COPING WITH A HYSTERECTOMY: Your Own Choice, Your Own Solution by Susanne Morgan

COPING WITH A HYSTERECTOMY: Your Own Choice, Your Own Solution

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A creditable companion to recent activist women's health guides--focusing on the health, social, and political aspects of the most common major operation performed in the US. Morgan, who had a hysterectomy herself, passes along the research finding that half of all living American women are likely to have one, while many, many others ""will be offered a hysterectomy and will decline."" She approaches the questions on two levels: What should individuals ask themselves about the operation when it's recommended to them? What should women be asking about the use and frequency of hysterectomies in this country? Her background information is clear but not oversimplified. Some of the arguments for the operation, she feels, are valid (as in the case of a life-threatening malignant illness); others are questionable or frankly wrong (for prevention of disease or sterilization). To help women facing the operation (for whatever reason), Morgan discusses how to get a second opinion, what exactly the operation is, how to cope with hospital routine, and what the post-operative period is like--including possible emotional effects, reactions to sterility, and attitudes of family members. Especially valuable is her discussion of changes in sexuality. Morgan believes that the uterus may indeed have a role in some women's sexual response; they should be aware of this prior to surgery and, if undeterred, know how to adjust afterward. She also presents both sides of related questions--whether or not to use estrogen replacement therapy, for one--and addresses some wider issues: hysterectomy rates still reflect overall US trends toward more surgery, ""particularly in situations where there is profit, and on women and minority group members."" In view of this trend--and the unease about hysterectomies generally--Morgan's sympathetic, enlightening, and probing guide is a welcome arrival.

Pub Date: March 5th, 1982
Publisher: Dial