Each year, more than 600,000 women in the U.S. have a hysterectomy - an operation to remove a woman's uterus. However, many women do not feel well informed of their non-surgical and surgical options. The Hysterectomy Alternatives Program at the University of Michigan Health System places an emphasis on alternatives to hysterectomy for women with abnormal uterine bleeding and/or fibroids. Our team of experts offers counseling and education as well as a complete spectrum of modern treatment options that are less invasive and have quicker recovery.
Abnormal uterine bleeding may appear as prolonged, heavy menstrual flow, as intermittent bleeding between periods or absence of a menstrual period. Not ovulating, hormonal changes or a structural problem with the uterus are some of the possible causes.
Uterine fibroids are common, noncancerous tumors that grow slowly within the wall of the uterus or on the outside or inside walls of the uterus. Symptoms may include heavy regular periods, pelvic pressure, frequent urination, cramping, and pelvic or lower-back pain.
Providing Cutting-Edge Options and Comprehensive Education
Hysterectomy is the second most common surgery among women in this country. There are many misconceptions surrounding the recommendations for this procedure, as well as the consequences. Our goal is to increase our patients’ awareness and partner with them in making the best medical decision for their individual situation.
We initially provide women with a comprehensive medical workup to determine a correct diagnosis. Once a diagnosis is made, we then educate women about their options and discuss with the patient which alternatives are available to them for their unique situation, as well as the risks and benefits of each.
Treatment options may include:
- No-hormonal therapy, including iron
- Hormonal management of bleeding (including estrogen or progesterone in different forms like oral, IUD, patch or ring)
- Various approaches to myomectomy (removing fibroids and leaving the uterus intact, allowing for future childbearing)
- Endometrial ablation (removal of the uterine lining)
- Uterine artery embolization (blocking the flow of blood to a fibroid by inserting a small catheter into the groin)
- Laparoscopy or robot- assisted laparoscopy (minimally invasive procedure that involves inserting a small telescope into the abdomen through a small abdominal incision) for hysterectomy or myomectomy
- Partial hysterectomy (leaving cervix and/or ovaries)
- Complete hysterectomy (by various approaches)
Most of these treatment options can be performed as an outpatient procedure or with just an overnight stay.