It may surprise you to hear that a great deal of the perceptions and beliefs around endometriosis are actually incorrect.
Many women undergo invasive treatments, thinking it will be the cure they've been so desperate for — when in fact it won't be.
Hysterectomy being a guaranteed way to stop endometriosis is one of those misperceptions.
Many people — even doctors — think that hysterectomy will fix endometriosis once and for all.
Here's the thing – it won't necessariy do so, unless all the endometriosis in actually just in, or on, the uterus.
Something a hysterectomy will do is stop a woman getting her monthly cycle. Therefore she won't have to endure the pain of going through her period. So it will help with the pain (somewhat), but it isn't necessarily a cure for endometriosis.
How can this be so?
It will help with deep infiltrating endometriosis found in the uterus only. It will help with adenomyosis, which is really like deep infiltrating endometriosis. But if the disease has spread outside the uterus, having a hysterectomy is not going to fix that part of the disease.
There are so many misconceptions out there around this disease, the various treatments and the interventions that should be used.
After my presentation at the Endometriosis Australia High Tea, which was an event designed to help spread the awareness of Endometriosis, Doctor Gary Swift and I were talking to people about various surgical techniques and various treatments.
Many people really didn't know what a hysterectomy entailed. Many thought it was really fixing up their endometriosis, and both of us had to explain what the procedure was, and what the varying forms of this procedure are.
What Is A Hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus only. This would be called a partial hysterectomy because the ovaries are usually left behind to preserve a level of hormone functioning — these hormones offer some protection against endometriosis.
A full hysterectomy is removal of the uterus, ovaries and tubes. Sometimes the cervix is also removed, but sometimes it is left too. It all depends on what is going on for that individual woman. Her unique situation will determine what is removed and what stays.
What can be done at the same time a hysterectomy is done, is to thoroughly check the surrounding cavity. If endometriosis is seen in other areas, for example around the bladder, bowel and abdominal cavity, then the extra endometriosis can be also removed. But that is completely separate to the hysterectomy.
Can you see what I am saying?
It is not necessarily part of the hysterectomy procedure — it's a separate surgical procedure, even when done at the same time as the hysterectomy.
But, some women have endometriosis that has spread much much further than the surrounding cavity. Endometriosis has been found in the pericardium, around the heart, in all joints and muscles of the body, in the spine, in the neck, in the jaw, in the brain and even in the eyes.
So can you now see why hysterectomy is not always a cure for endometriosis?
Can you also see what the procedure is and what it actually means?
Recommended Reading: Endometriosis Treatment — How To Beat Endometriosis and Rust Never Sleeps — Nor Does Endometriosis.