Menopause After Hysterectomy
The Significance Of Menopause After Hysterectomy
The effects on a woman of menopause after hysterectomy can be quite frightening, especially if she has not been conditioned to deal with the condition. Most women of course experience menopause naturally, which signifies her child-bearing years have come to an end. Some women have few if any problems associated with menopause, while others suffer though the period with some difficulty.
A Not Uncommon Situation - Menopause after hysterectomy is not all that uncommon, especially since not all hysterectomies are identical. A woman will undergo a hysterectomy in response to a medical condition which can vary from experiencing pain, to excessive vaginal bleeding, to more extreme situations such as the presence of a cancer. In a hysterectomy, a woman's uterus is removed, either totally or partially. Other reproductive organs may be removed as well, including the fallopian tubes, the cervix, or the ovaries. Whether the hysterectomy has been total or partial, the woman will no longer be capable of becoming pregnant.
A woman can undergo a hysterectomy after she has gone through menopause, in which case a condition of menopause after hysterectomy will not occur. However, if a woman has not yet gone though menopause, it will eventually occur. When menopause occurs is to a great extent dependent upon the type of hysterectomy performed, and this is where a woman can experience problems, both physical and mental.
Estrogen Plays A Key Role - As a woman's ability to bear children diminishes, her estrogen levels decline, which eventually bring on the condition of menopause. If, following a partial hysterectomy, her ovaries have not been removed; they will continue to function almost as if nothing had happened. In such cases, a woman may begin to experience symptoms of menopause long before actual menopause occurs, which can be rather frightening. On the other hand, if the ovaries are removed, a woman's estrogen levels will drop rapidly and menopause will occur almost immediately, sometimes within a week. Unless the woman has been counseled on the likelihood of this happening, she may be unprepared to deal with the menopause symptoms. There is an ongoing argument as to whether the ovaries should be removed as a matter of course in any hysterectomy. They can continue to function, but to no avail, as pregnancy becomes impossible. In most cases ovaries are only removed if there exists a cancer in the vicinity and there is a distinct possibility that the cancer could spread to the ovaries, if it has not already.
Not All Results Are The Same - The outcome of a hysterectomy can be quite unpredictable. This is partially due to whether the hysterectomy was partial or total, and if partial, what was removed. The other element of the equation is the woman herself. Not all women will react the same to a hysterectomy or for that matter to menopause. When the one immediately follows the other, it can make life difficult for many women. Recovery from a hysterectomy takes a fair amount of time, and if menopause kicks in because the ovaries have been removed, recovery can become more complicated.
If a woman has not already gone through menopause, and her ovaries have been removed, the condition of menopause which will immediately follow could be thought of as an "induced" menopause, rather than one which would occur naturally with time. If there is a good side to this, it's that women who go through this induced menopause generally have less severe symptoms and have the symptoms for a shorter period of time.
If a hysterectomy is required, it is of course important to find out why, or if there is an alternative solution. If surgery is considered necessary however, it is important for the woman to discuss all the possible outcomes, in terms of whether the hysterectomy is going to be partial or total, something the doctor may not know 100% prior to surgery. Understanding how the body reacts to a hysterectomy and why, will help give the patient greater peace of mind, and greater preparedness for the days to come.