Why is uterus removed? How is it done?

Uterus can be removed for various purposes. Some women remove uterus from family planning point of view, while sometimes it is recommended by doctors as a preventive measure against cancer or other diseases. Before we move ahead in the topic, let us understand the basic anatomy of uterus and other aspects related to it.
What is uterus?
Uterus is a complex organ which is a part of reproductive system of female anatomy. It is also referred as womb. It is roughly the size of a pear and is located in the pelvic region beneath navel or belly button. It holds fetus and expands numerical times its original size. 
Uterus comprises three layers of tissue- perimetrium, myometrium and endometrium.
  • Perimetrium: It is the outermost layer of uterus.
  • Myometrium: It is the middle layer of uterus that consists of soft muscles.
  • Endometrium: This is the innermost lining of uterus which is formed over course of a month. It is this lining that is shed during menstruation period. If pregnancy occurs, endometrium layer plays an important role in supporting placenta and supplying nutrients to the fertilized egg.
How does uterus function?
Ovary releases egg into fallopian tubes and through fallopian tubes, it reaches into the lining of uterus. Fertilization is union of female gamete (egg) and male gamete (sperm). If fertilization doesn’t occur in this stage, uterus lining that has been formed over course of weeks will slowly begin to slough away and pass out from female body through menstruation. If fertilization occurs, zygote will be formed and will stick to the inner lining of uterus. This zygote will slowly develop into a baby over gestation period of nine months.
During natural childbirth, fetus is pushed out of the womb by contraction action of uterus. Even after the baby is born, uterus contracts further to regain its original size and help in restricting blood flow that happens during childbirth
Why is uterus removed?
Uterus can be removed for multiple purposes. Hysterectomy is a surgical procedure used to remove uterus. Let us see the reasons for which uterus can be removed. 
  • Treat chronic pelvic pain
  • In case of uterus cancer, cervical cancer or ovarian cancer
  • Infection in uterus lining
  • Benign tumors (fibroids) formed in uterus
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease- disease of reproductive organs
  • Uterine prolapse- Condition wherein uterus slips from its original position into vagina or birth canal
  • Adenomyosis- Thickening of uterine walls when endometrial tissue encroaches muscles of uterus. It causes pain and heavy flow of blood during menstrual cycle.
  • Endometriosis- Condition wherein endometrium layer grows outside the uterine cavity.
How is hysterectomy performed?
To perform hysterectomy, you will be administered either local anesthesia or general anesthesia. Local anesthesia will only make the part which is to be operated numb whereas general anesthesia will make your whole body numb and you will sleep throughout the operation. You may be required to stay in the hospital for few days after the surgery. Let us see different ways in which hysterectomy is performed:
  • Abdominal hysterectomy: Vertical or horizontal incision is made on the patients abdomen. Uterus is removed through this incision. The marks are healed in short period of time and scars are not visible.
  • Vaginal hysterectomy: A small incision is made inside the vagina through which uterus is removed. Since, there are no external cuts, this procedure doesn’t leave any visible marks.
  • Laparoscopic hysterectomy: This procedure makes use of laparoscope- a long, thin instrument to which high resolution camera and high intensity light are attached in the front section. Instead of one large incision, three or four small incisions are made on the abdomen. Laparoscope is inserted through these incisions to remove the uterus.
What are the risks of hysterectomy?
Though hysterectomy is uber safe, it does have some minor and rarely occurring risks associated with it. Here are some risks associated with hysterectomy:
  • Chances of infection around incisions
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Injury to tissues and blood vessels
  • Injury to surrounding organs like intestines, bladder etc.
Post hysterectomy recovery tips:
Recovery time depends upon the type of hysterectomy performed. If you have had abdominal hysterectomy, then recovery time is more as compared to other types of hysterectomies. There are few recovery tips that you must follow in order to accelerate healing process.
  • Try walking as soon as possible as it will reduce chances of blood clots in lower body
  • Avoid lifting heavy objects
  • Bending exercises should be refrained
  • Sexual intercourse should be avoided for at least few weeks after hysterectomy
Laparoscopic hysterectomy cost and hospitals in India:
If you search on the Internet, you will come across many websites that provide information about laparoscopic hysterectomy treatment. Many hospitals in India offer cost-effective laparoscopic hysterectomy treatment. Cost of treatments count upon which type of hysterectomy you are recommended by doctor. For more information about hospitals and cost, click here.
It is important to note that once you undergo hysterectomy, menstrual periods will stop and you won’t get pregnant. Generally, women and their partners who do not wish to have children, undergo hysterectomy.
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