What you need to know about this common surgery If you’re a woman, it pays to be informed about hysterectomies—if only because so many women eventually have them. At NMRMC, our board-certified OB-GYNs Cathy Mih-Taylor, MD, and Dawne Lowden, MD, have performed hundreds of hysterectomies. Here are the key points they think all women should know about this surgery. 1. During a hysterectomy, the uterus and usually the cervix are removed. “This means that women will no longer have periods and can’t become pregnant after a hysterectomy,” Dr. Mih-Taylor says. 2. There’s a misconception that a hysterectomy always means removing the ovaries, which causes women to be menopausal. “In most cases, we do not remove the ovaries,” says Dr. Lowden. “We often remove the fallopian tubes during a hysterectomy, though. And we have evidence that this may reduce the risk for ovarian cancer. 3. Abnormal menstrual bleeding (such as heavy periods) is the No. 1 reason women have hysterectomies. Pain is the second most common reason. “For example, fibroids, which are benign growths in the uterus, can cause heavy periods,” Dr. Lowden says. “The conditions adenomyosis (when uterine tissue grows into the uterine wall, making the uterus enlarged) and endometriosis (when cells of the uterus grow outside the uterus) also can cause abnormal bleeding and pelvic pain.” 4. There are alternatives to hysterectomies for some women. “For instance, if we can control the bleeding with hormone medications or long-acting contraceptives, that might eliminate a need for surgery,” Dr. Mih-Taylor says. 5. At NMRMC, most women have minimally-invasive hysterectomies. “That means we perform them with a laparoscope (lighted scope) or the da Vinci robotic surgical system,” Dr. Mih-Taylor says. Both Dr. Mih-Taylor and Dr. Lowden strongly encourage women to talk to their health care providers if they have questions or if they think a hysterectomy might be a good choice for them. 5 facts Cathy Mih-Taylor, MD Dawne Lowden, MD about hysterectomies NMRMC is here for you If you need a hysterectomy, you can learn how to prepare for surgery and learn about all the procedures we offer at nmrmc.com/services/surgery.