Menopause After Hysterectomy

Dealing with Menopause after Hysterectomy 

There are a couple of different implications if you are concerned with questions about menopause after hysterectomy:

One possibility is that you have had hysterectomy and are dealing with the sudden onset of menopausal symptoms.

The second scenario is that you had partial or subtotal hysterectomy a while back and are now unsure about whether you are going through menopause.

Let us address each of these issues separately because clearly they are very different.

Hysterectomy is sometimes referred to as surgical menopause because during the surgery a woman’s uterus, fallopian tubes and sometimes even her ovaries are removed. This means that the body is no longer producing the hormones that it used to and the woman no longer has her monthly menstrual periods. So, while coping with the reality of losing her uterus she also has to start dealing with the physical and emotional difficulties of menopause. The night sweats, hot flashes and the anxiety and the depression can start setting in within a couple of days of surgery. It is important that a woman be well aware of this cycle before the surgery because being prepared is the best way to cope with the sudden changes that happen with her body. Some doctors also recommend hormone replacement therapy to help cope with the changes that the body is dealing with in the sudden onset of menopause after hysterectomy.

If the hysterectomy has left one ovary in the body, the woman has a chance to start the menopausal phase in the normal course of things. There is some evidence to suggest that in cases where the uterus has been removed and the ovaries left untouched, the menopausal signs start a little earlier than for women who have not had any surgery related to the gynecological organs. But this theory has not really been proven. The truth about menopause is that it is a condition which is diagnosed for certain only well after the onset because the official definition of menopause is the condition when a woman has not had a menstrual cycle for 12 months.

Given that hysterectomy effectively stops the menstrual cycle with immediate effect, how does one diagnose menopause after hysterectomy? The best way is to have a blood test for the follicle stimulating hormone or FSH. This hormone is the stimulant that encourages the ovaries to produce eggs. In the course of menopause, when the ovaries shrink and the woman’s estrogen level decreases, FSH is found to gradually increase. This hormonal level reaches its peak anywhere between one to three years after the onset on menopause. So a blood test for FSH combined with other indicators can be a way of gauging menopause after hysterectomy. It should be noted that this is not seen as a fail-safe test for diagnosing menopause because FSH levels vary in any one person from day to day and it is hard to establish whether there is heightened levels of this hormone at any given time. This may make it necessary to have multiple FSH blood tests.

Sudden onset of menopause after hysterectomy and more gradual but uncertain development of menopause after hysterectomy can both add to the emotional pressures of this experience. And menopause is already considered a fairly stressful period, as well know.

Having said that, it is important for women to know that there are natural ways to deal with the changes that come with menopause. A healthy life style with a good diet and plenty of exercise, a good social support group and feelings of emotional connectedness can all go a long way in handling this time of change with grace and ease. Menopause is a transitional phase in a woman’s life and so it is best to tackle it with a positive spirit and can-do attitude rather than feel overwhelmed by it or even exhibit resistance to the idea of change. Menopause after hysterectomy can be a challenge but by anticipating it you can figure out strategies for dealing with the symptoms.




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