This is a reality for many women post hysterectomy. The uterus is a muscle that responds rythmically with intercourse producing orgasm for many women. Once the uterus is removed women routinely report lack of sexual response, sensation or desire. Many gynecologists refuse to address this topic or accept this fact. This week we had a patient call the office in tears asking why her gyn had repeatedly denied any association between sexual dysfunction and hysterectomy and yet she was now void of any response or sensation after removing her uterus. She was angry and desperate! This serious and potentially life changing side effect is a reality for many many women. Before removing your uterus…do your research. Hysterectomy can and may alter your life and not in the way you anticipate.
This past week in the LA Times there was an article in the Health Section regarding the increased reliance upon alternative therapies ie accupuncture, herbs, supplements, massage therapies etc. These therapies can be excellent for treating many ancillary symptoms but often do not get to the core problem behind the diagnosis. Always keep in mind, treating the root of the problem is the best way to go. Many women call our office with symptoms of heavy bleeding, painful periods, back pain who have been offered medications and/or therapies that do not address the reason for the symptoms….(ie fibroids, adenomyosis or endometriosis. ) Remember, seek out the solution that has the best outcome for your diagnosis, not just the symptoms….and dont delay treatment.
Traditional medicine has routinely rcommended removal of the uterus, hysterectomy, for uterine and ovarian malignancy, however physicians also advocate hysterectomy for benign diseases like fibroids, adenomyosis, and endometriosis. Recent studies (LA Times article, published August 10, 2009 entitled “Staying Fertile after Cancer”) on Stage 1 ovarian cancer patients have found that preserving the uterus and unaffected ovary have the same 5 year survival rates as removing all organs. If medicine is changing to reduce hysterectomies for certain cancers, lets hope they will eventually see the need to prevent hysterectomy for benign diseases as well.
Many of our patients try supplements and herbal formulas prior to seeking a medical consultation. Although these therapies can help reduce symptoms temporarily, they will become ineffective over time as the disease spreads. Supplements and herbal formulas are not regulated by the FDA and therefore quality, strength and dosage cannot be guaranteed. Delaying appropriate treatment can sometimes be detrimental. Fibroid tumors, adenomyosis and endometriosis all require surgery is remove the disease…treating symptoms does nothing to treat the condition or the tumors. Using these alternative therapies, after surgery , may be helpful in preventing recurrence, but should not be the only source of treatment. Consult your physician and do some research about what is the best course of treatment for your disease.
Adenomyosis is a non cancerous disease of the uterine muscle, also known as “uterine endometriosis“.
Symptoms include heavy bleeding, clots, painful cycles, painful intercourse and abdominal bloating.
Signs include painful pelvic exams and an enlarged uterus. Not all these noted signs and symptoms need be present to have the disease. Adenomyosis can occasionally be visualized on MRI, but conclusive diagnosis requires a tissue biopsy. This disease, like fibroids, is hormone dependent, and requires estrogen to spread. As hormones peak with the menstrual cycle, adenomyosis is further invading the uterine muscle. Traditional medicine advocates birth control pills, ablation therapy and IUDs as treatment options, but these modalities only treat the symptoms, not the actual disease. Most common treatment is hysterectomy. We do not advocate hysterectomy but recommend treatment of the adenomyosis with a laser to preserve the uterus.