While the development of laparoscopic technology has made having a hysterectomy slightly less invasive, it’s still risky and has some side effects, which is why most doctors won’t perform it on women who haven’t already had a few children or reached a certain age. I’m child-free and not yet 30, but here’s why I’m discussing the possibility of going through with the surgery.
I have endometriosis. Endometriosis is a disorder which causes the endometrial lining (“period tissue”) to grow outside the uterus. It’s crazy painful, causes severe nausea, and makes you miss school and work (at least it did for me). The only way to remove endo tissue is through surgery, and even then, I may need to have surgery every few years for continuous removal of it. Endometriosis has taken so much from me in terms of relationships, work opportunities, and grades in school, so it’s my main reason for wanting a hysterectomy.
I also have PCOS. PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome, is another painful disorder I suffer from. It causes tons of follicles, or cysts, to grow on the ovaries. When they burst, they’re painful. Even worse, I have what my OBGYN describes as “mysterious ovarian pain” from the PCOS, and this pain can’t be managed at all, no matter what I try. PCOS also causes a host of issues from Type 2 diabetes to sleep apnea. While a hysterectomy won’t cure the PCOS, I won’t have to deal with the cysts bursting (which can cause infection), the “mysterious pain,” nor the crazy hormones. It’s a win all around!
The medication I’m on has awful side effects. Lupron Depot is a medication used to treat endometriosis, and I’m on it for that “mysterious ovarian pain.” Basically, it shuts down your ovaries and stops estrogen from being produced. While it’s a great medication and has helped with the pain, I’m still in pain and am experiencing hot flashes, nausea, and all the menopause symptoms. I’ll experience that with the hysterectomy, but at least I won’t be in pain.
I have depression. Depression affects millions of Americans and I’m one of them. I don’t want to pass that on to kids. Plus, all the whacky hormones and chronic pain are a major factor in my depression. I can’t help but wonder what the point of this all is when I’m in pain every single day. I power through, but I shouldn’t have to suffer when the solution to my pain is easily within reach.
I’ve never wanted kids. There are plenty of other people like me—people who’ve known for years, even decades, that they don’t want kids. Children have never been my thing; I love kids, don’t get me wrong, but I can’t stand the idea of being a parent. I’d rather be the uncle who spoils the kids rather than the uncle who is flustered and exhausted from his own kids.
Kids are expensive. Put simply, kids are expensive. From clothing to college, stuff adds up and accumulates. While I love spoiling other people’s kids, and while that does add up, I see it as a different bill. Plus, I’m not paying for college. I’m just paying for candy and video games. The way I see it, kids are the only mistake you can’t give up. If I realize halfway down the road that I don’t actually want kids, I can’t just say, “Well! Time to start over!” Kids are a lifelong commitment. I shouldn’t have to take a pill every day to avoid that commitment.
My periods are irregular and heavy. Ever since I’ve gotten my period, they’ve been irregular, heavy, and awful. Sometimes I’d go through a pad every two or three hours, double up on pads, and miss class because it’s just too heavy—and that’s if my period decides to show up. I can go months without a period. Birth control didn’t regulate my period, either—it would just come when it wanted to come if it wanted to come.
I have to manage my diet around my uterus. I can’t eat meat because it inflames my endometriosis and makes me sick. I have to regulate carbs or my insulin resistance will get out of hand from the PCOS. I have to eat crazy healthy to control my barely-manageable weight due to the hormones secreted both by the endo and PCOS… Do you see where I’m going with this? I don’t control what I eat, my uterus does. That would change with a hysterectomy. I could finally eat whatever, whenever again.
I take daily medications to control my disorders and I’m tired of it. Metformin for the insulin resistance, Lexapro for the depression, daily vitamins to get what I’m missing from meat… I have to take so many medications every day that it’s unbearable, and it’s all because of my uterus. If I got a hysterectomy, I’d only have to take hormone replacement therapy to replace the hormones my body isn’t creating, and maybe an antidepressant if the depression is also genetic and doesn’t go away. It seems like it makes a lot more sense to remove a nonessential organ that’s causing so many issues rather than to leave it and put a person on tons of different medications.
It’s my body, my choice. Simply put, it’s my body, my choice. I should be allowed to tell my doctor I’m suffering and receive adequate treatment, no matter what my marital status, biological sex, or age is.
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