If I Have a Hysterectomy, Will I Go Through Menopause?

Not All Hysterectomies Trigger Early Menopause

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A hysterectomy only triggers menopause in premenopausal women if the surgeon removes your ovaries along with your uterus. This instantaneous menopause is called surgical or induced menopause.

The removal of your uterus is called a hysterectomy and after the procedure you won't have the flow of your period anymore. If your ovaries are removed at the same time it's a special procedure called a hysterectomy with bilateral oophorectomy.

Leaving your ovaries intact allows your body to continue to produce estrogen, which naturally helps to protect you from osteoporosis (bone loss), heart disease, and other health conditions.

It's not uncommon for a healthcare professional to recommend that a woman with a higher risk of ovarian cancer should have them removed. However, new clinical studies suggest leaving the ovaries and removing the fallopian tubes instead is an equally effective treatment for the most common type of ovarian cancer, according to information from WomensHealth.gov.

Menopausal symptoms post hysterectomy with bilateral oophorectomy

If you had your ovaries removed too, you are apt to experience any and all of the symptoms of menopause. Even if you're young and in your child-bearing years.

Surgical menopause happens abruptly as a reaction to your body's sudden inability to produce estrogen, instead of the gradual process that happens under natural circumstances.

Keep in mind, menopausal symptoms vary in degree from woman to woman and may not appear at all.

Common vasomotor symptoms of menopause include night sweats and hot flashes and are caused by expanding blood vessels. Reduced estrogen levels can cause vaginal dryness.

Vaginal dryness can make sex painful and, in turn, decrease desire.

Your healthcare professional might recommend using water-based lubricants or a topical low estrogen cream.

Some studies show simply staying sexually active, either with your partner or through self-stimulation, keeps blood and vaginal secretions flowing, which can go a long way towards ameliorating vaginal dryness. Open communication with your partner, oral sex and outercourse, such as extended foreplay and mutual masturbation, are other natural ways to alleviate the symptoms of vaginal dryness due to surgical menopause.

A sense of loss

After hysterectomy, it's common for women to feel a sense of loss. This is true whether you experience menopausal symptoms after losing your ovaries or not. You may feel depressed, sad and have less energy for daily activities. These are normal feelings. Talk to your healthcare professional about solutions, such as a support group.

Emotional distress can be especially strong when an unexpected hysterectomy prevents you and your partner from having the biological children you planned on.

These are normal feelings. Talk to your health care professional about couples counseling and other options, such as adoption and foster parenting.

Post-hysterectomy issues with ovaries intact

Women with their ovaries intact but without their uterus won't get their period anymore. You may, however, still experience premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) because the hormones made by your ovaries will cause your body to still "cycle" monthly.

Occasionally women whose ovaries were not removed during a hysterectomy experience hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms, known as vasomotor symptoms, due to disturbance of the blood supply to the ovaries during surgery.

Sources:

The North American Menopause Society: Instant Health for Induced Menopause

WomensHealth.gov: Hysterectomy

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