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What Are the Pros and Cons of a Total Abdominal Hysterectomy?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The pros and cons of a total abdominal hysterectomy may vary based on the patient and can include the benefits of not having to worry about unwanted pregnancies, relief from gynecological problems, and cure of ovarian, cervical, and uterine cancers. In most cases, a full hysterectomy is reserved for severe cases of illness, although some women may choose to have one if there is a threat of illness. Cons of the procedure can include risks associated with having a major surgery, no longer being able to have children, and the onset of menopause if it has not already occurred.

Total abdominal hysterectomy refers to a procedure in which the ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes are all removed from the body. It is generally performed for the treatment of cancers in the gynecological system when they have progressed to more than one reproductive organ or have failed to respond to less invasive treatments like chemotherapy. After surgery, women go through menopause much like a woman would during middle age, but often at a much faster pace. Symptoms often occur and can include hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, hair loss or thinning, and sometimes mild to moderate abdominal pain in the weeks following surgery.

Having a total hysterectomy is also a downside for younger women who may have wanted children. Once the ovaries, uterus, and Fallopian tubes are removed, the woman is no longer fertile and will not be able to have children naturally. Sometimes her eggs can be harvested and saved for use in a surrogate, but the woman will not be able to carry a child herself.

A total abdominal hysterectomy can be necessary, however, especially when treatments for reproductive cancers have failed up until that point. If it has not spread, removing the organs is often the best way to ensure survival. Although the surgery does have some risks like any operation, they are usually considered much smaller in comparison to cancer. Some complications that can arise during surgery include infection, bleeding, heart attack, and reactions to anesthesia.

Occasionally a total abdominal hysterectomy may be performed to prevent gynecological diseases or to treat non life-threatening conditions that cause severe and chronic pain. Surgery is generally only used in those who are in extreme pain and when no other treatments have worked. Sometimes a high family history of uterine or ovarian cancers may also be enough to warrant surgery, especially if a woman receive multiple irregular pap tests.

Only rarely is a total abdominal hysterectomy used as a form of birth control, but for those who have it done for medical reasons, this can be one positive side effect. Women who are finished having children may feel it freeing to never have to fear getting pregnant once the procedure is done. They are also given peace of mind about their health, since many gynecological cancers have excellent survival rates when caught early and treated appropriately.

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Discussion Comments
By oldschool48 — On Mar 22, 2013

I had a full hysterectomy because of medical reasons. Ever since I had it, I have been having sharp pain, painful sex that makes me not want to have sex. And when we have sex, something inside of me is cutting him up. I wasn't having any of these problems before I had a full hysterectomy.

The doctor who did the surgery isn't around anymore. She left. So now I'm trying to find a doctor who can help me or tell me why these things are happening to me.

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