ZocdocAnswersCan hysterectomies help sufferers of lupus?

Question

Can hysterectomies help sufferers of lupus?

I suffer from lupus and I'm considering getting an elective hysterectomy for other reasons. Is it possible that getting my uterus removed would mitigate the effects of lupus at all? I wouldn't make the decision based only on this, but knowing it might make the decision easier.

Answer

Unfortunately, having a hysterectomy is unlikely to improve your lupus symptoms for most patients. Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that is poorly understood. It usually involves multiple organs and seems to affect the entire body. Unless your symptoms from lupus directly involve your uterus, such as increased vaginal bleeding or the possibility of becoming pregnant in the future, it is unlikely that removing the uterus will help you to feel any better. Some of the common symptoms of lupus include fever, weight loss, arthritis, kidney, eye, skin, and other problems, some of which are mediated by the production of immunoglobulins. Gastrointestinal problems, which might seem to stem from your abdomen and might appear to involve your uterus, are often due to medications that are used to treat lupus, such as Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) and steroids that can cause ulcers, among other conditions. The uterus is a muscle that undergoes changes on a monthly basis as regulated by normal hormones. In general, it responds to hormones rather than causing other organs to respond. There is some evidence that pregnancy itself (noting that the babies do develop in the uterus) can cause increased lupus symptoms. In that respect, it may be acceptable to note that an inability to become pregnant may be beneficial in that there will not be flares secondary to pregnancy. Hysterectomy can be recommended for many reasons, but, like any surgery, should be considered carefully before deciding. Your physician would know you and your specific symptoms best, and could answer questions more effectively regarding the benefits of a hysterectomy. Elective surgery is always a cause to stop and think, and most surgeons would welcome a thoughtful patient seeking a second opinion from another surgeon prior to making such a decision.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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