Surgical menopause is a term used to describe menopause, which is induced by the removal of both ovaries (bilateral oophorectomy) before a woman's natural menopause date. Continue reading to learn more about how to prepare for surgical menopause, including what to expect after hysterectomy and ovary removal.
Reasons for pursuing a bilateral oophorectomy are varied. In menopausal women, the procedure is commonly performed alongside a hysterectomy (uterus removal) for benign diseases, such as heavy menstrual bleeding or fibroids. It can also reduce the risk of contracting ovarian cancer.
In all cases, the surgery is a life-changing experience that needs to be treated as such. For some women, the risks of going through a bilateral oophorectomy do not outweigh the benefits. It is important to take your personal medical history and needs into account when choosing if surgical menopause if right for you.
Talk to your doctor
Consult a doctor with whom you can have honest conversations and who responds accurately and with empathy to your doubts about what to expect after surgical menopause. Write up a list of any questions or concerns you have about the effects of surgical menopause before you talk to your doctor in order to make sure you get the information you need.
Keep in mind that surgical menopause differs from natural menopause because it happens abruptly. Usually, women begin to feel the effects of surgical menopause almost immediately. Having surgical menopause will cause hormonal imbalance symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, vaginal dryness, and many more. How long surgical menopause symptoms last depends upon your specific case.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Regularly exercising and eating healthy will help you be mentally and physically stronger for quicker post-surgery recovery. Recommended workout time for all adults is at least 30 minutes a day, five times a week. However, your doctor will give you more guidance, including how soon after the procedure it is acceptable to restart your physical activities.
Talk to the women in your life
Talking to other women who have undergone surgical menopause can help answer your questions and provide you with a support network. Conversing with your friends, mother, sisters, aunts, or other females can also help you learn how others have experienced menopause, especially those in your family.
Prepare for post-surgery
How long it takes for you to recover will depend upon if you had an open or robotic surgery, with open taking up to six weeks. During this time, you may need help with everyday chores, such as lifting heavy objects.
Also, after a bilateral oophorectomy, many women are also prescribed hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which can help combat symptoms that would be provoked by shock of having your main producers of estrogen and progesterone - the ovaries - removed. However, there are more natural and safer ways to treat menopause symptoms.
When it comes to your reproductive health, it is important that you make the decisions that are best for you. Be informed about what undergoing a life-changing bilateral oophorectomy will do to you by talking to your doctor about what to expect after surgical menopause, being mentally and physically ready for the surgery, and surrounding yourself with a vital post-operative support network.
- Australian Menopause Society. (2017). Surgical Menopause. Retrieved October 12, 2018, from https://www.menopause.org.au/hp/information-sheets/756-surgical-menopause
- Government of Alberta. (2017). Laparoscopic Oophorectomy: What to Expect at Home. Retrieved October 12, 2018, from https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Health/aftercareinformation/pages/conditions.aspx?hwid=abn2238
- NHS. (2016). Overview: Hysterectomy. Retrieved October 11, 2018, from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/hysterectomy/