Thursday, May 8, 2008

1 in 3 American Women Castrated

Castration is an ugly word, but it's the right word to use when talking about the 600,000 American women who have their uteruses removed every year! And of them, 438,000 simultaneously have their ovaries cut out also. One out of three American women over 60 lives on without her uterus or ovaries, and is never the same for their loss.

Never the same sexually: a woman who always had uterine contractions during orgasm can't have them ever again after a hysterectomy. Furthermore, even if her ovaries are not removed, sexual sensation is diminished because of the severing of nerves and lowered flow of blood to the vagina, labia and clitoris. If a woman consents to removal of her ovaries also, she is thrown into an immediate and crushing menopause.

As someone who underwent uterine removal in her 40s, I am speaking from personal experience, but to get a sense of how bad it is for women take a look at both the website of the HERS Foundation and its associated blog and comments. The foundation's mission is to stop this continuing assault on women by the medical profession. In their comments on the blog, young women, one only 16, others in their 30's and older describe not only devastated sex lives, but loss of energy, depression, memory loss, bone and joint pain.

Nora Coffey, president of the HERS Foundation, is campaigning for a law that would require that women receive complete information about hysterectomy before they consent. They aren't getting that now, with so-called patient education information limited primarily to talking about the uterus's function as a baby incubator. (You don't need it anymore, dear, do you? goes the spiel.) HERS has developed an 11-minute video that makes clear the uterus's other functions as a sexual organ and a muscle that supplies support to the bladder and bowel. The video should be required viewing before a woman gives her consent. In fact, there's a petition to sign to make that happen.

In no other country do so many women undergo hysterectomies, and the procedure is less necessary today than ever because there are now alternatives for treating bleeding from fibroids, for example, the single largest reason for hysterectomy. It's a scandal of which America's oby-gyns should be ashamed.

6 comments:

Gracie said...

Thank you for supporting us in getting a law passed. It is a crying shame what the doctors are doing to us and getting by with it. We do need everyone's help. I just wrote on the Hers Blog. Gracie

Anonymous said...

Fraces,
Thank you for helping in shining a light on this issue and support for the petition and law to compel doctors in full disclosure. Your story is like so many other women to the amazing tune of 600,000. Unfortunately, I don't think the medical community can feel shame after so much for-thought and malice. This surgery was imposed on me 11 years ago, after being diagnosed with fibroids at the age of 35. It didn't matter that I was not in pain, no abnormal periods, no heavy bleeding, nor did I have children. And apparently for the ob/gyn who performed the surgery, it didn't matter that I directly said "hysterectomy" was not an option" at the first appointment. The disabilty that has resulted from this surgery pales in comparison to any nightmare I had ever dreamed up pre-surgery.

Valerie said...

Not informing us of all are options should be a crime punishable with a fine or lose of a job. This crime has to stop!! Please help support in getting this law passed, so your mother, daugher, granddaughter, any women to go through this crime that doctors are doing.
Valerie

Frances Cerra Whittelsey said...

I've been away from my blog for a week with a health problem unrelated to hysterectomy, and it just showed me once again how much a horror it is to have a health problem you can't avoid, much less the avoidable kinds that come with hysterectomy.

I feel so bad for anonymous having a hysterectomy at the age of 35 without even having bad symptoms like heavy bleeding. Can't you sue the b**d or b**h who did it even after you had said no way?

Yes, Valerie, this truly does have to stop.

TQ said...

Frances,
In response to question concerning taking legal action, no I was unsuccessful on that front. According to the lawyer, a hysterectomy is the standard of care for fibroids and that any doctor would have done one for the treatment of fibroids.

In the post-op report, the doctor admitted that the expectation set was to remove the fibroids only via myomectomy. Please note, I did not have a bleeding problem, fibroids had been discovered during annual gyn exam.

I guess that is one of the many things that women do not understand about the practice of hysterectomy - how the standard of care, consent forms, and if all else fails, a doctor has the option to declare your situation an emergency and that overrides any dicussions or expectations previously set.

In my experience, the only thing that was truthful and/or accurrate was the date and time of surgery.

kattaztrophe said...

I was castrated and hysterectomized about 16 months ago because of an ovarian tumor that was not cancerous I clearly stated on my consent form that they were permitted to remove the tumor, ovary and tube, nothing else unless it was cancer.
I woke up gutted and destroyed. No evidence of cancer, the only explanation was 'it could come back, ANYWHERE!'(quoting my male surgeon who is a moron).
My entire life is ruined. 18 months ago my life was great, my health was great, my sex life was fantastic. 2 months before the surgery I got sick, and it only took 2 months from finding the tumor to getting a surgeon. In 2 months I was lied to, scared so bad I thought of committing suicide, lost 10 pounds and stopped eating.
My life since? No sex life, my vision is so bad now I wear trifocals, I've lost 40% of my hearing, I have high cholesterol, my hips and ribs are bulging on one side, and I've had carpal tunnel surgery.
My life is ruined and there is nothing I can do about it. I'm 44 and hate to think this is what the rest of my life will be, sh*t.