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E. How a Major Surgery Could Possibly Be Avoided

Narrator: This is Science Today. A third of American women reach the age of sixty having had a hysterectomy. In this country each year, 600 thousand hysterectomies are performed - but nearly all of them for benign problems such as uterine fibroids or excessive bleeding. According to Dr. Alison Jacoby of the University of California, San Francisco, many hysterectomies could be avoided with the use of non-surgical treatments.

Jacoby: All too commonly women are recommended for hysterectomy when they could maybe with some medical treatment bridge the gap to menopause and not need surgery. Typically using birth control pills or progesterone.

Narrator: Fibroids are benign lumps in the uterus that can cause bleeding and discomfort. But Jacoby says they are not dangerous and their symptoms can be easily treated without surgery.

Jacoby: In the beginning when a person comes in, even if she has fibroids, if her symptom is heavy bleeding usually we try to use hormones to lessen the flow.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.