Better Than A Hysterectomy

New research undertaken in Finland finds that women who have chosen to use an intrauterine device that releases hormones had a better experience than those women who opted to have a hysterectomy. That's good news because it means that fewer women will be having this all-too-common surgery that often has a negative impact on both physical and emotional well-being. The results of this study have been published in the major Nordic journal Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, which also has an international following in the medical world.

Heavy Bleeding

This research involved a randomized study involving 239 female participants aged 35 to 49 years. All of the participants suffered from heavy bleeding during menstruation. The results of this study found that in five years of follow-up visits, women who'd undergone Mirena insertion did better long-term than those women who'd had a hysterectomy.

The first follow-up examination took place between 6 and 12 months. During this time, lower back pain was reduced in both groups. In those who'd had surgery, there was reduced abdominal pain. After the five year check-up however, it was found that the group who had undergone Mirena insertion had greater relief on both counts. They also emphasized that their lower back pain was not just reduced, but greatly reduced.

Co-editor of the journal in which the study was published, Dr. Margit Dueholm, commented, "Heavy menstrual bleeding is a common problem among women of this age and it is often connected to pain in the lower abdomen, pelvis and back. These problems seem to be more significantly reduced with the use of a hormone-releasing intrauterine device than by a hysterectomy operation."

Much Improved

Dueholm goes on to explain that the hysterectomy has been much improved through modern methods that help make this surgery minimally invasive, for instance through laparoscopic surgery, but believes these results show that there is still a great deal of room for technical improvements to this surgical procedure. She concludes that the study is persuasive in suggesting that the hormone-releasing Mirena intrauterine device should be the first line of treatment in women with excessive menstrual bleeding, rather than opting to remove the womb, a much more drastic decision.

The study was directed by Professor Jorma Paavonen from the Helsinki University. Paavonen's collaborative team was made up of scientists from various Finnish university departments as well as by researchers from two obstetric clinics in Finland.

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