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A hysterectomy surgically removes a woman’s uterus, where a baby grows during a pregnancy. It is the second most common surgery among women in the United States.

A hysterectomy may be used to treat cervical, ovarian and uterine cancers. The procedure may involve removing the ovaries and fallopian tubes in a surgery called a salpingo-oophorectomy. If you have not yet reached menopause, a hysterectomy that removes the ovaries will cause your menstrual periods to stop. Ask your doctor about taking estrogen after the surgery to help lower your risk of heart disease and relieve menopausal symptoms.

A hysterectomy may also be used to treat other conditions, including:

In some cases, only part of the uterus is removed. The type of hysterectomy performed depends on your individual situation. There are three types of hysterectomies:

Surgeons may choose from a number of techniques to perform a hysterectomy, including:

Following a hysterectomy, a woman will no longer have periods and cannot get pregnant. Having a hysterectomy may result in changes to your body and may affect how you feel about yourself. It’s important to discuss potential changes with your doctor or nurse, as well as trusted family members and friends, before the surgery.