Can a Hysterectomy Cause You to Start Menopause Sooner?
For thousands of years, women have experienced a natural phase of menopause to mark the end of their menstrual cycle. While most women don’t have to face this transition until their late 40s or early 50s, hysterectomies can cause you to start menopause much sooner and with more severe symptoms than normal. For this reason, it’s essential for women to thoroughly understand the factors that can lead to menopause following different types of hysterectomy procedures.
Follow along to find out how your symptoms may vary with or without a hysterectomy, the difference between a partial or full hysterectomy, and how to better manage these symptoms after your surgery.
What is Menopause?
Understanding what menopause is at an early age can help women who have had or may have a hysterectomy in the future to spot when symptoms start. Menopause represents the point in a woman’s life where she is no longer fertile. During this phase, the ovaries stop releasing mature eggs and less estrogen and progesterone are produced. In the time leading up to menopause, also known as peri/menopause, hormone levels will slowly decrease throughout the body as you experience little-to-no spotting during menstruation.
As you enter into menopause, there are a wide range of uncomfortable symptoms that may arise. While severity may vary from one woman to another, the majority of women experience the following common menopause symptoms:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Mood swings
- Absent period
- Vaginal dryness
- Low sexual drive
- Joint pain
When Does It Start and How Long Does It Last?
Since every woman’s journey is unique, the shift from peri/menopause to menopause can range anywhere from 2 to 8 years. On average, the natural age for a woman to enter into menopause is 51, with symptoms lasting 4-5 years.
Although there is no way to predict the exact time a woman enters menopause, there are a variety of factors that can affect the age of onset. One of which is due to a surgical procedure that affects a woman’s menstruation and hormone production; a hysterectomy.
What Is a Hysterectomy and How Does It Affect Menopause?
A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the uterus, with or without the removal of the cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. Depending on the type of surgical procedure, a hysterectomy can cause the early onset of menopause triggered by the sudden drop of estrogen and progesterone levels.
Partial Hysterectomy vs. Full Hysterectomy
A full hysterectomy is defined as the total removal of the uterus and cervix while a partial hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus alone. Research has found that the age at menopause decreases from 51 for natural menopause to 44 to 48 for hysterectomy plus ovary removal.
The major difference in triggering the early onset of menopause depends on the ovaries being removed or left intact. Keeping the ovaries intact will allow your body to continue producing hormones up until natural menopause begins. On the other hand, complete removal of the ovaries, known as an oophorectomy, can induce symptoms almost immediately.
Symptoms of Menopause after Hysterectomy
Compared to women who have not had a hysterectomy, women in their mid-40s are now facing a nearly two-fold increase in risk for developing menopause symptoms early. In many of these cases, menopause after hysterectomy, especially with bilateral oophorectomy, has induced more severe symptoms.
Managing Menopause after a Hysterectomy
At the end of the day, menopause should be seen as a positive beginning of a new phase of life with an opportunity to take action in preventing major health risks. As you experience the different symptoms that arise with menopause after a hysterectomy, consider your options to help manage their severity.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
A popular method to help ease menopause symptoms following a hysterectomy plus oophorectomy is through estrogen replacement. This type of hormone therapy is done to replenish your low levels of estrogen and help minimize symptoms of vaginal dryness, hot flashes, and night sweats.
Ask your doctor if hormone replacement therapy is right for you. They may recommend you start your estrogen therapy by taking a pill, using a patch, or by applying a topical solution or vaginal cream.
Probiotics are an excellent supplement to take throughout menopause for a variety of reasons. From minimizing inflammation to potentially interacting with the gut microbiome to help increase estrogen release, there is substantial evidence to support probiotics. For the top multi-symptom relief, try our popular MenoFit or MenoGlow probiotics to help you combat night sweats, hot flashes, mood swings, and so much more.
Fiber is another beneficial ingredient to supplement into your diet to help minimize weight gain, maintain a healthy gut microbiome, and even reduce symptoms of hot flashes. Try our Happy Fiber daily supplement for 100% natural, prebiotic fiber.
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