Monday, March 3, 2008

Pissed Over the Hyst

--->Think carefully before pushing the 'go' button
Hysterectomies, or sayin' sayonara to your uterus, are increasingly popular. Approximately 600,000 are performed every year, and to put that number into context, one-third of all women will have a hysterectomy before they turn 60. Hysterectomies are fun because they help women in so many cases:
1. If you want to make whoopee without worrying about getting all preggers;
2. If you're riding the crimson wave (getting your period, hello) more frequently or heavily than you like;
3. If you're often bloated like an elephant that just snarfed down 10 Carvel cakes; and
4. On a more serious life/death note, if you're suffering from conditions such as endometriosis or cancer.

HOWEVA, as CNN so graciously explains, some experts are now saying that two thirds of these hysterectomies are unneccessary. That's right, this invasive surgery has often been done for no clinical reason and/or little or no realized benefit. Some research even suggests that hysterectomies may lead to sexual problems, incontinence, and a slight loss of physical strength.
Doesn't sound very good.
A word of caution before the panic: Even according to the most alarmist of experts, hysterectomies are necessary in at least one third of cases, and can be a lifesaver (not the candy). Still, consider these words from Ms. Zimmerman, who underwent the procedure, gained 10 pounds and had her sex drive go on permanent hiatus. She suggests that women consider more conservative treatments:
"If you've just got a uterus problem," she says,
"do not allow them to take your ovaries."

(I have to say I like the final sentence. "Don't let them take your ovaries!" sounds like a rallying cry that would be applicable in so many cases:
-Boss acting up? Don't let him take your ovaries!
-Cashier all bitchy at the supermarket? Don't let her take your ovaries!
-Your date wants to go dutch? Don't let him take your ovaries, and by all means, make the loser pick up the check!!)

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