Hysterectomy: Here’s What to Expect

What is a Hysterectomy?

A gynecologic hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that removes a woman’s uterus from her body. A patient may choose to receive a hysterectomy to relieve pain or assist in progressing toward a desired lifestyle preference. This operation is safe, highly effective, and eliminates the chances of pregnancy.

Types of Hysterectomy

There is no single approach to this surgery, but each tactic utilized by your surgeon is equally as effective as the next. A hysterectomy can be can be performed through either the vagina or by a laparoscopic incision into the abdomen. The following examples will highlight the procedural options available by most OB-GYN surgeons.

  • Total Hysterectomy: Both the entire uterus and cervix are removed during this procedure.
  • Subtotal / Partial or Supra-Cervical Hysterectomy: The cervix is left intact, but the upper section of the uterus is removed. This procedure can only be performed abdominally.
  • Radical Hysterectomy: This procedure removes the uterus and other surrounding structures (eg. Cervix, Ovaries & Fallopian Tubes).

How is a Hysterectomy Performed?

The patient will receive general anesthesia and a urinary catheter to drain the bladder before initial vertical or horizontal incisions are made. Patients should note that a hysterectomy is performed based on the individual’s physical body. The type of incision depends on the size of the uterus, preexisting scars, and possibly the need to further explore the upper abdomen for a successful surgery. Once all preceding steps are completed – and the surgical tools are cleansed and sterilized – surgery can commence. The surgeon will then pass surgical instruments through the vagina or abdominal incision to work on the designated area. The blood vessels and connective tissues are detached so the uterus can be easily removed. Depending on the type of hysterectomy, other surrounding organs and tissues may be removed as well during the surgery.

Why Receive a Hysterectomy?

Receiving a hysterectomy is contingent on a variety of health conditions and life choices. Below you will find easily treatable conditions and reasons for receiving a hysterectomy.

Treatable Conditions

The symptoms and conditions described here can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort. To correct these abnormalities, a hysterectomy may be the best approach before pain develops into severe cases and chronic recurs.

Benefits

Your successful hysterectomy procedure will provide you with a generous amount of post-surgical benefits. You’ll find immediate relief from the symptoms that were once causing you pain and menstrual periods will never occur again – due to removal of the organ in which it takes place. Your sex life can return to normal and some women report to even experience more pleasure post-hysterectomy. A hysterectomy will improve your overall quality of life and promote a rejuvenated sense of well-being.

Preparing for a Hysterectomy

When you experience any symptoms like the ones listed above, you should contact a physician right away. Scheduling an appointment will allow the doctor to examine your body and accurately diagnose your condition before symptoms increase in severity. You’ll then undergo initial screening tests to check for various cancers. The presence of cancer will change the surgeon’s approach to your hysterectomy and these tests may include a cervical cytology test, endometrial biopsy, and a pelvic ultrasound. After you’ve undergone precautionary screening – and chosen which procedural method will be performed – the doctor will give you specific instructions to prepare. You’ll be instructed to wash your body with prescribed soap and perform a preoperative cleansing of the vagina and rectum to prevent infection. If all directions are followed, surgery will be a great success.

Board-Certified OB-GYN in Livingston, New Jersey

A hysterectomy is a life-changing procedure that can improve your bodily health and quality of life. Dr. Anthony Quartell, M.D. is a board certified OB-GYN surgeon who specializes in laparoscopic hysterectomy surgery. If you think this procedure may be the solution to relieve your symptoms, please contact us or call 973-716-9600 to schedule an appointment. Dr. Quartell is dedicated to delivering you back to full health so you can enjoy a worry-free life!

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Menopause Holiday Survival Guide

How to Manage Menopause During the Holidays

Menopause is an inevitable condition that officially marks the end of a woman’s menstrual cycle. While this might seem like a great reason to jump for joy, menopause comes with a wide range of unwanted symptoms. These common side effects don’t tend to mesh well with the hustle, bustle and stress of the holiday season – but fortunately, there’s a way for menopausal woman to effectively cope with her symptoms.

