Stacey Lehane with an eviction notice pinned to her uterus

Health

A hysterectomy doesn’t cure endometriosis – here’s why I’m having one anyway


If you have endometriosis, you’re gonna be on the receiving end of a lot of bullshit. And I’m not even talking about the symptoms and surgeries. I’m talking about everyone and their dog asking you if you’ve tried yoga, or giving up bread, or getting pregnant, or putting pearls up your vag.

One of the more pernicious pieces of endo misinformation is that a hysterectomy will “cure” us. Nevermind that doctors that peddle this (major, life-changing) surgery often neglect to properly remove current endo growths, leaving them to shed and spread as normal. The studies are conclusive: a hysterectomy is no guarantee against recurrent endometriosis growth.

So. With all that said. Why the fuck am I having one?

1. I have all the symptoms of adenomyosis

Adenomyosis is often referred to as endometriosis’ cousin. It’s a condition where the inner lining of the uterus (the endometrium) is found in the muscle wall of the uterus itself. Its symptoms are similar to endo: pelvic pain, cramping, heavy periods, and bloating.

The difference between the two is that a hysterectomy will cure my adenomyosis.

2. I have a congenital defect that may affect the way my uterus contracts

My uterus, when scanned, has all the characteristics of adenomyosis but it’s also a little wonky in its own right. This congenital abnormality may affect the way my uterus stretches and contracts, causing it to spasm and cause me pain.

No uterus, no spasm. No spasm, less pain. And honestly, I could do with more of that last bit.

3. My period is a determined motherfucker

It’s common practice to suppress menstruation when you have endometriosis. My period has taken this as a challenge. And it’s winning.

I experience phantom periods and breakthrough bleeding no matter what birth control I’m on. And if that weren’t bad enough, adenomyosis is often triggered by hormones including estrogen and progesterone – those commonly found in birth control medication.

A hysterectomy will negate my need to suppress my periods. Which sounds like a goddamn dream from where I’m sitting right now, honestly.

4. We’ve tried everything else

My gyno is a saint. When I floated the idea of a hysterectomy past him two years ago he said, “I’m willing to do this for you, but I want us to have tried everything else first.” Because there is a very slight chance that this surgery will make my situation worse. Not because my gyno doesn’t know what he’s doing — he’s one of the best excision specialists in Australia — but because sometimes bodies just really don’t like it when you oust an organ.

So for the last two years, we’ve tried everything to get my symptoms under control. I’ve had two surgeries, multiple steroid injections into my spine and joints, a course of Zoladex injections, and a four-day ketamine infusion. The last two years have been a mess of doctors appointments, medication changes, and a lot of crying.

I’m ready for this procedure. Even if it does make my situation worse, I know I’ve tried everything else.

5. I don’t want kids and I know what I’ll do if I change my mind

I don’t want kids. I’ve never wanted kids. Now that I’m of the age where my friends are having them, I really love seeing how these little mini versions of my friends are growing up, but it hasn’t budged my own preference for staying childless.

I get really shitty when people assume that I’ll change my mind about this. But hey, on the off chance I do? I’ve thought about that as well.

I’m really queer. Like a Kinsey 5.9. The odds of me settling down with someone with a uterus are quite high. And hey, if that happens, and we both decide we want kids? They might opt to carry the child. If not? Adoption is a thing. It’s a thing I’m very willing to do if hell freezes over and I suddenly want to raise a human. I have zero attachment to the concept of passing on my genes. To be honest, they haven’t done me much good anyway.

I also have zero attachment to my reproductive organs themselves. And I consider myself pretty lucky in that respect. I think if I really wanted children and then my health imploded as it did, I’d have been in a really bad way. Wanting to actively stay childless means I get to skip the arduous process of factoring my health into the decision to become a parent.

I’m lucky

In so many ways. I have good doctors, a great support network, and the ability to make this decision for myself. But it is my decision based on my circumstances. I don’t want my going forward with a hysterectomy to contribute to damaging misinformation about an already chronically misunderstood disease.

A hysterectomy won’t cure my endometriosis. At best it might help me better manage its symptoms. Anyone who tells you otherwise deserves to step on Lego.


Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

While I have you here…

I’d like to recommend a book that I’ve read and loved. This gives you something cool to read and, if you click through and buy anything in the next 24 hours, I get a kickback from Amazon or Book Depository. Win/win.

Hyperbole and a Half is the sort of book that’ll have you crying laughing. If you want to learn how to turn even the most depressing content into the funniest thing you’ve ever written, look no further than Allie Brosh’s writing.

Grab it on Amazon here or Book Depository here.


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