Hysterectomy & Menopause
Menopause can be emotionally challenging for women, but at least, we have a few years to come to terms with our fertility ending and the associated symptoms. When menopause is caused by a hysterectomy, the woman has no such luxury. She goes to sleep with ovaries and uterus intact and wakes up with one or both having been removed. This is a massive adjustment to have to cope with. If both the uterus and the ovaries have been removed menopausal symptoms will begin almost immediately.
Should the ovaries remain, the hysterectomy will not cause menopause because the ovaries will still be producing hormones. Although there will be no monthly periods there may be the usual symptoms associated with them. Stomach cramps, stomach bloating and mood changes are all still possible, because the hormones made by the ovaries will cause the body to still produce its monthly cycle.
If the main part of the uterus has been removed but the cervix still remains, it is uncertain whether HRT can be given in the form of estrogen only or estrogen combined with progestogen. The cause of the concern of using estrogen only, is that there may be some of the cells of the uterus lining , which could become thickened from the estrogen. This thickening may be prevented, by adding progestogen. Your doctor will explain the possibilities based on your medical history.
With a hysterectomy, the results include physiological, emotional, psychosocial changes, which is both expected and normal. However, again with proper medical treatment and a sound support system, she will adjust and go on to live a normal and healthy life.
If you are considering a hysterectomy, some good questions to ask would be:
Have I explored every option available to me?
What would be the impact on my life if I have/didn`t have a hysterectomy?
Will I be completely free of all symptoms after the operation?
Are there any possible side effects and how severe are they likely to be?
What is the recovery time and after care requirements?