job outlining the range of post-op complications. However,if you are considering getting this operation,please don’t dismiss these posts as a product of negative thinking! You might not have every complication mentioned,but life after being neutered is an ongoing challenge forever. Twenty-five years after the fact, it still remains THE WORST DECISION OF MY LIFE. For your own sake,do the research very thoroughly – it might turn out to be the most important decision of your life.
Jan, I’m sorry that you too were a victim of the hysterectomy industry. It really is sickening almost beyond comprehension that this has been and continues to be done to women. Thank you so much for speaking out! Unfortunately, some forums do not allow us to speak openly. I am thankful we can speak openly and honestly here on Hormones Matter.
Where was all this before my surgery!? I am sure the info was there and I thought I had educated myself. I had numerous promises and scare tactic talk used on me. I would give anything to not have the surgery. I am slowly dying from worse pelvic pain, new severe symptoms, adhesions and no doctor will help me. I guess there is nothing they can do really. I am angry with myself for allowing this to happen. I have very little life left as it has robbed me of my daily activities and enjoying friends and family. I am not the same person I was 18 months ago. If anyone can help with be debilitating pain please let me know.
Rachel, I am sorry that you were also scammed. The tactics used by so many of these doctors are criminal yet they continue to get away with harming 700,000+ women every year. Have you tried pelvic floor therapy?
I think that blaming yourself is a very common,but rarely acknowledged, mindset for those of us who ‘agreed’ to this operation. In my case, depression and
second-guessing every subsequent decision (leading to anxiety and problems with self-esteem) follows me to this day…25 yrs after surgery. I empathize with you and everyone else who has undergone this experience . I’m still trying to forgive myself and look forward. What else can we do but try. I just hope that this site will help stop this barbaric medical procedure AND influence other women to reconsider their options. Good luck,Rachel.
This is an irresponsible, one sided article that clearly does not address women living with very real pelvic disease such as adenomyosis and others… for which there is no other current effective treatments. Any woman would elect cure that doesn’t involve drastic removal but in the presence of a diseased organ and chronic inflammation, the entire body is being affected. Myself and MANY other women have researched and exhausted multiple strategies including diet, acupuncture, exercise, herbal etc etc without success. Many of the hysterectomy effects you cite, such as bladder and bowel dysfunction, are things we are living with daily from a bulky oversized diseased uterus. More research and attention to women’s health issues is desperately needed. To use language like “intact women” is cruel and divisive. There are many caring, intelligent doctors that are offering surgical options AND conducting research on finding the source of these diseases so that we may someday have other options for cure and/or prevention. You are misinformed if you think that most women are being conned and make the decision to have a hysterectomy without years of careful thought, agony and research. You had a real opportunity to raise valid concerns and explore these issues…shame on you for presenting the information in such a condescending and poorly balanced manner.
Hysterectomy may be the right choice for some women. This article is by no means denying that. With the gross overuse and harmful effects, I would hope that any woman considering a hysterectomy or told she needs one would realize that it is too often recommended when it is inappropriate as this study says – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10674580.
There are no doubt some caring, intelligent doctors. But there must be many more who are not. Why else would 1 in 2 women be offered a hysterectomy and 40% of women aged 45 to 54 have one? Do you think this many women actually had/have such long-standing and debilitating symptoms for which this drastic option was/is warranted?
I have connected with many women who were deceived by their doctors about their diagnosis and/or treatment options and were not told the many long-term effects of uterus and/or ovary removal. This has also been the HERS Foundation’s experience from its 33 years of counseling women, many of whom had unwarranted hysterectomies and are suffering the many permanent and progressive after effects.
My article raised a very valid concern and explored the issue of the overuse, lack of informed consent, and the long-term harm of hysterectomy.
There are very valid considerations raised in your article which everyone should carefully deliberate. It is the tone, use of offensive terms like “intact women” and presenting a very one sided exploration. There is no denying that there are doctors out there who are not providing the correct counseling which includes long term considerations but there are many more that are AND there are many more women that are very active in their own research and care. Hysterectomy is by far not the ideal solution… healing and cure of pelvic disease is but in the absence of that, it is the only current option for many.
Women with long-standing chronic gynecologic problems who have exhausted all treatment options may choose to undergo hysterectomy despite the trade-offs. Yes, it’s a crappy decision to have to make. Having had my female organs removed, I am not fond of the term “intact women” either but how else do you diffentiate a woman with all her female parts versus one missing one / some? Whole or intact are the only words that come to mind.
Have you already had a hysterectomy or just trying to make that decision?
Concerned: I was given an unnecessary total hysterectomy without my consent and no one from the medical system, legal system or law enforcement is the least bit concerned about what was done to me when it constitutes assault, battery and attempted murder. If so many women want hysterectomies, why is it being forced on those who don’t want it? I told the doctor over a dozen times that I did not want a hysterectomy and refused to consent to it, yet I woke up without my uterus, ovaries and cervix and was told a hand full of lies. I filed every complaint on earth and I can assure you that no one gives a damn when this is done to a woman. Where is the concern for women who have been misled, bullied, conned and lied to so that gynecologists can fill their quota of over $700,000 hysterectomies a year, every year?
I had a bulky oversized uterus and adenomyosis. As I found out after the fact, there were other options for me without a hysterectomy.
I have spoken to physiotherapists, acupunctures and hormone specialists who actively work with such people with improvements and success.
I have always said that (I feel) in a modest percentage of cases, a hysterectomy is a warranted option, but I feel it is over utilised and my biggest beef, women are not given the full picture. Unfortunately I found out this AFTER surgery.
