Why not get a hysterectomy? Why do I need my uterus and ovaries after my
child-bearing years? I believe that Mother Nature created our bodies quite
perfectly and that it's best to keep all of our organs as long as we can. The
long-term consequences of a hysterectomy can include osteoporosis, bone and
joint problems, increased incidence of heart disease, urinary problems, loss or
decrease of sexual desire, and depression.
Some of these problems can be averted by taking estrogen replacement therapy
following the hysterectomy, however ERT carries with it other possible side
effects such as liver cancer, gall bladder disease, fatigue, vaginal dryness,
and, possibly, breast cancer and circulatory prob- lems. Most of these symptoms
result from the withdrawal of estrogen. It is important to remember that it is
ovaries, not the uterus, which produce estrogen. Therefore, I suggest that,
even if a hysterectomy is necessary, a woman try to keep one or both ovaries.
Sometimes, due to the trauma of surgery, these remaining ovaries will not
function optimally. However generally the estrogen production will continue,
even in the absence of a uterus, until the natural time of menopause. If
retaining one or both ovaries is not possible, the woman, regardless of age,
will experience premature, surgically-induced menopause and will need to make
some decisions immediately about whether or not to take hormones.
If I do need a hysterectomy, is it dangerous? No. The surgery is
usually quite straightforward and extremely safe. The mortality rate from
hysterectomies dropped from close to 90% in l830 to 10% in 1890. By l985, with
the use of antibiotics and transfusions, the mortality rate is only one in a
thousand. It is very important that you choose a surgeon who you really trust.
I have found that, by preparing women through nutrition, homeopathy, and
hypnosis, they recover much more quickly from a hysterectomy.
If I've been told I need a hysterectomy, how can I find out if it's
really necessary? First, consult at least two physicians specializing in
women's health care to get their opinions. If you feel inclined to naturopathic
or other forms of alternative medicine, seek out such a physician, again one
specializing in women, to hear the natural side of your story.
Don't panic. No matter what the diagnosis and prognosis, it is essential that
you take the time to gather all of the information you need, outer and inner,
to make the right decisions. Anyone, professional or lay, can order a Medline
search on a particular health topic. This will provide
you with the data on the effectiveness of a given therapy for your condition.
You may be able to interpret the medical research for yourself or may need one
of your doctors to help you sort it out. There is also quite a bit of popular
literature on hysterectomy. I recommend Women on Menopause: A Practical
Guide to a Positive Transition by Dickson and Henriques (the only book on
menopause to mention homeopathy and other natural alternatives besides diet),
The Menopause Self-Help Book by Lark, The No-Hysterectomy Option
by Goldfarb (includes no natural therapies but discusses clearly diagnosis and
orthodox treatment options), and No More Hysterectomies by Hufnagel.
Make sure that you are really comfortable with and trust any doctor that
you're working with. Deciding to go ahead with a hysterectomy is a big step
with life-long repercussions. Talk to other women who have been in a similar
situation and find out how they feel, in retrospect, about the choices they
made. If you wish to contact HERS, the support organization mentioned above,
call (215) 667-7757. Use meditation, creative visualization, or hypnosis to
journey within and find out what you inner self has to say about your
particular situation. Imagine yourself at a crossroads. One path leads to a
hysterectomy; the other path does not. See or feel yourself traversing one
path, then the other. How do you feel? What is the outcome? What are the
lessons for you?