On each side of the uterus at the top are the fallopian tubes and ovaries. Together, the uterus, vagina, ovaries, and fallopian tubes make up the reproductive system.
In women who have not gone through menopause ("the change" or "change of life"), the ovaries produce the hormone estrogen at the beginning of the menstrual cycle. Estrogen helps to prepare the lining of the uterus (called the endometrium) for possible pregnancy. When the uterus is ready, one of the ovaries releases an egg. The egg travels down the fallopian tube where it waits for possible fertilization.
If the woman becomes pregnant, the fertilized egg travels to the uterus where it attaches to the endometrium. If she does not, the endometrium and the unfertilized egg are discharged through the vagina during the woman's next period (menstruation).
Some of the problems that can affect your uterus are:
growths in the uterus, called fibroids,
which can cause pain and bleeding.
a condition in which the tissue that forms the lining of the
uterus grows outside the uterus.
each time you have your period or between
- Unexplained pelvic pain.
You will find words throughout this document that may not be familiar to you. These words are explained in the glossary.
Treatment OptionsYour doctor may have recommended that you have a hysterectomy or another kind of treatment. Before you decide what to do, it is important that you understand the problem and the different options you have for dealing with it.
The following information can help you think about your condition, learn about your treatment choices, and decide on some questions to ask your doctor.
Keep in mind that every woman is different and every situation is different. A good treatment choice for one woman may not be the best choice for another. That is why you should:
- Talk over your
options carefully with your doctor.
- Ask questions
until you understand what the doctor is telling you.
getting a second opinion.
- Work with your doctor to choose the treatment that is best for you.
You Are Not AloneThe first thing you need to know is that you are not alone. About 1 of every 10 women between the ages of 18 and 50 has this type of problem. Usually, the problem can be treated, and the symptoms can be relieved. Most women who have had treatment are satisfied with the results and are glad to be free of pain or other unpleasant symptoms.
The first step in getting relief is to find out what the problem is.
Reprinted from the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR)
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