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Hysterectomy often includes the removal of the cervix as well as the uterus. When the surgeon removes one or both ovaries and fallopian tubes, it’s called a total hysterectomy with Salpingo-oophorectomy. All these organs are part of your reproductive system and are located in your pelvis.

Abdominal hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that removes your uterus through an incision in your lower abdomen. A partial hysterectomy removes just the uterus, leaving the cervix intact. A total hysterectomy removes the uterus and the cervix.

An abdominal hysterectomy may be recommended over other types of hysterectomy in the following cases:

  • A large uterus
  • To check other pelvic organs for signs of disease
  • If the surgeon feels it’s in your best interest to have an abdominal hysterectomy

Vaginal hysterectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the uterus through the vagina. During a vaginal hysterectomy, the surgeon detaches the uterus from the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and upper vagina, as well as from the blood vessels and connective tissue that supports it. However, if your uterus is enlarged, vaginal hysterectomy may not be possible and your doctor will talk to you about other surgical options, such as abdominal hysterectomy.

Pap smear is a procedure to test for cervical cancer in women. It is a simple, quick, and relatively painless screening test. It involves collecting cells from your cervix. The cells are evaluated for abnormalities, specifically for pre-cancerous and cancerous changes. Detecting cervical cancer early with a Pap smear gives you a greater chance at a cure. Detecting these abnormal cells early is the first step in halting the possible development of cervical cancer. A pap smear can also detect changes in your cervical cells that suggest cancer may develop in the future. How often you get a Pap test depends on your age, medical history, and the results of your last Pap test.

Endometriosis is often a painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows outside the uterus. Endometriosis most commonly involves ovaries, fallopian tubes and the tissue lining the pelvis. Rarely, endometrial tissue may spread beyond pelvic organs. With endometriosis, displaced endometrial tissue continues to act as it normally would - it thickens, breaks down and bleeds with each menstrual cycle. As this is a displaced tissue, it has no way to exit the body and becomes trapped. When endometriosis involves the ovaries, cysts called endometriomas may form. Surrounding tissue can eventually develop scar tissue, causing pelvic tissues and organs to stick to each other. Endometriosis can cause pain, sometimes severe, especially during menstruation. It is one of the main causes of infertility.

Also called uterine myoma, these are non-cancerous growths in the uterus that may develop during a woman’s child-bearing years. Fibroids can be so tiny that you need a microscope to see them. They can also grow very large. They may fill the entire uterus.

  Treatable by a medical professional

  Requires medical diagnosis

  Lab tests or imaging often required

  If chronic, it can last for years or even a lifetime

The cause of fibroids isn’t well understood. Risk factors include a family history of fibroids, obesity, or early onset of puberty. They are thought to be caused by

  • Hormones in the body
  • Genes (i.e., my run in families)

Ages Affected


Symptoms & Treatment

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Prolonged periods
  • Pelvic pain

In some cases, there may not be any symptoms. Pain areas include the abdomen, lower back, or pelvis. The best treatment choice for each woman depends on the size and location of her fibroids. Treatments include medication and removal of the fibroid. 

Urinary incontinence or loss of bladder control is a common and often embarrassing problem. The severity ranges from occasionally leaking urine when you cough or sneeze to having an urge to urinate that’s so sudden and strong you don’t get to a toilet in time. If urinary incontinence affects your daily activities, don’t hesitate to see a doctor. For most people, simple lifestyle changes or medical treatment can ease discomfort or stop urinary incontinence.

Types of urinary incontinence

  • Stress incontinence
  • Urge incontinence
  • Overflow incontinence

It’s important to seek medical help if incontinence is frequent or is affecting your quality of life.

Urinary Tract Infection

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in any part of your urinary system, kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Most infections involve the lower urinary tract – the bladder and the urethra. Women are at greater risk of developing a UTI than men. Infection limited to your bladder can be painful and serious consequences can occur if a UTI spreads to your kidneys.


  • Pain or burning sensation when you urinate
  • Fever, tiredness, or shakiness
  • An urge to urinate often
  • Pressure in your lower belly
  • Urine that smells bad or looks cloudy

If you think you have a UTI, it is important to see your doctor. Doctors typically treat urinary tract infections with antibiotics. 

Uterine prolapse occurs when the uterus sags or slips from its normal position and into the vagina or birth canal. Uterine prolapse may be incomplete or complete. An incomplete prolapse occurs when the uterus is only partly sagging into the vagina. A complete prolapse describes a situation in which the uterus falls so far down that some tissue rests outside of the vagina.


Feeling like you’re sitting on a ball

Vaginal bleeding

Increased vaginal discharge

Problems with sexual intercourse

Seeing the uterus or cervix coming out of the vagina

A pulling or heavy feeling in the pelvis


Recurrent bladder infections


Treatment isn’t always necessary for this condition. If the prolapse is severe, talk to a doctor about suitable treatment options.

Nonsurgical treatments options:

Losing weight to take the stress off of pelvic structures

Avoid heavy lifting

Kegel exercises, which are pelvic floor exercises, that help strengthen the vaginal muscles

Take estrogen replacement therapy

Wear a pessary, a device inserted into the vagina that fits under the cervix and helps push up and stabilize the uterus and cervix

Surgical treatments include uterine suspension or hysterectomy. During the uterine suspension, your surgeon places the uterus back into its original position by reattaching pelvic ligaments or using surgical materials. During a hysterectomy, your surgeon removes the uterus from the body through the abdomen or the vagina. Surgery is often effective, but it’s not recommended for women who plan on having children in the future. Pregnancy and childbirth can put an immense strain on pelvic muscles, which can undo surgical repairs of the uterus.