I was recently told I have a fibroid 16cm large. Is it possible for me to have the fibroid removed without having a full hysterectomy? Alternatively, if I do have a hysterectomy, how would this affect my sexual life?
Fibroids, or muscular tumors that grow in the uterine wall, are extremely common. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 20 – 80 percent of women develop fibroids by age fifty.1 Thirty percent of those diagnosed experience symptoms severe enough to require intervention.2 Fibroid symptoms may include: heaving bleeding, frequent urination, pain during sex, lower back pain, enlargement of lower abdomen, feeling of fullness in the lower stomach area, complications during pregnancy and labor, and/or reproductive issues (which are very rare).3 Treatment for fibroids includes both surgical and non-surgical methods; a detailed account of treatment options can be found on our website and on this fact sheet.
Not all fibroids have to be removed and a hysterectomy is not your only option for treating them. A hysterectomy may be a medically necessary procedure under life-threatening circumstances, such as unmanageable bleeding. People who undergo a “full” or “total” hysterectomy remove their uterus and cervix, whereas a partial hysterectomy removes only the upper part of the uterus. Recovery time for a hysterectomy ranges from three to six weeks. Patients undergoing hysterectomy are typically advised to wait at least six weeks after surgery to resume sexual activity. Regarding the impact of a hysterectomy on sexual function, some sources claim women may experience pain during intercourse. However, others state that some women experience increased sexual pleasure after a hysterectomy. Ultimately, there is not enough consistent evidence to know what the effects of a hysterectomy are on sexual function. We encourage you to consult with your healthcare provider to determine whether treatment is necessary.
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