Is A Hysterectomy The Only Treatment For Fibroids?

In a recent exam my doctor discovered a large fibroid and ordered a hysterectomy. I have researched the subject and found other preferable treatments. Am I being unreasonable to go against his orders?

This is your body and your health, and no, you’re not being the slightest bit unreasonable in wanting to avoid surgery if it’s not absolutely necessary. Furthermore, a second opinion is always warranted in cases of elective surgery.

For those who may not know, fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) growths on the walls of the uterus. They may be tiny or quite large and they are very common. Some women have persistent problems with fibroids; others get them once, occasionally, or never. They are thought to be connected to a high level of estrogen, but the exact cause is not known. Sometimes fibroids go away after menopause.

It sounds as if your doctors have taken the right approach in terms of making the diagnosis. I cannot second guess why your gynecologist is recommending immediate surgery. He may have a very good reason. While it’s true that there are some doctors who are too quick on the draw when it comes to hysterectomy, your particular health plan has a reputation for being somewhat cautious and conservative about unnecessary surgery.

So I think you might do a few things. Try again to find out why your doctor is advising immediate surgery as opposed to trying other therapies first. If you don’t feel satisfied and informed, see another doctor. You’ll need to get a second opinion anyway if you eventually do have surgery. If a second doctor agrees with the first, but you’re still uncomfortable, get a third opinion.

Hysterectomy used to be the routine treatment for fibroids. Today, it’s still sometimes necessary, but there are several other options, including drug therapy and myomectomy, which is removal of the fibroid, but not the uterus. In some cases that are not symptomatic, doctors may do nothing at all except monitor the fibroids.

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