The Miraculous Uterus

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Last issue we saw how over 700,000 women each year undergo hysterectomies, and how this often unnecessary surgical practice has ballooned into a $4 billion a year industry. Let's now look at the consequences of a hysterectomy, and why you may want to do your best to avoid the scalpel.

Most doctors don't appreciate the problems of instant and severe menopause that a full hysterectomy produces in women. These women get all the menopausal symptoms, triple the risk of colon cancer, increased risk of diabetes, rapid aging of skin, hair, eyes, and mucous membranes, loss of sexuality, loss of memory and intelligence, increased risk of Alzheimer's, and depression in almost half of the cases.

I have space for just a few examples of the multiple functions of the uterus, to give you an idea of its complexity. First, your uterus is vital for immunity. Rheumatologist Dr. Sara Walker and immunologist Dr. Charles Wira, and many other researchers, have compiled a mountain of evidence, that the uterus produces all sorts of prostaglandins which regulate the female immune system, even after menopause.( 1)

Second, the prostaglandins themselves also have multiple jobs. The uterus produces prostacyclin, for example, one function of which is to inhibit the platelets in your blood from clumping into clots. By this action, prostacyclin is directly protective against cardiovascular disease.

Third, despite popular belief among physicians, many women lose most of their ovarian function when they lose their uterus, despite conservation of the ovaries.( 2) Current research indicates that the uterus may regulate ovarian production via prostaglandins, and by the feedback loop from the cervix to the pituitary gland.( 3) Lose your uterus and you've lost much more than the organ itself.

Lost Sex

Sex life after hysterectomy is a lot worse than after menopause. Unlike menopause, where sex and libido show a slow and often manageable decline, hysterectomy stops sexual activity stone dead. After the patient has healed, the worst is often yet to come. Hysterectomy almost invariably results in shortening, narrowing and drying of the vaginal passage, scarring, loss of sensitivity, and frequent pain from scar pressure.( 4-6) Especially when done for pelvic relaxation (prolapse), one of the most common reasons for hysterectomy, studies show that for up to 50% of patients the surgery ends sexual intercourse for life.( 7) In many women, uterine contractions form part of their sexual arousal and their orgasmic response. In others, the cervix may be essential to trigger orgasm.( 4, 5) By removing the uterus, sublime sexual relationships are forever ended by the surgeon's knife.

The Ovarian Conservation Scam

Despite the clear synergy of uterine and ovarian functions, hysterectomy is often excused today on the grounds that most modern procedures leave healthy ovaries intact. Whoever tells you that is lying through his teeth. Whenever a woman loses her uterus to surgery, her ovaries are damaged beyond repair.

Studies show that hysterectomized women who retain their ovaries, develop a much higher risk of cardiovascular disease than women who never have a hysterectomy. A young woman given either form of hysterectomy may immediately assume a heart attack risk of 1 in 25, higher than at any time after natural menopause until you reach your 80's.( 8)

Other studies show that hysterectomy with ovarian conservation is often followed by loss of libido.( 9, 10) So, despite the supposedly intact ovaries, loss of the uterus still compromises ovarian function, including its production of testosterone and its feedback loop to the brain. A study of 986 hysterectomized women who had retained one or both healthy ovaries after hysterectomy, showed the youngest hysterectomized women had the worst problems.( 11) Severe hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, pain, insomnia, and fatigue are hardly conducive to good sexual or emotional relationships.

They also lose bone faster, making them more prone to osteoporosis, and at an earlier age.( 10) They even develop osteoarthritis more frequently than women who go through menopause intact.( 11)

They also have a greater risk of depression in later life.( 9) Passion, love, ecstasy, the emotional essence that drives human achievement, forever after elude them. Up to 50% of these women lapse into repressed anger and depression. That's why there's no effective outrage against the barbarism of hysterectomy. With less heart for life, and a weaker physical heart to take the strain, hysterectomy reduces untold millions of women to docile tea and slippers. Like eunuchs of old, their spunk is forever silenced.

Avoiding Hysterectomy

The best therapy is to avoid surgery altogether. Be very suspicious of any physician who suggests hysterectomy in the absence of clear disease. Say "no" silently and effectively with your feet. Even in cases of clear disease, get a second and a third opinion.

Seek a young, recently trained, female gynecologist. For every 100 patients on their respective rosters, males perform 60% more hysterectomies than females.( 12) Finally, contact Hysterectomy Educational Resources and Services (HERS) at 610-667-7757. HERS has the most accurate and complete information on the effects of these surgeries. Don't wait until after the operation to have to appeal to HERS for help. Do it now.
REFERENCES

(1.) Morell V. Zeroing in on how hormones affect the immune system. Science, 1995;269:773-775.

(2.) Charbonnel B, et al. Human cervical mucus contains large amounts of prostaglandins. Fertil Steril, 1982;38:109-111.

(3.) Cutler WB, et al. The psychoneuroendocrinology of the ovulatory cycle of woman: a review. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 1980;5:89-111.

(4.) Zussman L, et al. Sexual response after hysterectomy-oophorectomy: recent studies and reconsideration of psychogenesis. Amer J Obstet Gynecol, 1981;140:725-729.

(5.) Kilkku P, et al. Supravaginal uterine amputation vs. hysterectomy. Effects on libido and orgasm. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand, 1983;62:147-152.

(6.) Sloan D. The emotional and psychosexual aspects of hysterectomy. Amer J Obstet Gynecol, 1978;13:598-605.

(7.) Amias AG. Sexual life after gynaecological operations - II. Brit Med J, 1975;2:680-681.

(8.) Centerwall BS. Premenopausal hysterectomy and cardiovascular disease. Amer J Obstet Gynecol, 1981;139:58-61.

(9.) Riedel HH, et al. Ovarian failure phenomena after hysterectomy. J Reprod Med. 1986 Jul;3:597-600.

(10.) Utian WH. Effect of hysterectomy, oophorectomy and estrogen therapy on libido. Int J Gynaecol Obstet, 1975;13:97-100.

(11.) Oldenhave A, et al. Hysterectomized women with ovarian conservation report more severe climacteric complaints than do normal climacteric women of similar age. Amer J Obstet Gynecol, 1993;168:765-771.

(12.) Bickell NA, et al. Gynecologists' sex, clinical beliefs, and hysterectomy rates. Amer J Public Health, 1994;84:1649-1652.

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