Get a Better Handle on Extreme Mood Swings

Mood swings are inevitable during menopause, triggered by constant hormonal shifts within a woman’s body. While there is a possibility that a woman experiencing menopause will have extreme levels of happiness, she will also feel depressed, sad and angry. Here are some different ways you can cope with your mood swings:

  • Seek support from family, friends and loved ones. Pick up the phone and call a friend, send a family member a sweet greeting card in the mail or meet for coffee with a favorite co-worker. Staying in touch and connected with loved ones will make the difficult mood swings more tolerable.
  • Sign up for an activity that helps promote relaxation. Whether it’s scheduling a massage at a local wellness center or trying a yoga class, find a new pastime that allows you to take a deep breath, lower your anxiety levels and feel more at ease.

Keep Yourself at a Healthy Weight

Women who have entered the menopausal stage in life are known to experience serious fluctuations in their weight, and gain weight more often than lose it. Since the holidays involve a lot of cooking and eating, pay close attention to what you’re consuming and doing to counteract the calorie intake. Here’s how you can keep a healthy weight during the holidays:

  • Even though it can be tempting to help yourself to one, two or even three plates of food during a holiday party or dinner, menopausal women especially should stick to the dietary guidelines for peopled aged 50 or older. Only consume the recommended portion sizes, and eat food on smaller plates.
  • Always stay active during the holidays. Even though outdoor activities like walking or jogging aren’t much of an option due to the cold weather, you can sign up for a gym membership, order a workout DVD or perform some simple at-home exercises every morning and night.

Effectively Deal with Stress

Trouble sleeping, hot flashes, sweating, a lowered sex drive and vaginal dryness are other common symptoms of menopause that add on to a woman’s stress levels. Since the holidays are already a high stress time for most people, it’s important to deal with stress and increased anxiety in a healthy way. Here’s how you can deal with your stress during the holidays:

  • Ask for help. Even if your family and friends have relied on you to do most of the holiday cooking and party planning in the past, call on your loved ones to help you out during the holidays. Even if it’s something as simple as a quick grocery store run, or bringing an extra dish to dinner, ask for help. Taking on all of the usual holiday tasks will only bring on more stress, making you feel worse than before.
  • Incorporate some (much needed) time for yourself during the holiday. Everyone – stressed out or not – needs a break, but women who are menopausal truly deserve one. Since most of your symptoms are tiring and unbearable, preventing you from living a quality lifestyle, it’s only fair to treat yourself to some rest and relaxation during the holidays. Schedule a manicure and pedicure appointment, read a chapter of your favorite book or go see a movie with friends to recuperate and feel refreshed.

Handle Menopause in a Healthy Way with Dr. Quartell

If you are a woman who is currently experiencing menopause, these tips will be sure to help you keep all your symptoms in check during the holidays. For more information about menopause, and any other gynecological condition, please contact the obstetrics and gynecology practice of Anthony C. Quartell, M.D. and Associates by calling 973-716-9600. You can also fill out an online form to shoot us a quick message or inquiry. We look forward to hearing from you, and helping you remain happy, calm and safe during this holiday season.

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What to Expect at Your Mammogram

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Even if it’s not your first mammogram, many women often are anxious before appointments. But there’s no need to be stressed! A breast screening is an important step in taking care of your body. Use our blog below to learn more about what the procedure entails and how to prepare for it to help ease your nerves!

What is a Mammogram?

A mammogram is one of the best ways to detect breast cancer as early as possible. Using low-dose X-rays, this specific type of breast imaging allows specialists to look for changes in a woman’s breast tissue. It is crucial that you do not put off your mammogram. The technology that is used can detect lumps that are too small to be felt in a self-examination. This is when breast cancer is easiest to treat.

How to Prepare for Your Mammogram

If you haven’t started menopause, it is best to schedule your mammogram for the week after your period. You don’t want to schedule it in the days leading up to or during your menstrual cycle, especially if that’s when you tend to experience breast tenderness. You may prefer to schedule your appointment for early in the day, as you cannot wear any deodorant, powder, lotion or ointment. Some of the ingredients in these products can show up on an X-ray.

