Read on to learn about the #2000womenaday.
One day, you may be at a crossroads, faced with one single decision that will have as much effect on your health as diet, or exercise, or whether or not you smoke.
Here’s how it starts...you may have fibroids or endometriosis. Being in pain, on top of the 500 periods most of us have in our lifetimes, you may be one of the hundreds of thousands of women a year whose doctor recommends a hysterectomy. 40% of U.S. women have had a hysterectomy by the time they’re between ages 45 and 54. (source: Dept of Health & Human Services) The hysterectomy isn't the issue, but it's related.
You might ask why your doctor is removing your entire uterus instead of just the fibroids or endometriosis. After all, most surgeries remove the illness, not the whole organ. If so, you’re asking good questions. But, here’s where we really need to pay attention: During 55% of the 735,000 elective hysterectomies in the U.S. (we had to do a FOIA request to even find out this number), we women agree to let our surgeons take our healthy ovaries. Another 300,000 women's ovaries are removed because of cysts that could be removed on their own. 22,000 women in total develop ovarian cancer earch year in the U.S., but 700,000 women a year are convinced to remove their healthy ovaries. You may agree to this because you don’t know that it’s pretty much the crappiest idea possible. (What about that stat on the first page? . Average age at hysterectomy: 42. There are at least 830,000 hysterectomies in the U.S. each year. source: CDC & AHRQ)
Our ovaries are not just reproductive organs that can be thrown away if we don't want or are finished having children (your uterus shouldn't be, either) - ovaries are both exocrine and endocrine glands. Though the exocrine part (releasing eggs) ends at menopause, the inner, endocrine part keeps making hormones that we need for our entire lives. If you didn’t know that, you’re actually in the majority, but it’s absolutely true - we need them. They form a connection to our brains called the HPG axis, and make hormones that keep us healthy for our entire lives.
If any part of our endocrine system is acting up, we get sick. Our ovaries are no exception. If they’re gone entirely? We get really sick. Because this system affects every single cell in our bodies, women who lose their ovaries are proven to age throughout their whole bodies much more quickly. If your mom’s ovaries were removed, or failed after hysterectomy, and she got fibromyalgia, heart disease, lung cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, type II diabetes... chances are that surgery played a big role. The changes in our brain & adrenal chemistry can also lead to depression & anxiety. Women change - they feel less joyful & connected. It’s not psychological - it’s chemical. It’s a tragedy that’s gone on in the U.S. for over four decades, and has already affected more than 15 million women living in the U.S. today.
Doctors know that, too - there have been lots of large, serious studies that have proven it. Yet, it’s still done more than 700,000 times a year. 2,000 times a day. We don’t know why doctors haven’t stopped, but we’re done asking. Now, we’re insisting!
Our sister site, OB/GYN Reform (READ the hundreds of Mayo Clinic, UCLA, etc. studies about the issue and illnesses compiled here), is the one where we've compiled the research and information intended for physicians, the press, and legislators. We’re pissed off for all the women who went before us who were made sick, and need to be sure this isn't our future. Please support OB/GYN Reform’s open letter to Congress, asking what the hell is going on and telling them it’s their job to make it stop. The work was validated by Dr. Walter Rocca at Mayo and Dr. William Parker at UCLA. You can read the letter here.
This is no different from other women's rights violations - from clitoridectomies to the issue of reproductive freedom, our bodies are not there to profit from or use for experiments. To understand & share the basics, our PDF fact sheet is available.
Since July 2015, this issue has been with various government agencies for a response: Sen. Mark Warner, Sen. Patty Murray, Congressman Connolly, and Gov. McAuliffe. We've heard from the Virginia Dept of Health who suggested we "educate the ACOG." We've heard from the ACOG, who said it's women's poor choices driving the surgery. The confusion in government is that they think they are being asked to regulate medicine. They're not. They are being asked to stop a harmful, very profitable practice, and this is already their most important job. We have hundreds of studies and they all say the same thing: women whose ovaries are removed die prematurely preceded by serious illness. We need a Congressional hearing urgently. Instead? Sen. Mark Warner sent a 23 year old aide into a meeting ALONE with the doctors who make $33,000 per surgery to keep doing this. That aide looked at our 500+ studies documenting the harm and said, "Keep it up. Proof's in the pudding." No words.
Protecting us from harm is Congress' most important job. Call or write your congresspeople, urging them to support a congressional investigation into this act of ignorance that is making 2,000 women sick every single day. Capitol Switchboard: 202.224.3121 or find them online. Also, call the White House comments line at 202.456.1111 and urge President Obama to support our request for a hearing on this issue.
Were your healthy ovaries removed at hysterectomy? Please write to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us your story confidentially.
The U.S. leads the world in this doing this to women. How often are surgeons around the world taking healthy ovaries during an elective hysterectomy?
Hysterectomy, alone, is a $25 BILLION industry here in the U.S.
The doctors who perform ovary removal tell their patients that the surgery prevents cancer, but 98% of us don’t have the risk this surgery might address. For the 2% of us who do, which can be determined through genetic testing, this surgery may make sense because the benefit likely offsets the terrible risks, but for the rest of us, this surgery is pointless and very harmful. Despite more than 15 million women whose ovaries were removed during their hysterectomies over the last 40 years, the rate of women who die of ovarian cancer has not changed. That pretty much tells the whole story. We’re not profit machines to be made sick and turned over to the drug companies for medication in the form of hormones. Learn about the studies behind these petitions here.
Tell Congress: Violating women’s human rights has no place in a civilized society. Protect the #2000womenaday.