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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