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What Conditions Warrant Having a Hysterectomy?

Hysterectomy is one of the most common surgical procedures for women, with about 600,000 performed each year in the United States. Hysterectomy might be best-known as a permanent form of birth control, but it can also treat a number of common gynecologic conditions.

Your uterus is removed and you can no longer get pregnant after you have a hysterectomy, but this procedure isn’t just for sterilization. Samuel Van Kirk, MD, and our team recommend hysterectomy to women facing conditions like cancer, severe endometriosis, and uterine fibroids.

Hysterectomy is generally considered a safe surgical procedure, and it could be a good option for you when conservative treatments aren’t making a difference for your health.

Gynecologic conditions treatable with hysterectomy

In a hysterectomy, Dr. Van Kirk removes your uterus. He may also remove nearby reproductive organs too, depending on your condition. Removing your uterus stops your menstrual cycle and period, and you won’t be able to get pregnant in the future.

It can be an effective treatment option for some severe gynecologic conditions, including ... 


Gynecologic cancers include uterine, cervical, and ovarian cancer. Any woman can develop cancer, but cervical cancer most often affects women under 50, while uterine cancer is most common for women 50 and older.

Chronic pelvic pain

About 15% of women experience chronic pelvic pain. Although intestinal and digestive issues are sometimes to blame, gynecologic issues are a common source of ongoing pelvic pain for women. 

Whether it’s menstrual cramps, ovarian cysts, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), or something else, chronic pelvic pain can make life miserable.


Endometriosis affects about 11% of women in their reproductive years. It occurs when the endometrium — the tissue lining your uterus — begins growing elsewhere in your pelvic area.

Endometrium thickens and sheds every month during your menstrual cycle, but tissue that grows outside your uterus gets trapped and causes inflammation. Endometriosis can cause heavy periods and chronic pelvic pain.

Uterine fibroids

Like endometriosis, uterine fibroids are a fairly common problem for women of childbearing age. Fibroids are noncancerous, muscular tumors that form in walls of your uterus.

They range in size, and it’s possible to have small fibroids without knowing it. Larger fibroids can cause heavy, long periods, pelvic pain, or bladder problems. In rare cases, fibroids can get so large that they begin to distort your uterus and abdomen.

What to expect with hysterectomy

You won’t be able to get pregnant following a hysterectomy, so it’s important to weigh your options before choosing the procedure. Dr. Van Kirk often recommends trying conservative treatment options for endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and other conditions first.

But in cases of cancer, severe infection, or severe chronic pain, hysterectomy may be your best treatment option. We’re here to help you understand your options so you make the best decision for your health.

Dr. Van Kirk performs both partial and full hysterectomies. A partial hysterectomy removes only your uterus, and a total hysterectomy removes your uterus, cervix, and possibly your ovaries and fallopian tubes.

Some women can go home the day of their surgery, but be prepared to stay overnight in the hospital. We give you instructions for recovering at home. Most women recover fully in 1-2 months. If you’ve had your ovaries removed, you might experience menopausal symptoms during recovery.

If nonsurgical methods aren’t enough to manage your pelvic pain, heavy periods, and other symptoms, it might be time to consider a hysterectomy. Contact our Redding, California, office at 530-242-4129 or send Dr. Van Kirk a message online to get started.

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