I feel that women should ALWAYS be advised to go down a less invasive track with various options first as well
The trouble is when you go to a gyno surgeon, they are VERY surgically focused. They may be excellent surgeons, I’m not debating that, but I feel most are surgically orientated. The least they could do, even if they quote “in a small percentage”, is be clear on what surgery risks are, ALL of them.
*nerve damage, causing pain/discomfort
*small risk of vaginal cuff failure
*reduced sex drive, either minor or major
*dry, burning vagina due to natural lubricants missing (which is a trial and error as some exacerbate the condition)
*risk of prolapse
*rapid onset of menopause (even if ovary/ies remain)
*modified lifestyle, including no heavy lifting
*intensive physiotherapy required
*changes to the support system of the musculoskeletal system and therefore increased risk of injury (as I found out)
*irritation or damage to the pudendal nerve (and that itself is a damned nightmare of which I am suspected of having)
*weight gain/loss of muscle tone
*and in some rare cases, women who are unable to have sex again due to complications
*to use pre operative medications (oestrogen creams) and pelvic floor exercises etc BEFORE surgery as a prep for some conditions
The other thing I noted through other women’s comments, many don’t seem to be given realistic post operative advice and information. The somewhat unrealistic information of resuming normal activities between 4-6 week period for a lot is simply untrue. I’ve read even on even what I would class more “pro hysterectomy” sites, that for a lot of women it’s 6-12 months before they truly feel better.
However, I will speak for myself. Prior to this operation I was very physically active. I easily clocked 5kms of walking each and every day, as well as resistance training. Now, I am like a spent force. My pain means I have not resumed any where near what I use to do and I struggle to even lift anything over 5kgs, my core strength seems depleted.
I found myself believing that my life was going to be fantastic after the operation. No more pain, no more bleeding and my sex life was going to take off.
If I could turn back the clock pre hysterectomy, I would. My life was impacted each month with 2-3 days of nasty bleeding and pain.
My life NOW is impacted EVERY DAY! I can only speak from my experience.
Julia, Thank you for your input. Hopefully, it will help other women. It is hard to get people to understand all these devastating changes. I experienced most of the ones you listed as well as some others. Thankfully, I did not sustain nerve injuries although I know women who, like you, did and now suffer with debilitating pain on a daily basis. I have little sensitivity in my pelvis and urogenital area which has negatively affected my sex life and bladder function.
Yes, Gynecology being a surgical specialty along with the fact that we tend to see them on a regular basis (typically more frequently than a primary care doctor) puts us in a vulnerable position. People assume that doctors don’t recommend treatments that cause more harm than good. But hysterectomy and oophorectomy are entrenched in Gynecology training plus there are self-serving individuals in every industry, healthcare included.
Its unfortunate that every doctor isn’t completely honest and upfront with patients. When your a victim of all their lies and cover ups it’s too late. Damage done!
So your anger says you have had one and you are not any better? just a guess. My Best friend was given one for “cancer” or what they suspected might be (same as #1 doc that I saw) they did a biopsy she was never told the outcome of that. She just believed that the OB had her best interests at heart he removed her uterus and one ovaries called her patient #1 the next day and said good news You had a golf ball sized endo your all good. He did not need to remove one thing from her other than the endo . He life is upside down now because of this. HOW IS THIS RIGHT??
I am so happy I found this article. I thought I was crazy after a full hysterectomy in 2010, I have been searching for the shattered pieces of my mind body and soul. All the things listed in this article are what I went thru. From the start of a diagnosis to surgery and its after!ath. All I can do to not cry after reading this. I thought I was crazy.
Cynthia, I am sorry that you too were conned into this damaging surgery! Of course you are not crazy. You are suffering the effects of living without these vital organs. If we all spread the word about the harm of these surgeries, we can end this madness.
Dear WS – You have outdone yourself again with this article. You are amazing! Hopefully, this detailed information will save many women from a lifetime of misery.
After 40 years of enduring this “disabled” existence, it breaks my heart that no matter how many of us try to warn other women, in various ways, the number of these destructive surgeries continues to increase, not decrease.
I do so hope you continue to have the strength and energy to share your wonderfully researched articles. The uninformed women in this country need you desperately. Much love from Someone Who Cares.
Personal P.S. Might it be possible to ask a private question about the article? If so, ask Chandler to give you my email address.
Thank you! As previously mentioned (on your comment on one of my other articles), I am sorry that you too were subjected to this damaging, disabling procedure! Thank you for sharing your experience. It really is disheartening to see so many women succumbing to the removal of their organs under false pretenses. I will email you.
The Hysterectomy Educational Resources and Services (HERS Foundation was founded thirty-three years ago to educate the public about the critically important functions of the female organs. It is gratifying to see that the author of this article has is distributing the information HERS provides. Women and men need to unite to make sure that unwarranted, unwanted and unconsented hysterectomy is stopped. Women who are fully informed about their symptoms, alternatives in treatment, the risks of the alternatives and the life long damaging effects of hysterectomy are equipped to make a fully informed decision about treatment. Watch the short, excellent video “Female Anatomy: the life long functions of the female organs” at http://www.hersfoundation.org/anatomy.. Say No ‘Til You Know!
The full link for the female anatomy video is http://www.hersfoundation.com/anatomy/index.html. Thank you!
Thank you Nora and the HERS Foundation for your dedication in educating women (and men) about the functions of the female organs and the long-term harm of organ removal and other gynecologic procedures.
This is a fantastic piece. So much detail and so much supporting data. Thank you. Only wish I’d seen it before my surgery…though I suspect my doctor would’ve told me it was all nonsense. I wonder what I would’ve done then, but can only guess. Hoping women who haven’t yet had surgery listen and thank you.
Thank you! I’m sorry you also had a hysterectomy. Oh so true that gyns dismiss women’s concerns as nonsense. How else could they continue conning so many women? I checked your website overy.org. Talk about fantastic!