A hysterectomy is an operation to remove your womb (uterus). After the operation you will no longer be able to have children. If you have not yet gone through the menopause, you will no longer have periods.
A hysterectomy is used to treat conditions that affect the female reproductive system, such as heavy periods (menorrhagia), chronic (long-term) pelvic pain, non-cancerous tumours (fibroids) and cancer of the ovaries, womb, cervix or fallopian tubes.
A hysterectomy is a major operation with a long recovery time. It is usually only considered after alternative, less invasive treatments have been tried.
There are different types of hysterectomy. The type you have depends on the reason for your surgery and how much of the womb and surrounding reproductive system can safely be left in place. The main types include:
There are three ways to perform a hysterectomy:
If you have a hysterectomy that also removes your ovaries, you will go through the menopause immediately following your operation, regardless of your age. This is known as a surgical menopause.
If a hysterectomy leaves one or both of your ovaries intact, there is a chance you will go through the menopause within five years of your operation. Hysterectomy is a common operation. Most hysterectomies are performed on women aged between 40 and 50.
Fallopian tubes (also called oviducts or uterine tubes) are the two tubes that connect the uterus to the ovaries in the female reproductive system.
The uterus (also known as the womb) is a hollow, pear-shaped organ in a woman where a baby grows during pregnancy.
A hysterectomy is surgery to remove the uterus (womb), cervix and sometimes the fallopian tubes and ovaries.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) involves giving hormones to women when the menopause starts to replace those that the body no longer produces.
Ovaries are the pair of reproductive organs that produce eggs and sex hormones in females.
The female reproductive organs
The female reproductive system is made up of the following: