Fibroids: More than one-third of all hysterectomies are done because of fibroids in or on the uterus wall. Ranging from the size of a pea to a grapefruit, fibroids can interfere with pregnancy, labor, and delivery. The growths, which are aggravated by hormones, often shrink and mostly disappear on their own with menopause.
Endometriosis: About one-quarter of hysterectomies are done because of endometriosis, a disease in which bits of tissue from the uterine lining relocate to other parts of the body resulting in inflammation and pain. Untreated, it can cause scarring, adhesions, and infertility. Endometriosis usually subsides with menopause.
Prolapse: This happens when organs sag internally due to factors such as childbirth or heredity. Prolapse accounts for 20 percent of all hysterectomies. If prolapse is advanced, the uterus may sag into or out of the vagina. Those with prolapse feel pressure in the pelvic region or may experience bladder or bowel problems.
Other reasons: The remaining reasons include abnormal uterine bleeding, chronic pelvic pain, and pelvic inflammatory disease caused by bacteria entering the vaginal cavity and making its way to the uterus and fallopian tubes. Hysterectomy is also done for adenomyosis, a disease in which the uterine lining, or endometrium, seems to grow into the muscular part of the uterus.
Hysterectomy is often recommended for cervical cancer, although other options may be sufficient for very early cancers. It may also be done if other cancers have attacked the reproductive organs. Hysterectomies are considered the only appropriate treatment for uterine cancer.