When a woman reaches her late forties or early fifties, she will begin to go through what is called the change of life or menopause. At this time, her body will stop producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone. With this, her body goes through significant change, which causes a number of symptoms such as insomnia, mood swings, hot flashes, night sweats, joint pain, and others. Because her body has gone into this phase on its own, this is known as natural menopause. Now, when a woman has her ovaries surgically removed or when the ovaries stop functioning due to medication treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation, this is called surgical menopause.
Understanding Surgical Menopause – Speeding the Change
As the woman goes through natural menopause, she glides into it slowly. In fact, the first part of menopause whereby she will still have a monthly menstrual cycle, although sporadic, can last anywhere from one to five years.
It is not until after she has stopped menstruating completely for 12 months that she is considered in menopause.
The difference with surgical menopause is that the woman is thrust into the change of life immediately, which can be abrupt and difficult.
Because she is immediately without hormones instead of a gradual decline, her symptoms are intense and powerful.
That means when she awakens from surgery, she is already beginning to experience some of the most difficult symptoms associated with menopause.
For this reason, while natural menopause is tough as it is, surgical menopause is even more challenging.
For this reason, doctors will immediately provide an injection or oral medication to help replace the lost estrogen.
Keep in mind that not every woman having a hysterectomy has her ovaries removed.
In fact, as many as 20% keep them but even so, they too can begin the process of menopause although just earlier rather than immediate.
In addition to hormone replacement therapy, the woman has another option in taking natural remedies, which many women say works better with far less risk.
Although each woman should work closely with her gynecologist or homeopathic practitioner, one of the best remedies is called Black Cohosh, which has shown to work very well in combating surgical menopause symptoms.
Although hormone replacement therapy has long been used for treating the symptoms of both natural and surgical menopause, in recent years there has been quite a bit of stir. The problem is that new studies now show that this form of treatment actually increases the risk of many cancers.
For instance, women will be at great risk for developing breast cancer and colon cancer. Therefore, it is important to understand that this is not necessarily the best option for everyone although it is still an option.
Now, the good news is that to help with symptoms of surgical menopause, a woman can go on estrogen replacement therapy, also known as ERT, which has some benefits. For example, it has been shown that risk of heart disease is cut by 50%.
Additionally, vaginal dryness, which is a common symptom, is not as severe when taking ERT. Finally, ERT can help bones stay strong so a woman is not affected with bone loss that can lead to osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.