Alternatives to Hysterectomy

Women of all ages live with pelvic pain and heavy menstrual periods. The causes behind female pelvic pain vary widely, but two of the most common conditions are uterine fibroids and endometriosis.

Chronic pelvic pain can make life miserable. If you’re one of the 15% of women of reproductive age who suffer from pelvic pain, you might wish there was a way to stop the pain permanently. 

Many women who don’t want to have any more children consider hysterectomy, but it’s also a common treatment for pelvic conditions like endometriosis and uterine fibroids. A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that removes your uterus and cervix, and in some cases, your ovaries and fallopian tubes.

But if you want the option to get pregnant in the future, considering a hysterectomy to treat pelvic pain can be devastating because it leaves you unable to have a baby. That’s why Samuel Van Kirk, MD, and our team are here to help you learn more about the alternatives to hysterectomy. 

If you’re considering hysterectomy as a treatment for fibroids, endometriosis, or other painful pelvic condition, take the time to learn more about the alternatives and find a treatment that fits your goals. 

Myomectomy

Uterine fibroids are tumors that grow inside the uterus. Up to 80% of women have at least one fibroid by the time they’re 50 years old, but fibroids don’t always have noticeable symptoms. If a fibroid does cause problems, symptoms often include pelvic pain and heavy bleeding. 

Myomectomy is surgery to remove the fibroids while leaving your reproductive system intact. The doctor uses minimally invasive surgical techniques to reach your uterus and safely remove the fibroids. Eliminating painful fibroids with myomectomy can relieve your symptoms without the need for a hysterectomy. 

Endometrial ablation

Endometrial ablation is a popular treatment option for endometriosis. It’s also an option for women with menorrhagia, or extremely heavy vaginal bleeding during periods.

In endometrial ablation, the doctor permanently destroys the endometrium, which is the lining of your uterus. This lining causes menstrual bleeding, so when it’s gone, you no longer have heavy menstrual flow or the symptoms that come along with heavy bleeding.

Endometrial ablation is an outpatient alternative to hysterectomy that has success rates of 80-90%, but it does affect your fertility. Women who undergo endometrial ablation are no longer able to have children, so only consider it if you know you don’t want to get pregnant in the future.

Medication

Hormonal contraception, in the form of pills, intrauterine devices (IUDs), rings, and more, can help manage your menstrual cycle and reduce symptoms of heavy bleeding and pelvic pain. Dr. Van Kirk often recommends trying medical management before considering surgery. 

Some women find that over-the-counter pain relievers, hormonal medication, or a combination of the two are enough to manage their pelvic pain, and surgery isn’t necessary. If you choose to take this approach, follow the dosage instructions on the medication packaging and talk to Dr. Van Kirk to learn more about taking the medication safely.

While many women have options when it comes to their care, hysterectomy may be the most effective treatments in certain cases. Hysterectomy could be your best option to manage cervical or uterine cancer.

When you’re diagnosed with uterine fibroids, endometriosis, or other pelvic condition, it’s important to consider all of your options. Talk to Dr. Van Kirk to find out more about the alternatives to hysterectomy that could be right for you. Call our office in Redding, California, at 530-242-4129 for an appointment. You can also send a message to Dr. Van Kirk and the team here on our website.

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