I'm nearly 43 and personally I can't imagine having a hysterectomy while in my 40's. (We're still so young!!)
I was having an awful time last year with heavy bleeding as I was just entering the throes of perimenopause. My gynecologist suggested a number of treatments, including ablation and hysterectomy. I decided to go with the most conservative route, which was going on a birth control pill. It solved the problem, and I'm grateful that I didn't have to consider a hysterectomy. I really feel for you, having to deal with this issue!
I have a close friend who had a complete hysterectomy (ovaries, cervix too) while in her 40's and it was a horrible experience for her. I'm sure it's different for every woman, but if I were in your situation, I'd try to put off a hysterectomy as long as possible.
Your friends who said that hysterectomy was the best thing that happened to them -- do you know if they take hormone replacement therapy?