Hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus. And in some severe cases, ovaries, fallopian tubes and cervix are removed along with it. Post the surgery, a woman can no longer get her menstrual periods and cannot become pregnant. This major medical procedure, which should ideally be done only when no other treatments work for any uterus-related issue, is being done on thousands of women in India without giving them any choice. The worrisome factor about unnecessary hysterectomy is the consequences of getting a uterus removed which are concealed from these women and are convinced to undergo the surgery.
Prevalence of unnecessary hysterectomy in India
A landmark survey conducted by the Government of India in 2018 revealed 22,000 women out of 700,000 surveyed have had their uteruses removed between the ages of 15-49. Professionally, this procedure is recommended in later stages of women’s lives, but in rural areas, the maximum girls in their 20s are undergoing this cruel procedure, revealed the same survey.
In rural areas, poor and uneducated women are subject to manual labor on farms. They are controlled by their contractors and have no say when it comes to demanding leave while they are menstruating. The pain and bleeding get tormenting and hysterectomy becomes their only solution. When they go to a hospital they are not made aware of the grave consequences. Due to a lack of information, women fail to make an informed decision and end up in misery even after spending a lot of money on the surgery. Another contributing factor to the unnecessary hysterectomy is a misogynistic viewpoint. It is believed that the primary job of a woman’s body is to give birth and when that is done, their uteruses can be disposed of.
Consequences of hysterectomy
The prevalence of hysterectomy has made it a standard procedure to treat uterus-related health issues. But in reality, it comes with a lot of side effects which may even lead to death. Both the uterus and ovaries work together to keep a woman healthy in their whole life and thus, are needed. They are also important to keep the organs in their place. If removed, the following could be the complications of it:
- Bleeding for days or weeks
- Infection if a proper medical procedure is not followed
- Displacement of the vagina and pelvic organ
- Bladder and bowel dysfunction and prolapse
- Torso collapses
- Hips widen
- Spin and rip cage fall
- Reduced mobility and chronic pain
- Reduced libido
- Personality changes
- Higher risk of cancer
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Development of cardiovascular diseases
The women of rural areas opt for a hysterectomy to get rid of their period pain and discomfort to be able to work effectively on the farms. However, due to the consequences of it, they unknowingly end up inviting health issues which makes them incapable to work at all.
Stop the inhuman practice
Hysterectomy is a major surgical procedure that is often recommended in the case of fibroids, cancer of uterus or cervix, abnormal vaginal bleeding or thickening of the uterus when no other available treatment options seem to work. To stop this inhuman practice of unnecessary removal of the uterus education, awareness and standing together for the cause will certainly help. Unnecessary hysterectomy is not limited to rural areas, many private doctors and clinics in urban areas practice it as well. So, what will you do if you or any other woman you know has been advised to get her uterus removed? Advise them:
- To talk to their doctor
- To consider watchful waiting
- To seek a second opinion
- To educate themselves on other options
- To weigh if it is right for them
It’s high time that we all stand up together for the women of our nation and stop this inhuman practice. You can do your bit by signing the petition on Change.org – http://chng.it/CvrnVnKbYZ and raise enough voice to make the government make laws to ban unnecessary uterus removal surgeries.
Watch the horrifying story of thousands of female farmworkers of India who are suffering the pain of unnecessary hysterectomies –
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