Menopause is a phase in a woman’s life that begins after 40 but can start earlier due to some causes. Once the menopause stage enters a woman’s life, she can no longer become pregnant.
Natural menopause is when menstruation stops altogether for good, without the process of any medical surgery. There are different signs and symptoms when menopause occurs naturally or is medically induced.
However, not all women go through the menopause lane the way the natural body of a female does. Some women get certain procedures or surgeries done that can alter the entire process.
Nevertheless, it depends on one’s choice as well. For example, if you are a woman who wishes to go through the menopause phase before, you could opt for surgical menopause after discussing it in detail with the doctor.
You might be heavily curious to know what surgical menopause is. Therefore, this article will go through what surgical menopause is, how it is different from natural menopause, its signs and symptoms, the side effects and benefits, and many more.
Let’s dive deep into it!
An Overview of Surgical Menopause
Before we discuss the article in detail and more about surgical menopause’s effects and symptoms, it is crucial to understand the basics of what surgical menopause is about.
When menopause begins naturally, it’s a slow and steady process that can start anywhere around 45 to 50. You’ll witness fluctuations in the respective hormones during this time frame, i.e. estrogen and progesterone.
Once you haven’t had your period for a year straight, is when you have officially hit menopause and are about to enter post-menopause.
That being mentioned, surgical menopause is when a surgery known as bilateral oophorectomy; removes your ovaries permanently. Since ovaries are the leading powerhouse for estrogen production, the surgery triggers immediate menopause despite the patient’s age.
However, one must not confuse bilateral oophorectomy with hysterectomy. Hysterectomy is when the surgeon only removes your uterus surgically – which doesn’t trigger induced surgical menopause almost immediately. Instead, the ovaries will continue to produce estrogen and progesterone but with zero periods.
However, suppose you have a hysterectomy due to severe health issues such as endometriosis. In that case, the surgeon may also remove your ovaries in operation to avoid any further health complications.
Effects of Surgical Menopause
Once the surgeon is done operating, you may start experiencing the effects of surgical menopause. In addition to that, the changes will start to appear almost after the procedure is done and over with.
Therefore, we have distinguished between the negative and positive effects once a woman undergoes the surgical menopause procedure.
Negative Side Effects of Surgical Menopause
Even if the surgery performed was a success, there will be certain adverse side effects of the entire process. It would be better if we understand that the negative side effects of surgical menopause are closely similar to that of natural menopause and the symptoms.
The following are the negative side effects of surgical menopause that are going to occur:
- Hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and sweating profusely during nighttime.
- Due to a lack of estrogen, decreased bone density is possible. This reduced bone density gives rise to the risk of developing osteoporosis. This can make problems such as fractures more prone.
- Vaginal dryness can make sexual intercourse uncomfortable and painful, leading to impaired sexual function.
- With the loss of ovarian testosterone production, you may also experience reduced sex drive, also known as libido.
- The removal of your ovaries through surgical menopause means losing your fertility. Loss of fertility can impact your mental and emotional well-being as it can be quite overwhelming.
- Estrogen maintains the vitality of a woman’s tissues. Low levels of this hormone can affect your cardiovascular system and make you vulnerable to various heart diseases.
Positive Effects of Surgical Menopause
Now that we have discussed the negative side effects of surgical menopause, let’s also look at how this process can benefit women who go through it.
- Total relief from painful periods and unbearable cramps.
- Reduced risk of ovarian cancer in women at a high risk of developing it. Having this operation also reduces anxiety levels to a great extent.
- Researchers and experts have also decoded that surgical menopause has also helped reduce breast cancer cases as well.
- Instant relief or reduced pain levels in those who suffer from pelvic pain whilst experiencing endometriosis or those who have dense adhesions around the ovaries or ovary.
While surgical menopause has shown positive results with healthcare issues such as endometriosis, it may not be a good enough option for all. Therefore, it is essential to discuss it with your doctor before intending to have surgical menopause performed.
Treatment and Management of Symptoms of Surgical Menopause
To successfully battle the negative effects of surgical menopause, your doctor will recommend hormone replacement therapy, also known as HRT.
HRT aids in compensating for the hormones you have lost due to the surgery. Positive cases of HRT have also shown that it relatively lowers the risk of developing heart diseases and prevents the bone structure from being vulnerable to injuries.
However, HRT also has cases related to breast cancer at a high level for those who bear a strong history of cancer.
Nonetheless, you can try to manage your symptoms by adhering to certain lifestyle changes. You can try the following to reduce the intensity of hot flashes and discomfort, and stress levels:
- Drink loads of water.
- Avoid too much spice in meals.
- Tone down your alcohol intake.
- Sleep in a calm and cool room.
- Maintain a healthy sleep cycle.
- Perform exercises.
- Meditate or do yoga.
- Join groups that will help you maintain your mental health.
Before deciding and opting for surgical menopause, it is better to talk to your doctor or a healthcare professional in full detail to avoid any complications.
Women who go for surgical menopause reduce the risk of falling victims to various reproductive cancers. However, the risk of other health-related issues tends to rise. So don’t hesitate, and talk to your friends and family openly about it.
Having a good level of support from others will boost your confidence and make it easier for you to come back on track and feel like yourself after the surgery. Remember that this is your decision, and you have the right to be completely happy about it no matter what anyone else says.