Finally, we’re bringing you very public answers to some of your most private questions. When sexual and vaginal health concerns arise, OB/GYN and nationally known women’s health expert Dr. Jessica Shepherd wants to ensure you have the answers you need to feel at ease. As the founder of Her Viewpoint, an online women’s health forum, she uses this outlet to focus on addressing taboo topics in a comfortable setting. Prepare to take notes!
Q: I suffer from endometriosis. Will getting a hysterectomy end my pain and discomfort?
A: Essentially what endometriosis is is a chronic disease that affects the pelvis. It is an estrogen-based disease which means that estrogen is released from the ovaries and not from the uterus.
The important thing to know about endometriosis is that having a hysterectomy, which is removal of the uterus, may not cure the disease, because you still have your ovaries.
A common misconception is patients believing that is having the procedure will simply cure their pain and discomfort but essentially, their endometriosis may not be cured. When you remove the uterus by having a hysterectomy you’re not decreasing any estrogen secretion. That can be done through medications to treat endometriosis and also surgery that requires removing the ovaries.
I do however warn patients that the problem with removing the ovaries is means you completely devoid your body from estrogen which causes menopause.
Menopause obviously comes other issues, such as like hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, etc.
This is an important discussion that women have to have with your doctor so that they can be on one accord to discuss a proper treatment plan on what is the best option for that woman. Sadly that treatment plan is never just a simple answer of, “Yes, a hysterectomy will cure endometriosis.”
Have a question for Dr. Shepherd? Email us now.