I wouldn't be so quick to have surgery nowadays

Photo of an older couple sitting on a park bench (mitarart / iStock / Thinkstock)

Georgia, 71 years old

"I think women should try other treatments first before having a hysterectomy. It's not something to be taken lightly."

I was in my early thirties when I noticed that my periods were getting heavier. They gradually got heavier and heavier, not from one month to the next but over a long time. I wasn't in pain, but there was just noticeably more blood.

My doctor recommended surgery

So I went to the doctor. He did an ultrasound and diagnosed several fibroids as being the cause of my heavy periods. He advised me to have my womb removed. I agreed to have the hysterectomy, in part because I was a bit scared about getting cancer. No other treatments were tried beforehand, just surgery straight away. It all went really quickly, within a month.

Bladder problems after the operation

My womb was removed through a cut across my belly. After the operation I thought that everything was fine. But fairly soon after I realized that I kept having problems with my bladder. At first I thought it was just normal and would get better over time. But it didn't go away. I have to go to the toilet a lot. Often I don't actually have much in my bladder, but I always need to make sure there is a toilet nearby. I've pretty much learnt to deal with it now. For example, if I go to the movies or the theater I always make sure I have an aisle seat. That way I know that I can always get to the toilet quickly if needs must.

I had the operation in 1977, so quite a few years ago now. Back then the doctor said that a hysterectomy was the best thing to do. I believed him. And I also thought it was best for me at the time. I thought about the advantage of not having periods anymore, because I did find them really unpleasant sometimes. And I didn't want to have any more children. But in hindsight I regret having the operation because I’ve had these bladder problems ever since.

Nowadays I would get a second opinion

It has really made my life difficult. I think women should try other treatments first before having a hysterectomy. It's not something to be taken lightly.

With what I know now, and after my experience, I wouldn't be so quick to have an operation, and I’d get a second opinion from a doctor too. I’d be much more careful about making a decision to have an organ removed and would try out other treatments first.

Acknowledgment

Our real-life stories summarize interviews with people who are affected by the medical condition. Our interview partners have given us permission to publish their stories. We would like to express our sincere thanks to them.

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