Can Hysterectomy Bring On Menopause Symptoms?

The majority of women will not have menopause along with its symptoms until they reach their late 40s or early 50s. Those who undergo a hysterectomy, however, frequently have earlier menopause symptoms, and they are more severe. Because of this, you should understand the link between menopause and hysterectomy, as well as the factors that cause menopause symptoms following your hysterectomy. You should also talk to your doctor about any related questions following your surgery.

Can Hysterectomy Bring On Menopause Symptoms?

Why Hysterectomies Bring On Symptoms of Menopause?

A woman begins to experience menopause when their ovaries stop working. In the case of a total hysterectomy which removes ovaries, menopause starts right after the surgery, regardless of the patient’s age at the time of the procedure. For women who experience gradual deterioration of their ovaries, the symptoms may arrive slowly. In the case of ovary removal, known as oophorectomy, symptoms such as mood swings, vaginal dryness, and hot flashes will typically arrive quickly. Because of this, women undergoing total hysterectomies may want to look into hormone replacement options designed to reduce the severity of menopause symptoms following the surgery.

Menopause Waits While Ovaries Are Intact

While menopause and hysterectomy are always linked in the case of a complete ovary removal, that is not the case with a partial hysterectomy. If one or both of the ovaries remain following the procedure, it is unlikely to experience menopause early, as the body keeps producing estrogen. Menstruation will end, but women with partial hysterectomies who keep at least one ovary typically begin menopause within the same range of ages as women who do not have hysterectomies.

Some research has shown that those with a history of partial hysterectomies may begin menopause about two years earlier, but this is much closer to the average age range than with women who have a total hysterectomy. It is also important to note that every woman has different experiences with menopause. Because of this, some women may have severe symptoms without any temperature or mood fluctuations.

There Is No Single Experience with Menopause Symptoms

As you consider your menopause and hysterectomy, remember that no journey will be the same as another. Some women will experience hot flashes and additional symptoms immediately, while others will have much less severe symptoms. Even for women who do not have a hysterectomy, it can be challenging to figure out when menopause will arrive, how it will impact the women, and how severe or long the symptoms will be. Even women with severe symptoms can still live a normal life, particularly with the available options for symptom management.

How to Deal with Menopause After Hysterectomy

Following a hysterectomy, you will need to deal with menopause in some way, and your doctor can discuss various options with you.

Hormone Replacement Therapy

The most common option for treating menopause and hysterectomy is hormone replacement therapy, or HRT. Beginning this therapy as soon as possible after surgery will control symptoms. Most women only need estrogen following a hysterectomy, although those with a history of severe endometriosis or a subtotal hysterectomy may also take progestogen.

There are multiple methods of taking estrogen, and your doctor will discuss the best choice for you. Tablets tend to be taken daily and can vary in terms of doses and types. Some women opt for patches, which are applied to your skin right below the waste. You change them one to two times a week, and once again the doses and types vary. Skin gels can be rubbed onto your skin each day. There are also vaginal preparations, but these are only used for treating urinary and vaginal symptoms. They are creams, vaginal tablets, vaginal rings, or pessaries. Progestogen is always given in the form of a tablet or a patch where it is combined with estrogen.

Keep in mind that many women need to try several doses and types of hormone replacement therapy before discovering the right one for them.

Options Other than Hormone Replacement Therapy

Not every woman will do well with hormone replacement therapy to lessen symptoms of menopause. Those with a history of severe liver problems, endometrial cancer, or breast cancer cannot take HRT. It is also not always right for those with a history of thrombosis or heart problems. In these cases, there are prescriptions other than hormone replacement therapy that can control sweats and flushes. Just remember that these alternatives don’t cure the symptoms; they treat them.

In some cases, a woman will not be able to take most estrogen preparations but can safely take vaginal estrogen. Remember, however, that this only works to treat vaginal or urinary symptoms. For women experiencing discomfort during intercourse, a simple vaginal lubricant may be enough. There are also multiple bone medications available that can prevent the bone loss associated with menopause, but those are typically just prescribed for those who are at least fifty years old.

Herbal Supplements

Your doctor may also suggest an herbal preparation or nutritional supplement, like black cohosh or phytoestrogen, but there is very limited research. Some research does suggest that phytoestrogens can reduce sweats and flushes for some women. These are weak plant estrogens in seeds, fruits, vegetables, soy, lentils, red clover, and beans. Phytoestrogens will not work for all women and they may take three months to produce results. Black cohosh can improve sweats or flushes, but you should discuss either of these things with your doctor first. Whenever you opt for an alternative remedy or food supplement, opt for a product from a well-known brand featuring a quality guarantee.

Healthy Lifestyle

Women should also make a commitment to a healthy lifestyle following menopause. The risk of heart disease increases with age and following menopause, although HRT reduces it among younger women. Smoking can also increase the risk of developing heart disease or osteoporosis or worsen hot flashes. Flushes can also worsen with inactivity, weight gain, stress, a hot environment, warm beverages, alcohol, spicy food, or caffeine.

Doctors also suggest exercising regularly, building up gradually to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily. This can help with weight control, sweats, flushes, sleep, mood, and the health of heart and bones, plus the sex drive. You should also follow a varied diet with five portions of vegetables and fruits daily plus three portions of calcium daily and two portions oily fish weekly.

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