Will a hysterectomy cure my endometriosis?
There are many myths about endometriosis that make it hard for people to know what’s true and what’s a myth about this disease.
Firstly there is currently no definitive cure for endometriosis, however there are treatments available that aim to address the symptoms and can make live worth living again; some of those treatments are discussed here.
In some cases, hysterectomy may offer a significant control of the problem and removes pain, but this depends on the location of the endometriosis. Taking out the uterus and ovaries is the last choice in treatment.
Endometriosis by definition is a disease outside of the uterus, and removing the uterus alone will not cure endometriosis. The likelihood of endometriosis recurring depends on factors such as whether or not there is any endometriosis left behind and how severe and advanced the disease is. It can spread to the fallopian tubes, ovaries, bowels, bladder, peritoneum, appendix, and sometimes in very rare cases, the diaphragm, lungs, or the brain.
In such cases, removing only the uterus with hysterectomy has a high risk for recurrence. A high recurrence rate of 62% is reported in advanced stages of endometriosis where the uterus was removed and the ovaries were left. Removing both ovaries (bilateral oophorectomy) along with the uterus means patients will go through surgical menopause that will have side effects, and this is still no guarantee for a cure.
Hysterectomy is not an ideal option for women who wish to maintain fertility, and there are many steps in modern endometriosis treatments to take before this option.
There is also a myth that getting pregnant will cure endometriosis. How one woman reacts to the hormones during her pregnancy may not be the same for another woman. Some women claim that their pregnancy helped, while others have said their condition worsened. Women should not be told to become pregnant as a medical treatment.
So when is a hysterectomy a good option to treat endometriosis? A hysterectomy can be an appropriate recommendation to a patient when pain is the major factor affecting her quality of life, she has completed her family, all other conservative treatments have not stopped the pain, and who might have accompanying conditions like adenomyosis. Removal of the uterus will help Adenomyosis sufferers as it is based inside the uterus (in the muscles) not the outside of the uterus, such as the case is with endometriosis.
Consider your hysterectomy decision carefully because the decision is not reversible.