23 reasons why I want a hysterectomy for PMDD / severe PMS

by msjekyllhyde

Two nights ago I stayed up way too late doing extra online research into the pros and cons of hysterectomies, after foolishly ‘un-ignoring’ and reading some posts from a well known provocateur on the NAPS forum (I know, don’t feed the trolls!). I love research and I want to be sure I’ve covered all bases, but I got myself into quite a state! Luckily my jolly chap was there to give me a hug.

You see, there are some extremist propaganda sites out there whose motive is to scare women away from hysterectomy, as opposed to helping them make the right choice for their own body. In the past some women, particularly in North America, have been treated insensitively by the patriarchal medical establishment and there are some horror stories (like ovaries whipped out without consent just because you’re over 40, vaginas cut and made narrower without consent..*shudder*), I’ll post about this topic another time.

I woke up today feeling very well rested and clear headed, glad I didn’t fire off a letter yesterday postponing the operation! Instead I fired off this list:

23 reasons why I want a hysterectomy (including removal of the ovaries):

  1. Current thinking is that it is the only ‘true cure‘ for severe PMS/PMDD.
  2. Once the HRT is balanced I’ll be free of cyclical depression (joy!) and..
  3. Suicidal thoughts (experienced during the worst throes of PMDD).
  4. Jekyll & Hyde behaviour.
  5. Awful menstrual cramps.
  6. Birth control hassle (I’m child-free by choice).
  7. The hassle of having periods.
  8. No more smear tests.
  9. I’ll never get cancer in those areas (my mother had a hysterectomy in her 30’s after a smear test detected pre-cancerous cells).
  10. I haven’t had a bleed since June 2011 as I stopped trying any further different types of progestogens (I’m severely progesterone intolerant). (If you have estrogen therapy, which I do, and a uterus you need to shed the lining sometimes, otherwise you are at risk of developing ‘endometrial hyperplasia’=cancer of the womb lining).
  11. I won’t lose my partner to my extreme mood swings.
  12. I can make more work.
  13. I can make more money, see projects through, be consistent.
  14. I’ll be stronger / more resilient both in my personal life and in my career.
  15. I’ll be better equipped to deal with stress (I like big projects!).
  16. I won’t be the fearful, troubled person that I am in the throes of PMDD. She’s a real bore.
  17. I don’t want to ruin the rest of my 30’s or 40’s, a really key time in my career (parts of my 20’s and early 30’s were very difficult due to depression, which I now think was cyclical depression – part of PMDD, hormone-related rather than psychological).
  18. Less/no binge eating or cravings (130lb in 2005, I loved it!).
  19. No monthly crash / loss of confidence.
  20. More consistent sleep.
  21. No anti-depressants (I hate that ‘flat’ feeling).
  22. Less of a need to shop! (I’ve hoarding tendencies).
  23. If I don’t have the operation I’ll be perimenopausal (pre-menopausal) in 5-10 years time (possibly less), which will bring its own mood problems for someone with my history..

Downsides of a hysterectomy

  1. ALL operations carry some risk and I am not undertaking it likely, i.e. my surgeon says that there is a one in a thousand chance that when he goes in through my belly button laparoscopically he may accidentally puncture the wrong organ (I don’t have endometriosis so my organs aren’t stuck together, so I should be ok).
  2. It may well take some time to balance the HRT so I’ll probably have to deal with some menopausal symptoms poking through during this time – but I’m under the care of THE top people on the NHS.
  3. Ongoing use of HRT may bring it’s own problems (controversial topic), OR it may protect me!
  4. Psychological implications – however there are massive psychological implications for me NOT having the operation, see list above!
  5. No uterine orgasmic contractions (no uterus!), so orgasms may feel different.
  6. Possible lower sexual response/libido – but, living with PMDD is very bad for my relationship!

So my eyes are WIDE open! The hysterectomy is scheduled for 23 February 2012, on the NHS. Everyone needs to do what’s right for them, and this feels like the right choice for me.