Women all know the approximate age that the menopause starts is in the early 50`s. We also have an idea of what symptoms we can expect, but what happens if you have had a hysterectomy. How does a hysterectomy menopause and its symptoms differ?
Just as there are different types of hysterectomy available, there are various possibilities about the outcome. No guarantees can be given about how each woman will react mentally, physically or emotionally.
Normally, when a woman reaches menopause, the ovaries will cease egg production and the monthly cycle will become less frequent until it stops completely. After twelve months without a period, the woman is said to be post menopausal.
A hysterectomy may be recommended for a number of reasons: Heavy or painful periods that cannot be controlled by any other means, fibroids, endometriosis, prolapse, malignant changes of the uterus or cervix. If you are considering a hysterectomy, take the time to discuss all options with your doctor and your family and ask as many questions as you wish. This is an emotional procedure for a woman to go through and she must be absolutely certain that she is psychologically prepared.
With a hysterectomy, if the ovaries and the uterus are removed, menopausal symptoms are likely to begin almost immediately. As well as the reduction in the estrogen level, there is also fifty per cent decrease in testosterone production. Some women may be recommended testosterone as well as estrogen replacement. However studies are still being carried out as to its suitability for certain women and therefore testosterone is not routinely recommended following removal of the ovaries.
If one ovary remains, early menopause may occur, but more often than not, it doesn`t.
Should both ovaries remain intact after a hysterectomy, they will still be producing hormones and so you will experience no symptoms of menopause. You may begin menopause a little earlier, but as all cases are different, no-one can say for certain.
In this case, it is important that you visit your doctor or health professional on an annual basis for blood tests. This is because, due to the lower levels of estrogen, the ovaries may stop functioning correctly. You may not be aware of this, but the blood test will highlight if this is so and diagnose if an early menopause is therefore likely.
It is also important that a solid support system is in place and each person involved understands what the woman is going through. A hysterectomy can have a huge emotional impact on a womans` life. Unlike experiencing a natural menopause, where she would have had the time to adjust to her body`s changes, a hysterectomy menopause takes away that luxury. It is therefore vital that everyone close to her is sensitive to the situation and offers her full support as and when required. It will take her a while get used to her new situation and she will probably be quite emotional for some time afterwards.