PCOS and Hysterectomy
If you have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), you’re probably dealing with several annoying and bothersome symptoms. Some of them may have you wondering if a hysterectomy would help.
Before making your decision, it might help to know more about both PCOS and a hysterectomy. You should also learn about an oophorectomy — surgery to remove the ovaries.
Rather than being a gynecologic condition, PCOS is a disorder of the endocrine system. Polycystic ovaries is only one of its symptoms — and some women with PCOS don’t even have ovarian cysts. Other symptoms include infertility, irregular cycles, heavy bleeding, bloating, insulin resistance, acne, unwanted hair, weight issues, fatigue, mood swings, and pelvic pain.
A hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus. A complete hysterectomy means the complete uterus with cervix is removed, while a partial hysterectomy means only the upper part of the uterus is removed. With a partial hysterectomy, the cervical portion is cut from the upper portion of the uterus and remains connected to the vagina.
You might consider this procedure if, as part of your PCOS, you do have polycystic ovaries. Without ovaries, you wouldn’t have ovarian cysts, but you would be thrown into surgical menopause.
Reasons to Have Surgery
Removing the uterus will stop bleeding issues and any pelvic pain related to the uterus, but it isn’t likely to resolve any other symptoms of PCOS.
Removing the ovaries will eliminate ovarian cysts which can also stop related bloating and pain. Women with PCOS may also have higher levels of testosterone which cause acne and hair in embarrassing places, so removing the ovaries can help with those symptoms as well.
Reasons Not to Have Surgery
There are risks involved with any surgery, including anesthesia reactions, infection, bleeding, or damage to surrounding areas. Among the additional side effects for a hysterectomy are bowel or bladder concerns, sexual dysfunction, pelvic floor dysfunction, and dissatisfaction with results.
Removing both ovaries causes surgical menopause which comes with a lot of new health risks. For some women, surgical menopause can make it even more difficult to manage some of their PCOS symptoms.
Neither a hysterectomy nor oophorectomy cure PCOS – they may only relieve a few of the symptoms.
Left untreated, PCOS can lead to some serious health risks, so it is important to be working with a knowledgeable physician. Besides your general practitioner and gynecologist, an endocrinologist may be able to help. Discuss all of your symptoms with your doctors so together you can decide what is best for you. A second opinion is also helpful, especially if you are considering surgical options such as a hysterectomy and/or oophorectomy.
This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support. Reprinted with permission: PCOS and Hysterectomy