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A Vaginal Hysterectomy Explained

A vaginal hysterectomy is often the preferred method for carrying out a hysterectomy, as it can have a faster recovery time and lower incidence of post-surgical complications compared with an abdominal hysterectomy. It involves removing the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus through the vagina, which means you will no longer be able to get pregnant and menstruation will stop.

Reasons For Having A Vaginal Hysterectomy

A number of gynaecological issues can be treated by undergoing a vaginal hysterectomy. These conditions typically cause significant pelvic pain, persistent or heavy bleeding or make intercourse painful. Your doctor may recommend you undergo a vaginal hysterectomy if you suffer from uterine fibroids, endometriosis or uterine prolapse. There are other treatment options available for these conditions, and these should be explored before resorting to a hysterectomy. However, if more conservative treatments have been unsuccessful, it's appropriate to discuss a vaginal hysterectomy with your doctor, particularly if you experience symptoms that interfere with your quality of life.

What's Involved?

A vaginal hysterectomy can be carried out with a local, spinal or general anaesthetic, and your doctor will discuss the type of anaesthetic they recommend with you. You will have a urinary catheter placed in your bladder and will be required to be in the same position you need to be in for a Pap smear test. Surgical instruments will be inserted into your uterus through a small vaginal incision. These instruments will be used to separate your reproductive organs from the surrounding connective tissue. These organs are then removed through the vaginal incision and dissolvable sutures will be used to stem any bleeding and close the incision. You may be able to go home the same day you have the procedure, or you may have to stay in the hospital overnight for observation.

It's normal to have some vaginal bleeding after the procedure, and it will take a few weeks for you to recover fully. You should avoid heavy lifting and intercourse during recovery. Some women feel a sense of relief after having a hysterectomy, as their pain and heavy bleeding are resolved by the procedure. However, it's also normal to experience a sense of loss and grief after a hysterectomy, particularly if you are still in your childbearing years. If you are struggling with the emotional impact of having a hysterectomy, talk to your doctor or a counsellor.

If you're suffering due to a reproductive health condition, contact a women's healthcare centre to discuss whether a vaginal hysterectomy would be an appropriate treatment option for you.