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Answers from our Priests for Life Medical Team

Submitted by: A on  5/3/2011
Answered by: Matthew P. Harrison, M.D.
Topic: Hysterectomy for Endometriosis
I am a 36 year old with stage IV endometriosis. I had a laparatomy with the removal of one ovary and tube due to a tumor a few years ago. I have since had two laparoscopies to remove endo and separate frozen pelvis. My left ovary was tested with dye and shown to be non-patent (previous ectopic pregnancy). My doctor is recommending a complete hysterectomy. Does this sound like the correct treatment? Is this morally acceptable or should I get another opinion? Thank you for any input as this is a very difficult time for us.
Thank you for your question and I am sorry for your struggle with endometriosis.  It can be a chronic and painful disease that robs many women of their ability to conceive and carry children.  If you have stage IV endometriosis and it has done the amount of damage that you describe, your doctor’s advice is probably good and is certainly within the morally acceptable treatment as defined by the Catholic Church.  His treatment of the disease, which involves removing some of the organs that are involved in fertility, is medically justifiable and only as a secondary effect does it result in permanently removing fertility.  I always encourage patients to get a second opinion for any procedure that they are questioning, and I think that in your case, a pro-life physician would agree with your surgeon's approach.  God Bless you and you will be in our prayers.

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