Sometimes, for medical reasons such as endometriosis or uterine fibroids, a woman has to have a hysterectomy. In this procedure a woman uterus is removed. Menopause after hysterectomy can occur when the ovaries are removed. There are three different types of hysterectomies radical, total and partial. When a radical hysterectomy is performed the ovaries, cervix, lymph nodes and uterus are removed. In a total hysterectomy, the ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix and uterus are all removed. In a partial, only the uterus is removed.
If a procedure which removes the ovaries, like a radical or total hysterectomy, is performed menopause generally follows. However, if you don’t have to have your ovaries removed (as in a partial hysterectomy), you may not experience menopause because your ovaries will still be intact and able to produce hormones.
Menopause after hysterectomy
Because menopause after hysterectomy is so sudden, it can be devastating for a woman unlike when they go through it naturally and have the symptoms come on slowly over time. Menopause after hysterectomy can be especially difficult if the woman is still in what would typically be child-bearing years. Not because the symptoms will be any different but because she may struggle with feelings of loss over no longer having the ability to bear children.
So, there is no doubt that this is a difficult issue. This wasn’t written as a means to scare you but as a way to shed some light on the situation. You need to remember that just as with natural menopause being a unique experience for every woman, so is going through menopause after a hysterectomy.
Theres no way to say for sure the menopausal symptoms a woman will face after surgery but there have been some common ones noted. Those are:
- Hot flashes
- Mood swings
- Night sweats
These are common symptoms for menopausal women, regardless of whether menopause is occurs naturally or is brought on by a hysterectomy. The big differences in the symptoms are a woman who has had a hysterectomy will experience them more severely because their body is literally thrust immediately into menopause after their surgery. When menopause occurs naturally, a woman has more time to get used to these new sensations, so its not so shocking to her system.
Hysterectomy and menopause treatment
But the good thing is that there are things you can do to fight the hysterectomy and menopause symptoms. There are natural remedies you can try but more than likely your doctor will recommend HRT (hormone replacement therapy) as one of the main treatments. If you want to use natural remedies, you can opt for different herbs like:
- Wild yam
- Red clover
- Dong Quai
These herbs are known to help rebalance hormone levels which may be upset after a hysterectomy. If you do choose to go the natural route to treat your symptoms, be sure to seek the advice of your physician or surgeon before starting, especially if you are doing HRT. Your doctor will also be able to clear up any questions you may have about menopause after hysterectomy.
You are not alone
Whether you experience menopause naturally or menopause after hysterectomy, its important to remember that you’re not alone all women go through it. In fact, some even look forward to it. Learning to manage the symptoms will help you navigate this new territory of hysterectomy and menopause easily, so be sure to do your research, talk to your doctor, and most of all take care of yourself.