Hot Flushes… Night Sweats… Mood Swings…a few of the surgical menopause symptoms one can expect!
Whether or not they remove your ovaries along with the uterus, you will experience some menopausal symptoms after the surgery.
According to researchers at Duke University, younger women who undergo hysterectomies face nearly two-fold increased risk for developing menopause early.
Hysterectomy is a common treatment for several conditions related to female reproductive health. It is one of the most common surgical procedures among women, with nearly 60,000 women undergoing the surgery every year.
Difference between natural menopause and surgical menopause symptoms
Menopause is a natural part of a woman’s aging process. It usually occurs between the ages of 35 and 51. Menopause occurs when the ovaries stop producing eggs, resulting in ending of menstruation. This transition of phase from reproductive stage to peri-menopause or menopause is often associated with several uncomfortable symptoms, such as hot flushes, night sweats, weight gain, irritability, mood swings, anxiety, and depression.
For some women, these symptoms are mild and easily managed by diet, exercise, and stress management techniques. But anyone suffering from surgical menopause symptoms knows that it can make you feel extremely miserable.
What is surgical menopause?
Women who have undergone hysterectomy start experiencing menopausal symptoms after the operation. Surgical menopause causes an immediate plunge into post-menopausal stage after they remove the ovaries and uterus. The surgical menopause symptoms are more sudden and clear in cases where they remove ovaries and fallopian tubes along with the uterus.
Why does it occur?
In a female body, the ovaries are responsible for maintaining normal levels of female hormones Progesterone and estrogen. If both of your ovaries are left intact during hysterectomy, there are two possible outcomes:
Your ovaries may function normally and continue to produce estrogen and progesterone until the usual age of menopause. So, you may experience pre-menopausal symptoms even if you are not menstruating. This happens due to the fluctuating female hormones.
In some cases, ovaries stop producing hormones sooner than they normally would. This condition is known as apparent early ovarian failure, and usually, happens one or two years after the surgery. This is the most common outcome, where the patient undergoes early menopause. It is still unknown what triggers ovaries to shut down after hysterectomy.
If the ovaries and fallopian tubes are surgically removed with the uterus, you directly enter into surgical menopause stage. This is because there is a sudden decline of ovarian hormones, which in turn result in surgical menopausal symptoms. As there is no transition phase, you may experience symptoms of menopause after hysterectomy more severe than with natural menopause.
Women may experience long-term negative effects such as osteoporosis, lack of sex drive, and cardiovascular diseases.
Management of menopause after hysterectomy:
Ideally, all women(especially the younger ones) need to learn about the potential consequences of surgical menopause from her doctor. Treatment of surgical menopause focuses on easing the symptoms and preserving long-term health.
There are different treatment measures such as hormone replacement therapy, Bio-Identical hormones that help in relieving surgical menopause symptoms in 80 to 90 percent of women. Consult your health care provider to discuss the best possible treatment for you.
Hysterectomy is a vital operation as it provides relief for several conditions like uterine and cervical cancer, fibroids, endometriosis etc. It is usually performed when other less invasive treatments fail to give relief. However, surgical menopause symptoms after hysterectomy are the major side effects of the surgery that one needs to consider along with its benefits.