When Endo pain is intolerable: Hysterectomy and surgical menopause

Endometriosis can be a very difficult condition to endure and we understand how excruciating the pain can be. At Hormone University, we are here to help you along your journey by educating you on the various treatments available. 

If your symptoms are unbearable and are not being sufficiently managed by hormone therapy or natural remedies, you may be considering surgery. If so, here is an overview of definitive surgery options that could result in early menopause, and how they may impact your body.

Hysterectomy

During a hysterectomy, a woman’s uterus is removed, and is often done to prevent and stop severe endometriosis, ovarian cancer, or even fibroids. A total hysterectomy removes the uterus and the cervix, but not the ovaries, so it does not induce menopause. Reproductive hormones can still be produced by the ovaries, and menopause will occur naturally, but you will not be able to get pregnant naturally. 

Other types of hysterectomies include a radical hysterectomy, which involves the removal of the uterus and upper vagina, often used for those suffering from cervical cancer, and supracervical hysterectomies, which only remove the uterus, not the cervix.

Bilateral Oophorectomy

In a bilateral Oophorectomy, both ovaries are removed through surgery. Often done following diagnoses of ovarian cancer or  severe endometriosis, this type of surgery will cause estrogen and progesterone levels to significantly decrease, thus leading to surgical menopause. However, if only one ovary is removed, the body should still be able to produce these hormones and women will not enter early menopause. 

Side-effects of surgical menopause

The main difference between surgical menopause and natural menopause is that surgical menopause is much more immediate. Therefore, your body does not have several months to a few years to go through perimenopause and slowly become accustomed to the changes in hormonal levels. Surgical menopause can result in much more intense menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness because of the quicker drop in hormone levels. Hormone therapy and making good lifestyle decisions can help reduce these symptoms and allow you to live a happy, healthy life!

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