The ovaries produce estrogen, progesterone and androgens to regulate the menstrual cycle. When a hysterectomy occurs, these hormones get suddenly interrupted and their levels fall resulting in symptoms of menopause. This is termed surgical menopause. Although removal of ovaries becomes unavoidable in most hysterectomy surgeries, every effort is made by the surgeon to leave the ovaries intact in order to avoid the sudden absence of hormones. Most often, surgical menopause is caused quite dramatically when there is surgical interference like hysterectomy, bilateral oophorectomy, where both the ovaries are removed. A woman undergoing surgical menopause experiences certain symptoms more profoundly than women going through menopause normally. Since there is abrupt disruption of hormones after hysterectomy, the menopausal symptoms are more severe, more frequent and last longer when compared to natural menopause. The symptoms are triggered by the body's sudden inability to make certain hormones due to the removal of ovaries.
Estrogen is immediately given after surgery to try to prevent the intense changes especially the hot flashes that can occur in woman undergoing hysterectomy. However the use of estrogen is itself controversial and it is not usually recommended for women with existing or high risk of cardiovascular disease. A lowest dose of estrogen for the shortest possible time is recommended.
Surgical menopause risks
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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: December 4, 2021