Setting The Stage

Another new blog that might be worth following…check it out.

Finding Hope In Change

Hi all! I’m Leah, the “voice” of this blog. I thought my first post should “set the stage” for why I am blogging so here goes. I am 40 years old and living with the BRCA1 gene. What is the BRCA1 gene you ask? The easiest way to explain it is with two words: Angelina Jolie. I never thought I’d have something in common with her but I do! I truly wish it was a more fun connection, perhaps a love of acting or global activism? No, just genetics…and sucky ones at that.

In 2007 I made the choice to have a Bilateral Prophylactic Mastectomy at the age of 33, I was also single (no Brad Pitt to support me). The thought of dating and, ultimately, being intimate with someone post reconstruction concerned me. How was a man going to accept a woman with these scars and genetic…

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Preparing For a Hysterectomy

Here’s an article I found on the Mayo Clinic website, which has some suggestions on preparing for your surgery.

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How you prepare

By Mayo Clinic staff

It’s normal to feel anxious about having a hysterectomy. Here’s what you can do to prepare:

 

  • Gather information. Before surgery, get all the information you need to feel confident about your decision to have a hysterectomy. Ask your doctor and surgeon questions. Learn about the procedure, including all the steps involved if it makes you feel more comfortable.
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions about medication. Find out whether you should change your usual medication routine in the days leading up to your hysterectomy. Be sure to tell your doctor about any over-the-counter medications, dietary supplements or herbal preparations that you’re taking.
  • Discuss what type of anesthesia you’ll have. Abdominal hysterectomy requires you to have general anesthesia, which makes you unconscious during surgery.
  • Plan for a hospital stay. How long you’ll be in the hospital depends on what type of hysterectomy you have and what your doctor recommends. Generally, abdominal hysterectomy requires a hospital stay of at least one to two days.
  • Arrange for help. Full recovery could take several weeks. Your doctor may recommend restricting your activities during your recovery, such as avoiding driving or lifting heavy objects. Arrange for help at home if you think you’ll need it.

Looks like some pretty good advice in general.  For me, of course, I didn’t have the luxury of finding out much information before surgery as everything happened so quickly.  This was a bit challenging for me at first as I tend to be someone who researches the crap out of stuff when I’m exploring something new.  When I arrived home from surgery, and actually had the attention span to sit at the computer, I begin my research into hysterectomy surgery.  I struggled to find good information easily at first, that’s why I have started this blog.  I hope this will eventually become a place where you can find what you’re looking for regarding this surgery.

For those who have had a hysterectomy, what else would you add to this list?  And for those who are preparing for a hysterectomy, I wish you all the best!

Menorrhagia

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This is a word I was not even familiar with until about two years ago.  Menorrhagia is heavy bleeding during your period and as I found out over the last couple of years, it can be extremely bothersome!  As I have mentioned before though, I feel like women’s health issues are not discussed widely enough (for example, my spell checker doesn’t even recognize the word!) and therefore a lot of women are left wondering what exactly ‘heavy bleeding’ is.  This site from the NHS is quite helpful.  There is even a little self-assessment test that you can complete that may assist you in understanding what constitutes a ‘heavy period’.  It even creates a list of symptoms that you can take with you to your doctor!

Here’s a blurb copied from the site:  Heavy periods, also called menorrhagia, is when a woman loses an excessive amount of blood during consecutive periods.  Menorrhagia can occur by itself or in combination with other symptoms, such as menstrual pain (dysmenorrhoea).  Heavy bleeding does not necessarily mean there is anything seriously wrong, but it can affect a woman physically, emotionally and socially, and can cause disruption to everyday life.  See your GP if you are worried about heavy bleeding during or between your periods.

I recommend that you check out the site for even more great information!

Do you really need your ovaries removed during a hysterectomy?

Article from the Daily Mail:

Do you REALLY need your ovaries removed during a hysterectomy? How one in three doctors still recommend procedure – defying national guidelines

By Daily Mail Reporter

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advises pre-menopausal women to keep their ovaries if they are undergoing hysterectomies and aren’t at increased risk of ovarian cancer.

But it seems practicing gynecologists continue to go against this recommendation.

According to a new study from Baystate Medical Center, one in three doctorsstill recommend removal of healthy ovaries from women undergoing hysterectomies who haven’t yet entered menopause.

Needless or necessary? One in three doctors recommend removal of healthy ovaries from women undergoing hysterectomies who haven¿t yet entered menopause, according to a new study from Baystate Medical Center

Needless or necessary? One in three doctors recommend removal of healthy ovaries from women undergoing hysterectomies who haven¿t yet entered menopause, according to a new study from Baystate Medical Center

Regardless of a physicians’ age, sex, training, or geographic region, the recommendations to remove healthy ovaries remained constant.

The results, published in the journal Menopause, were based on a survey of nearly 500 American gynecologists.

Doctors argue that the heart- and bone-protective benefits of keeping functioning ovaries before menopause outweigh the smaller risks of future ovarian cancer.

Every year, about 600,000 women get hysterectomies.

It is the second most common surgery for women after Cesarean sections, and many women have the procedure for benign but painful conditions such as fibroid growths or endometriosis.

In a pre-menopausal woman, removal of ovaries can cause a sudden loss of estrogen and often triggers hot flashes, mood changes, sleep disturbances, headaches, and a decline in feelings of well-being.

Over time, vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, loss of libido, bladder dysfunction, and depression may also occur.

For postmenopausal women, however, removal of the ovaries is seen to be a smart option to protect against ovarian cancer.

But even after menopause, ovaries continue to produce significant amounts of the androgens testosterone and androstenedione which inhibit bone resorption, and stimulate bone formation.

Low levels of androgens and estrogens are linked to lower bone density and a higher risk of hip and vertebral fracture in postmenopausal women.

According to William H. Parker, a gynecologist at the John Wayne Cancer Institute at Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, postmenopausal women who have had their ovaries removed may have an even greater risk of osteoporosis.

‘I think we must conclude that a more balanced view of the risks versus benefits of retaining the ovaries in pre-menopausal women would help doctors counsel their patients more effectively and accurately,’ said study author Dr Oz Harmanli, chief of urogynecology and pelvic surgery at Baystate.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2397498/Do-REALLY-need-ovaries-removed-hysterectomy-How-doctors-recommend-procedure–defying-national-guidelines.html#ixzz2ehuepK1V

The more I read, the more I believe I was very lucky to have the surgeon I did.  I feel like she gave me a lot of information and options that it seems not everyone is getting from their doctors.  I think this type of information needs to be far more accessible to people.  So, what do you think?  Were you given all the information you needed to make good decisions at the time of your surgery?

Under Pressure – Myomectomy

A blog post about someone who had a myomectomy (removal of a fibroid).

Organic girl's Blog

Mid April – (slightly TMI)

It all began with one night after going out with some friends, I had a drink so when I got home I decided to drink a lot of water before I went to bed. Little did I know I would be up all night having to pee. After a sleepless night I asked my mom what she thought it might be, she suspected a UTI, then another friend of mine scared me into going to Urgent Care to make sure it wasn’t in my kidneys. So to Urgent Care, we went to get it checked out, I gave a urine sample and waited. The doctor came in and stated that I did have a UTI (which I later that night found out that I did not have) but wanted to do a CT scan of my abdomen because it was very distended. So distended that…

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