Hormone Therapy Reduces Symptoms of Surgical Menopause
Menopause is described as the cessation of a woman’s menstrual cycles for a period of more than 12 consecutive months as a result of her ovaries ceasing to function. While menopause develops naturally with age – at an average of 51 years – menopause may also be the result of surgery or cancer therapy.
Menopause is referred to as “surgical menopause” when both ovaries are surgically removed. In some cases, only the ovaries are removed – but a complete or radical hysterectomy involves the removal of both ovaries and the whole uterus.
Additionally, surgical menopause typically occurs within five years after a hysterectomy, even if the ovaries are preserved. This is due to disruptions in the ovarian blood supply, which gradually impairs ovarian function – including the production of female sex hormones such as estrogen and progesterone.
Surgical menopause can occur at any age that a woman has surgery. Surgical menopause not only causes immediate cessation of menstruation, but it also results in an abrupt and precipitous decrease in female sex hormone levels.
And while the symptoms of natural menopausal typically onset gradually over time, the side effects of surgical menopause manifest very immediately because hormone production is stopped very suddenly.
Symptoms of Surgical Menopause
Surgical menopause and natural age-onset menopause share the same symptoms, including the following: vasomotor symptoms such as hot flashes and excessive perspiration, fatigue, insomnia mood swings, depression, vaginal dryness, increased body fat, and more.
Surgical menopause is distinguished from natural menopause, though, in that even after monthly cycles cease during natural menopause, the ovaries continue to produce trace quantities of estrogen and testosterone, which contribute to sexual desire or pleasure. But, surgical menopause leaves no possibility of residual sex hormone production – so it typically results in a higher loss of sexual function.
Additionally, omen who enter early menopause have an increased risk of ischemic heart disease, osteoporosis, and cognitive impairment. And, because estrogen is neuroprotective, a fast and abrupt decrease in estrogen levels (less than 50%) is often associated with increased cognitive decline and dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. So, the surgical removal of one or both ovaries before natural menopause raises the chance of developing these diseases age-dependently, with younger women being more at risk.
Hormone Replacement Therapy for Surgical Menopause
If a patient has undergone surgical menopause symptoms, it is prudent to explore the option of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) – both for symptom relief and for protection again serious disease as well as mental decline.
Hormone Replacement Therapy for surgical menopause typically consists of a combination of estrogen and progesterone for women who still have their uterus – and estrogen alone, for women who have undergone a total hysterectomy.
Once started for surgical menopause, Hormone Replacement Therapy is typically maintained until the patient reaches the age of 51. (The average age of natural menopause). Recent clinical guidelines state that Hormone Replacement Therapy should be maintained with appropriate dose changes on an individual basis, until they are no longer needed. But additional or ongoing HRT treatments may be recommended to alleviate certain specific related health problems such as osteoporosis.
In rare cases of a personal or family history of breast cancer, or certain kinds of liver illness, however, Hormone Replacement Therapy for surgical menopause would be contraindicated.
Hormone Replacement After Surgical Menopause | Phoenix: (323) 986-5100
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: This article is provided as general information only and is not intended to be used as medical advice. While the benefits of hormone replacement are well documented through clinical research, we are not representing that hormone therapy is a “cure” for any disease. Only your treating physician can determine if hormone replacement may be a beneficial part of your healthcare regimen, based on your age, overall health, risk factors, and lifestyle.