A wide variety of benign (non-cancerous) conditions may affect a woman’s reproductive system, which consists of the uterus, vagina, ovaries and fallopian tubes. Most of these conditions affect the uterus, which is the hollow, muscular organ that holds a baby as it grows inside of a pregnant woman. Common types of gynecologic conditions – such as fibroids (non-cancerous growths in the uterine wall), endometriosis (non-cancerous growths of the uterine lining) or prolapse (falling or slipping of the uterus) – can cause chronic pain and heavy bleeding, as well as other disabling symptoms.
When medication and other treatments are unable to relieve symptoms, hysterectomy – the surgical removal of the uterus – is often recommended to provide a more effective, definitive, long-term solution. In fact, this procedure is the second most common surgical procedure for women in the United States, and an estimated one third of all U.S. women will have a hysterectomy by age 60.1