Hysterectomy is performed for one of several reasons, including the following:

  • Fibroids: These are benign tumors that grow inside the uterus. Fibroids can cause persistent bleeding, anemia, pelvic pain, and/or bladder pressure.
  • Endometriosis: This is a condition in which uterine tissue grows outside the uterus—on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or elsewhere in the body. Endometriosis can cause painful menstrual periods and/or heavy bleeding, and can sometimes cause infertility.
  • Uterine prolapse: If the ligaments and tissues supporting the uterus become weakened, the uterus can slip down into the vagina. Uterine prolapse can lead to urinary incontinence, a feeling of pelvic pressure, or difficulty with bowel movements.
  • Gynecologic cancer: Hysterectomy is often part of treatment for cancer of the uterus, cervix, ovaries, and/or fallopian tubes.
  • Persistent vaginal bleeding: Heavy, irregular periods that consistently last longer than 5–7 days may be treated with hysterectomy when other treatments are ineffective.
  • Chronic pelvic pain: In some cases, no cause is found for this condition. Hysterectomy may be performed as a last resort when other treatments have failed.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 10 Jun 2001

Last Modified: 17 Sep 2015