Surgical Menopause - What it is and How to Deal



It is a fact of life that at some point all women will have to experience the uncomfortable side effects of the natural stage of life we call menopause. However it is a sad but all too true event that some women will have to undergo the necessary mental and physical implications of surgical menopause. A surgical menopause is when a woman who has not begun her menopause has had both of her ovaries removed. This procedure tends to happen during a hysterectomy where the entire uterus including ovaries is removed surgically. This may happen because of a number of different complicated medical reasons. Some women choose to have a hysterectomy after the birth of their final child and others need to have it done to save their lives such as during complications in child birth. For most a hysterectomy or surgical menopause is not a welcome experience and can cause many side effects that are both physically and mentally challenging.

A surgical menopause may cause the same symptoms as a natural menopause. Some of these symptoms include hot flushes, night sweats, depression, mood swings and fatigue. A surgical menopause can also increase a woman’s risk of cardiovascular disease as well as osteoporosis. Many of these symptoms are also common in natural menopausal women; the main difference with surgical menopause is that it is an often sudden and unexpected change.

Natural menopause occurs over a period of anywhere from 5 – 15 years whereas surgical menopause happens over a matter of hours. Before surgery the woman is a normal functioning woman with menstrual cycles every month; post surgery she is suddenly postmenopausal with severe drops in estrogen, progesterone and androgen. Other major differences for a woman who is undergoing surgical menopause include the recovery from a major surgery along with the changes of sudden menopause, much more intense symptoms as well as the loss of child bearing at a younger than natural age. All of these are both mentally and physically challenging, especially considering the woman’s body has not had the time to adjust to the natural change of menopause as she would over the course of 5 -15 years.

The worst of the side effects after surgery can be gruesome hot flushes. Hot flushes can often be managed with low doses of estrogen, however this is not an option for women who are likely to have or develop cardiovascular disease as it can be dangerous and risky. Other forms of keeping comfortable after undergoing surgical menopause can include natural remedies, however you should always check with your health care professional before using any remedies.

Aside from the physical side effects of surgical menopause the mental side effects can be very troublesome for many women. For some women the operation is often unexpected. Taking a woman’s ability to have children at an unnatural age can be extremely hard on her, and her family. The best way to cope with this is to remember that the reasons for this surgical procedure are most often life saving. While you may not be able to reproduce yourself anymore you are able to live a life that may have ended without a hysterectomy.

Dealing with surgical menopause can be done in several ways. If you are feeling depressed about the situation you should be sure to seek professional help immediately, your health care provider will be able to assist you in this. Some plusses to surgical menopause include never having to worry about birth control again; painful symptoms such as pain during sexual intercourse will no longer exist as well as the fact that you will never have to worry about ovarian and uterine cancers again.


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