Hysterectomy: All You Have to Know

A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus and possibly the cervix. A hysterectomy may necessitate removing adjacent organs and tissues, such as the fallopian tubes and ovaries, depending on why it’s being performed. 

Hysterectomy has three different types; each is classified according to what organs must be removed. Keep reading to learn more about them.

Types of Hysterectomy

There are three types of this uterus removal procedure:

  • Partial Hysterectomy: This surgery removes just the uterus and keeps the cervix intact.

  • Total Hysterectomy: It removes the uterus and also the cervix but keeps the ovaries and fallopian tubes intact.

  • Radical Hysterectomy: Just as the total, radical hysterectomy removes the uterus and cervix. However, it also removes the ovaries and fallopian tubes.

When is a Hysterectomy Necessary?

There are many reasons why a woman might need to have a hysterectomy. Here are the most common ones:

  • Uterine Fibroids: These are benign tumors that grow in the uterus. They’re very common and can cause heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain, and bladder problems.

  • Endometriosis: This is a condition where the tissue that lines the uterus grows outside of the uterus. It can cause pain, infertility, and abnormal bleeding.

  • Cancer: A hysterectomy is mandatory to treat uterine cancer.

  • Non-cancerous conditions: Some women have hysterectomies to treat uterine prolapse or excessive menstrual bleeding that isn’t caused by cancer or a non-cancerous tumor.

Having a hysterectomy could be scary, but it is a safe and common procedure to treat many different uterine problems. In addition, a hysterectomy improves women’s overall quality of life.

Post-surgical Care

Remember that post-surgical care is important to come back to your daily basis quickly and safely. Here are some things you should do:

  • Take it easy: You’ll need plenty of rest in the days following your surgery. Try to avoid strenuous activities. The more you rest, the faster you return to your daily tasks.

  • Drink fluids: You’ll likely be thirsty after your surgery, so drink plenty of water and other fluids.

  • Take your medications: Make sure to take all of your medications as prescribed by your doctor.

  • Avoid douching: Douching can increase your risk of infection, so avoid it until your doctor clears you.

  • Pelvic floor physical therapy: It will help you recover from surgery easier. Pelvic floor physical therapy involves exercises to strengthen the muscles around the V-Zone.

Recover From a Hysterectomy with Great Northern Physical Therapy

When it comes to post-surgical care, Great Northern Physical Therapy is the place to go. Our pelvic floor physical therapists have years of experience helping women recover from a hysterectomy. We’ll work with you to create a personalized treatment plan to help you return to your daily activities as quickly and safely as possible. Visit our website to learn more about our physical therapy services, or give us a call to schedule a consultation!

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Breathing and Your Pelvic Floor

The pelvic floor is certainly a hot topic of conversation for many men and women. Specifically, people begin to focus on their pelvic floor when they are having incontinence, urgency/frequency, prolapse, or pain associated with going to the bathroom or having sex. These are all issues related to pelvic floor dysfunction. But, what many don’t realize, is that your pelvic floor is also integral in one of our most basic functions: breath.

The diaphragm, our respiratory muscle, is located at the bottom of the ribcage. At rest, the diaphragm is a domelike shape, and with inhalation the diaphragm muscle contracts and drops downward toward your pelvis. This downward motion is followed by a shifting downward of internal organs, into the pelvic bowl. The pelvic floor muscles and fascia make up the bottom of the pelvic bowl. So, with this downward force during inhalation, the pelvic floor muscles also descend or stretch slightly downward. Immediately following inhalation and pelvic floor descent, is exhalation, and similarly, the pelvic floor follows the diaphragm as it rises upward to a resting position. This synchronous rising and falling of the diaphragm and pelvic floor is often referred to as the “piston effect”.

Not to be left out, the lower abdominal muscles (transverse abdominis) also contribute to this synchronous movement pattern. Working together by relaxing and stretching with inhalation and a “belly breath”, and tightening and drawing inward slightly with exhalation. In this way, the diaphragm, abdominals, and pelvic floor make up an abdominal cylinder that modulates intra-abdominal forces and pressure changes.

When this cylinder isn’t coordinating well together, or if there is tightness or weakness within the system, we see common musculoskeletal complaints: low back pain, SIJ pain, poor stability through the back and pelvis, hip pain, pelvic pain, incontinence, urgency/frequency of urine or stool, prolapse, poor posture, balance issues, and intolerance to exercise.

Our pelvic floor physical therapists can help evaluate these movement patterns and coordination of these systems, and create a treatment approach specific to you and your individual challenges.