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A well-researched, exhaustive handbook for women facing hysterectomy--an operation still performed far too frequently in this country. In spite of a blast of publicity and consumer/physician consciousness-raising five-to-ten years ago, the hysterectomy rate in the US is still four times the rate in Europe--and the average age here for the operation is 35. Recent research has firmly established, however, that the uterus does much more than just hold growing babies--and that a woman's health will be drastically affected by a hysterectomy, even if she is over childbearing age. Culter (Menopause: A Guide for Women and the Men Who Love Them, 1983) does a fine job here of collecting the facts, explaining them thoroughly, and providing supporting evidence so that affected readers can approach their physicians informed and ready to ask the right questions. Cutler sets out her point of view at the outset: First, and foremost, the ""exquisite intricacy"" of the female body's workings is dependent on the uterus and ovaries--""good health relies on the complex, interrelated contributions of the various parts of a woman's body."" It has been firmly established that the uterus plays a role in ovarian function; that it ""produces substances that affect brain function and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and it is a sexually responsive organ."" Cutler goes on to stress a slow, reasoned approach when considering surgery (she describes alternatives); explains why the actual surgical technique must be considered; endorses hormone replacement therapy; and explains the need/availability of other health measures in recovery. A thorough guide offering vital new information, as well as instruction and support for those who statistics show to be in need of real help.

Pub Date: Oct. 26th, 1988
Publisher: Harper & Row