More wounded wombs (hysterectomies), occur in one year than all the gun and stab wounds put together.
The womb has been defined as an organ in mammals that holds, protects and usually nourishes the young until birth. Well, I beg to differ with this definition totally. The womb is a dynamic organ that communicates with the other major organs and specialized tissues in the body. With this in mind, it is downright disturbing that 350,000 of these precious organs are removed from women each year in the United States alone.
The first hysterectomy was performed in Rome by the Greek physician Archigenes in the year 100 A.D.. for what reason I am not sure. The United States holds the world record for wounding the womb. At least 40% of all hysterectomies are performed due to the growth of large muscular tumors known as fibroids. The enlargement of these nonmalignant tumors may cause abdominal discomfort and excessive menstrual bleeding. During menopause, fibroids may be decreased in size due to the decrease in estrogen produced by the ovary.
The other 60% of hysterectomies are due to heavy menstrual bleeding, unexplained pelvic pain and discomfort, prolapse (dropping down of the uterus into the vaginal area), which may cause incontinence (inability to control the flow of urine), and endometriosis (displaced cells that line the uterus).
The womb is a bag of chemical reactions. It is constantly communicating with the ovaries and other glandular organs including the brain. The cells which line the uterus produce proteins, fats and carbohydrates, always preparing for a fertilized egg. It has recently been demonstrated that the uterus also produces a hormone that ensures the healthiness of blood vessels which are distributed in the uterus. The hormones as a group are known as prostaglandins, which not only dilate arteries but also control the contraction of the uterus even during intercourse. This hormone affects smooth muscles located in organs throughout the body.
The uterus also produces a morphine-like compound that controls pain during contractions. This magnificent organ is also capable of producing a marijuana-like compound which is necessary to make the lining of the uterus for the fertilized egg to be attached.
African American women have been found to have a high incidence of fibroids for unknown reasons. It may be genetic, environmental of nutritional. At the present time there is no medically known reason. It is definitely known, however, that fibroids decrease in size during the post-menopause period when estrogen levels have decreased.
Often, during a routine vaginal exam, the gynecologist may palpate small or even large fibroids. Even the suggestion of this condition sets off an alarm in the minds of women. Most of the time, women may consider these tumors to be cancerous and want them removed immediately even against the advice of the physician. Rest assured if your physician advises against surgery, you are in good hands. If surgery is necessary, however, a hysterectomy is not the only answer. The small fibroids can be removed from the uterus surgically leaving the uterus intact. Laser surgery has been found to cut down the bleeding during surgery as well as recovery time for the patient.
Remember to have periodic examinations and pap smears in order to detect early curable gynecological conditions and choose a caring physician.
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