On the day of your appointment, be sure to wear a two-piece outfit. You only have to remove your top for the exam, so separates make things more convenient. Be sure to describe any breast changes or problems to your doctor before the mammogram begins. You also need to tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or may be pregnant.

What Happens During a Mammogram?

During your screening, you and your technologist will be the only two people in the room. He or she will position you to get two X-rays of each breast. For some women, more pictures may be needed. If that’s the case, no need to worry! A technologist may reposition you for an extra X-ray or two, but this is usually just to get a better view. If you have implants, additional photos are almost always required.

To get the highest quality picture, your breasts need to be flattened. This allows the breast tissue to spread, ensuring a clear view of the breast and reducing the amount of radiation needed to produce an image. Some women experience some pain or discomfort during the compression. While the appointment usually takes about 20 minutes, the compression only lasts about 10 to 20 seconds per picture. Be sure to tell the technologist if you’re experiencing a tremendous amount of pain.

About Your Mammogram Results

A full report of your results will be sent to your health care provider. If there are any abnormal findings, the radiologist will send you a letter in the mail detailing what they found to be abnormal. While abnormal mammogram results can be scary, it does not necessarily mean you have cancer. It could just mean higher-resolution images or an ultrasound is needed to further examine you. Many women who have initial abnormal results are found to be perfectly healthy.

When Should You Schedule Your First Mammogram?

There is a lot of debate as to when women should schedule their first mammogram. Before 2009, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) used to recommend all women over 40 should schedule a yearly mammogram. But in 2009, the USPSTF updated its screening recommendations to state that a woman who is at average risk for breast cancer could wait until she turned 50, and that she could schedule a mammogram every 2 years, instead of yearly. This has caused much debate within the medical community, making it unclear for women as to when they should schedule their mammograms.

The best thing to do is to speak with your doctor. He or she will be able to help you decide what is the right choice for your body, depending on your medical history and risk of developing breast cancer.

Breast Health Services in Livingston, New Jersey

If you are concerned about your risk of developing breast cancer, it is important that you speak with an experienced gynecologist. Dr. Quartell and his staff would be happy to answer any questions or address any concerns you may have about your breast health, or any gynecological condition you may be experiencing. For more information or to schedule a visit to our Livingston, New Jersey office, please contact us today.

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When is it considered Postmenopausal Bleeding?

When a woman completes menopause, going without her menstrual period for more than one year, she should not experience any menstrual bleeding at all, not even spotting. If there is any bleeding there could be something wrong, therefore; it is important that an appointment is scheduled right away with the obstetrician gynecologist (ob/gyn) or healthcare provider.

Some of the conditions the provider will want to check for include:

Polyps – or growths, typically noncancerous, developing usually on the cervix, in the uterus, or inside the cervical canal.

Endometrial Atrophy – where the tissue lining the uterus becoming thin as a result of diminished levels of estrogen.

Endometrial Hyperplasia – where the uterus lining thickens, usually as a result of too much estrogen combined with too little progesterone. Bleeding could result from this.

Endometrial Cancer

Anytime there is bleeding after menopause is could possibly be an indication of endometrial cancer, hormone therapy, infection of the cervix or uterus, a result of certain medications such as blood thinners and other types of cancer.

The healthcare provider will examine the patient and likely order further testing such as an ultrasound, endometrial biopsy, hysteroscopy, or D&C depending on the circumstances.

Anthony C. Quartell, MD & Associates serves Livingston, N.J. Millburn, N.J., Verona, N.J., West Orange, N.J., and surrounding areas.

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  • Dr. Anthony C. Quartell has been recognized by New York Magazine and New Jersey Monthly numerous times in the category ‘Best Doctors’. In addition, he was rated and awarded ‘The Patients’ Choice Award’ by his patients!

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  • Dr. Anthony C. Quartell was rated and awarded ‘The Patients’ Choice Award’ by his patients!

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