Keep the ovaries: yes or no?
October 27, 2010 11:34 AM   Subscribe

You have had an endometrial ablation, or hysterectomy without oopherectomy. Did it help your non-bleeding symptoms?

I am at the point where the next step for me in dealing with excessive bleeding is either an endometrial ablation or a hysterectomy. My concern is that the non-bleeding effects of my insane hormones are more of a quality of life issue than the bleeding is. Sure, it sucks to be bleeding 8 days out of every 23, to be going through a super plus tampon every 20 minutes, to be passing clots so big I joked once that I should name them and start breastfeeding. But what's really wrecking my life is the extreme irritability and anxiety I'm having starting about 4 days before my period and lasting sometimes until a couple of days after it ends (which, yes, if you do the math means I feel normal for a little more than one week out of every three; I have more normal-time if my period is on the short side in any given cycle--by "the short side" I mean 5-6 days instead of 8-10).

My ob says that about 50% of his patients get relief from this kind of stuff after ablation or hysto. I need to decide whether 50% is good enough odds for me or whether I should push to have my ovaries out. I know that there are risks involved with oopherectomy, and I am not happy about taking them on, but I have been dealing with this for years already, it's straining my marriage, wrecking my self-esteem, and casting a pall over my kids' childhoods--they are 9, 6, and 3. Some days I don't think I care about increased cancer and osteoporosis risk, if I can just raise my kids without abusing them. Other days, I'm just not so sure. Much of the time I am too overwrought to make good decisions.

I'd be interested to hear others' experiences as I prepare to make this decision, or to be pointed to other resources. Anything that quantifies risk in an absolute rather than relative sense would be helpful. I am 45 and otherwise in good health with no particularly scary risk factors that this would be adding to.

I've been to hystersisters, so no need to point me there. Didn't find it helpful. I also do not need to hear about other alternatives. This is where my ob and I are: either hysterectomy or endometrial ablation; if hysto, with or without oopherectomy.

I asked a similar question a few months ago; at that time, I let myself be talked into trying a Mirena IUD, with disastrous results (it made me suicidal). Exogenous hormones of any kind are not an option.
posted by not that girl to Health & Fitness (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Just one small data point: my friend from this question had a hysterectomy for her endometriosis prior to her oophorectomy. The hysterectomy did not help with her non-bleeding symptoms.
posted by adipocere at 11:48 AM on October 27, 2010

Yes and yes.
posted by tilde at 4:41 PM on October 27, 2010

I had a hysterectomy and kept my ovaries just this past April. I am AMAZED at the positive effect this has had on my life. My severe blood loss obviously led to extraordinarily severe anemia, which once that cleared up has made my life so much better. My iron-deficient blood had given rise to a whole host of other problems that I was not even aware of. The hysterectomy itself was a day surgery, I was up and around an hour after the surgery, and I have a one inch scar to show for it. No more periods, although I still cycle (kept the ovaries, and happy for it, I don't look forward to hormone replacement therapy), but the symptoms are so mild as to be unnoticeable.
Hystersisters was really the only webforum that I visited, other than just researching the procedure itself. I hated it, though. I'm afraid I didn't find anything else worth my time. Good luck.
posted by msali at 2:13 PM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

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