Women who are considering a hysterectomy for a benign (noncancerous) condition should talk to their doctors about other treatments first. Surgical removal of the uterus is not always the best option—and often is not medically necessary—according to a study in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
Of 3,400 women who underwent hysterectomies for endometriosis, chronic pelvic pain, abnormal uterine bleeding, or fibroids in 52 hospitals across the country in 2013, only 38 percent had been counseled about effective uterine-sparing alternatives beforehand, such as hormonal treatment, pain management, IUD use, or less-aggressive procedures like endometrial ablation. Moreover, nearly one in five women had post-surgical pathology reports that did not support the need for surgery—that is, the findings were all “normal” or “unremarkable.”
Though hysterectomy rates have decreased in recent years, more than 400,000 women in the U.S. undergo the procedure every year, one-third of them before age 60, the researchers pointed out.